The Demise Of Telltale Games

The birth giver of episodic games is finally making a comeback and fans are hopeful.

The Demise of Telltale Games - Feature Image
Source: mrixt, You Tube

Recently, we have witnessed numerous gaming genres, such as RPGs and Battle Royales, receiving immense praise from gamers. Whether it is an immersive open-world of action titles Red Dead Redemption 2 or the competitive frenzy of games like Fortnite, each game possesses a unique feature to stand out in the gaming sphere.

Still, amidst this diversity, a distinct gaming category has been gaining equally significant traction: episodic action-adventure games. Thanks to the low cost of digital distribution, making episodic games has become financially viable for developers.

As a result, they continue to release such games, captivating the interest of gaming fanatics in this genre. Games like Detroit: Become Human, and Life is Strange generally received positive reviews, and millions of copies of the games were sold.

But do you know who the true pioneer is, the visionary who one day decided to offer gamers an unparalleled experience? You guessed it right; It’s none other than the Telltale Games.

Key Takeaways

  1. Telltale Games pioneered the episodic action-adventure genre with titles like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us revolutionizing storytelling in gaming.
  2. Following the success of TWD, Telltale expanded itself and faced many problems like overburdening the staff, financial strains, and the same style of games becoming the reasons for their downfall.
  3. LCG Entertainment revived the company and hopes to continue Telltale’s legacy by releasing new seasons for its existing titles.
  4. Current staff needs to avoid making the same mistakes again previously made to progress well.

The OG instigator of the episodic adventure genre, Telltale Games, revolutionized storytelling in gaming with groundbreaking titles like Sam & Max Save the World, Tales from the Borderlands, and my favorite, The Walking Dead Series, which has left an incredible mark on me. However, the brilliant storyteller has its own tragic story that many fans are unaware of.

The Initiator, Telltale

Clementine & Lee - TWD Season One
Source: Button Smash, YouTube

Ever since it came into existence, the studio got various licensing opportunities. It produced movie-based titles like Jurassic Park and Back to the Future, which were excellent and presented elements of time-limited choices and quick time events, thanks to its developers. Their breakthrough moment came when they released The Walking Dead Season One in association with Warner Bros. Entertainment.

TWD series had more narrative-directed approach and went a different way from the usual “point and click” style of gameplay seen in their standard adventure games. This allowed the players to make choices that may affect the future events of the game.

The game was critically acclaimed, and people loved TWD’s protagonist, Lee. With that, the golden period of the Telltale Games started.

Expansion & More Stuff to Play!

Over time, Telltale expanded its game collection by developing new game series based on popular TV shows or comic book franchises and by releasing new episodes or seasons for existing series. They collaborated with significant TV companies and acquired licenses to create unique narrative-driven experiences.

Batman's Investigation, Batman: The Telltale Series
Source: Batman Arkham Videos, YouTube

What Went Bad?

Telltale’s problem was – they grew instantly. The Walking Dead Season One was a favorable outcome for them, shooting them from a small studio to a huge company. Shortly put, they saw the success overnight, which eventually slapped them back.

The primary reason for their downfall was exploiting their engine and game style. When TWD season one was praised, the developers stuck with one conduct instead of exploring new gaming styles and continued to churn out the products in the same style.

They even started working multiple games in a year, which compromised the game quality and resulted in bugs and glitches. Most of all, they could not keep up with the changing market trends.

Additionally, overstaffing and overburdening them with work will haunt studio’s management the most. Buying new studio and hiring many people without cashing in their games was a huge downgrading point for the stakeholders and the upper management.

After Wolf Among Us Part One and TWD series, there wasn’t a single title on which Telltale could capitalize heavily. They kept funding new projects massively despite bleeding financially. A few of their projects were either scrapped midway through making or never got released even after getting completed due to budget issues.

Closure of Telltale Games
Source: nerdSlayer Studios, YouTube

The last string was pulled when Telltale’s last financer stepped back, and the studio eventually declared bankruptcy. Telltale’s CEO and co-founder, Kevin Bruner, left the company.

With new management stepping in, it had let go all of the employees except 25, who were left to tie up loose ends and give closure to Clementine’s story for The Walking Dead, The Final Season, which was halfway through development.

Resurrection & A Possible Comeback

Regardless of such a bone-breaking downfall, LCG Entertainment came down as an angel and saved Telltale Studios. They acquired most of its assets and revived the studio. They managed to regain the rights for Batman: The Telltale Series and The Wolf Among Us.

There is a possibility of seeing a third game in the Batman series and a second one for The Wolf Among Us by next year. The latter one has been already teased.

Source: Telltale Games, You Tube

Here’s My Perspective

It is understandable that LCG wants to continue Telltale’s legacy; however, I feel it won’t be the same Telltale anymore. It is all new people. Some previous workers might have returned, but they will need more to bring back the old charisma.

On top of that, new management would want to avoid repeating the same mistakes the previous management made. ‘No more milking of the same engine; the Telltale tool engine is gone, and lastly, no more three games in a year!’

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