Telltale Games, the game developer that has created Batman: The Enemy Within, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, The Walking Dead – A New Frontier, Batman – The Telltale Series, The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, and more, has reportedly laid off dozens of its staff.
A report from The Verge indicates the game developer will only retain a staff of around 25, down from 250. A ninety percent cut in a single day. The report indicates the employees who are being laid off will not receive any king of a severance package.
A number of former employees from Telltale Games took to Twitter to note they had been let go.
Hey friends, looks like my dream job’s final day was today after 3.5 years. I’m so thankful for the opportunity and I’ve learned so much over these years and met so many wonderful people. Love you all ❤️ #telltalegames #telltale
— T•GO (@CansofBeans) September 21, 2018
If anybody is looking for a cinematics artist I just got let go from Telltale Games, please let me know! #Telltalejobs
— AngrooG (@aktheneroth) September 21, 2018
This isn’t the first large layoff that Telltale Games has gone through. In November 2017, they also laid off 90 of their developers which at the time was around a quarter of their staff. At the time of those layoffs, a number of the employees spoke with The Verge reporting the company had been overworking its employees. They specifically note employees reported, “Overwork, job insecurity, and profound burnout are omnipresent concerns; more than three-quarters of developers report working under “crunch” conditions, which can mean working up to 20 hours a day and more than 100 hours a week.” The report indicates Telltale Games lost some of its most talented developers due to these working conditions.
Telltale Games has also faced outside pressure. In June, former CEO and co-founder of the studio sued the company looking to recover financial damages. Bruner claims Telltale Games was contractually obliged to give him informational support in order to sell his holdings in common and preferred stock. According to Bruner’s lawsuit, Telltale’s top brass cut off communications with him just as he was about to sell. He was then removed from the company’s board, but Bruner claims the people who voted him out didn’t have enough stock to make the vote legitimate. Bruner’s lawsuit alleges, “The net effect of Bruner’s alleged removal from the board of directors was that Bruner was deprived of relevant insight into the management and financial state of Telltale and the value of its shares.”
Telltale Games has called the lawsuit “meritless.” They also described it “as an apparent means of extracting revenge on a company already under financial strain.” They would also state, “The Company is now working to turn around the decline that it experienced under Plaintiff’s stewardship.”
Bruner would apparently confirm the reports of the layoffs as he took to his personal website stating, “Today, I’m mostly saddened for the people who are losing their jobs at a studio they love. And I’m also saddened at the loss of a studio that green-lit crazy ideas that no one else would consider.”
The layoffs also appear they will affect Telltale’s upcoming release schedule. Matt Kim, a News Editor at US Gamer Net, reported that Stranger Things and The Wolf Among Us 2 are effectively cancelled. He did not that The Walking Dead Final Season will be released by the remaining employees.
I’m told that Telltale is keeping a skeleton crew to finish The Walking Dead Final Season but The Wolf Among Us 2 and Stranger Things are effectively cancelled. Developing.https://t.co/dgEGaUwyhE
— Matt Kim (@LawofTD) September 21, 2018
Fellow members of the industry were quick to lend a hand to fellow industry workers affected by the sudden series of layoffs. Most were telling those who were laid off that their companies were hiring.
The heart that is breaking for the amazing talent under that roof is comforted only by the confidence they will all find a new nest in which to call home.
Video game industry, do your thing. We take care of our own. Snatch up this talent. Good luck to all https://t.co/dJmWUeKLFQ
— Troy Baker (@TroyBakerVA) September 21, 2018
Product Marketing Manager for Ubisoft also reached out to inform affected employees that his company was hiring as well:
It is unfortunate to have to post this again, but for all those affected by the Telltale Games layoffs, Ubisoft are hiring, globally. Feel free to reach out.https://t.co/OsnOBGd8VD
— Andrien Gbinigie (@EscoBlades) September 21, 2018
Gearbox also opened their doors to potential new employees.
— Gearbox Official (@GearboxOfficial) September 21, 2018
As of right now, the story is still developing. The future for the once popular studio is unknown.