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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.


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