Quirky game design studio Telltale Games confirms layoffs amidst tumultuous times, surprises no one by ensuring that games in-development will still make gamers' days.

Old Ghosts Haunt Telltale Games as Layoffs Strike Again

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away (we’re talking about early September), the big, occasionally scary, creator of your favorite game narratives, Telltale Games, started to show signs of a bad cough. Was it the cold autumn weather? Overexposure to the laughter of gamers, or maybe the unavoidable realization that their payroll was looking a bit too chunky?

Jonah Huang, a cinematic artist who had enjoyed a cup of coffee (metaphorically, we can’t vouch for his beverage preferences) and a desk at Telltale Games until early September, revealed on Twitter that he had been laid off, and he was not alone. Notably, this came hot on the heels of the company's acquisition of Flavourworks, the cheeky British studio behind Erica. The irony was rather rich, much like a double-chocolate fudge cake, and just as nauseating.

Telltale Games confirmed the disappointing news to Game Informer about the layoffs, being as proficient at skirting around sensitive topics as they are at designing games. The exact number of dismissed employees was shrouded in mystery, like a 'choose your own adventure' book where every path leads you to a blank page. However, Jonah Huang, Twitter whistleblower and now job-seeker, tweeted that he received a severance package, a small crumb of comfort for the freshly ‘made redundant’ employee.

In their official ‘we feel bad but tough luck’ statement to Game Informer, Telltale Games said, "Due to current market conditions, we regrettably had to let some of our Telltale team go recently. We did not take this action lightly, and our commitment to storytelling and finding new ways to do so remains the same. We are grateful to everyone for their dedication along this journey, and we are working to support everyone impacted. All projects currently in development are still in production, and we have no further updates at this time."

The drama at Telltale Games is nothing new. In 2019, only three years back in our rear-view mirror, the company shook off 90% of its team, before finally slamming the doors shut later that year. Then, like a phoenix rising from ashes (or a zombie from a grave), Telltale resurrected a year later under the stewardship of the now-CEO Jamie Ottilie and a gang of eager investors.

In true Hollywood fashion, the new Telltale made a comeback at The Games Awards in 2019, rolling out a glamorous trailer for The Wolf Among Us 2. We haven’t heard more about this venture after the company shared in March about a delay till 2023, a disappointment akin to finding a vegan steak in your mouth when you expected real beef.

However, in a twist worth of one of its own games, Telltale’s first game since its rebirth is not The Wolf Among Us 2, it's The Expanse: A Telltale Series. Developed with Deck Nine, the series exponentially expanded gamers' hearts between July and September, still earning a score of 76 on Metacritic.

While we've observed a moment of silence for those impacted by the layoffs, we also wish the remaining Telltale team the best of luck in navigating this narrative arc that seems a tad dickensian. After all, hearts and 1-Ups to everyone involved at Telltale because the game industry surely needs more whimsy and wizards! One thing is certain, this Telltale tale is far from over!

Author Image

Quinton Johnson

Yo, it's Quinton Johnson! In the streets, they know me as that hypebeast always flexin' the latest drops. Sneaker game? Always on point. My collection's got some serious heat, and I'm always hunting for the next pair. And when the sun sets? You can bet I'm lighting up the courts on NBA 2K. From fresh kicks to sick 3-pointers, it's all about living the hype and shooting my shot. Let's ball!

Post Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment!