Telltale Games' employee mistreatment controversy

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The Tale of Telling their employees they're fired.

Telltale Games was a game development studio founded on July 12th 2004 by former LucasArts employees Kevin Bruner, Dan Connors and Troy Molander. The studio was responsible for many episodic narrative driven games based on popular licenses such as The Walking Dead, Batman, Sam & Max, Minecraft, The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, to name a few. The studio had its own proprietary game engine, the Telltale Tool.

Issues following restructure

After the studio restructured, there were several problems within between the years of 2014 and 2017, mostly from the choke-hold management had on the team. This included a perpetual state of "crunch time", inconsistent review processes that led to last minute tweaks, and creativity stifling that resulted in staff departures. Teams were kept from making the content by management in favour of a steady stream of episodes for their games, all the while lessening their overall quality. This need for consistency has also had a negative impact on the Telltale Tool, as it has resulted in numerous bugs and glitches that are found in Telltale's games, some of which have become infamous. Not helping was when Kevin Bruner stepped down (or, voted out by the Board of directors) as the CEO of the studio on March 15th, 2017.

Mass Downsizing

On September 21st 2018, Telltale Games was massively downsized from a studio of around 250 staff to just 25. The other 90% were laid off, but would not receive severance. The release of so many employees has led to the cancellation of several projects, including The Wolf Among Us: Season Two, Game of Thrones: Season Two, and a game based on the Netflix series Stranger Things. The remaining skeleton crew of only 25 was only kept on to finish the Netflix special, Minecraft: Story Mode, which is comprised of five parts.

This has lead to them facing a class action lawsuit from their former employees. As of November 16 2018, they are currently in the liquidation stage.

Videos


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WENth100

31 months ago
Score 5

And another example of poor management bringing down a company.

You can't keep shovelling out the exact same type of game 2-3 times a year with minimal upgrades to the game engine and gameplay while being overly dependent on big flashy licenses. They burned out their own audience.
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Vicious187

31 months ago
Score 1
As i have said on the discussion page of Telltale games it was entirely their own fault for this entire situation. Its not different then what Activision does to there own series Call Of Duty.
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Villager2001X

31 months ago
Score 1
Good article. These guys should've learn the lesson. They should upgrade their own engine and take the game hiatus on 2 or 3 years instead of rushing and buying some of lots of ips. Also, can we make an article about "Titus buys Interplay and Virgin Interactive and they got kaput by Titus" or not?
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Grust

30 months ago
Score 5
Telltale also sided with SJWs.
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LA2002

17 months ago
Score 2
Well, how the mighty have fallen... For getting woke, Telltale crumbled to dust at the very end.
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Pretty Cool Guy 67

4 months ago
Score 0

And for mistreating their employees and consumers alike. And for making 12 near-identical games in the span of 6 years instead of growing with their audience.

Honestly, I can't say "R.I.P. Telltale" because of how bad a company they became. The old Telltale (the ones who did Sam & Max, The Walking Dead, Wolf Among Us) died years before the company did.

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