Telltale Games initiates 'majority studio closure'
Update: While Telltale Games representatives have not yet responded to our request for comment and further details, word is spreading that the studio maintains only a skeleton crew (25 people out of what was estimated to be a staff size of ~250 people) to complete work on a single project.
The rest were let go this week, reportedly without any severance, and it sounds as though all of the company's other ongoing projects are in jeopardy or have been cancelled outright, including The Wolf Among Us 2.
Update 2: Telltale co-founder and former CEO Kevin Bruner issued a statement on the closure this afternoon. Bruner was ousted from the company a year and a half ago and is currently suing the studio over his expulsion.
"Today, I’m mostly saddened for the people who are losing their jobs at a studio they love," he wrote. "And I’m also saddened at the loss of a studio that green-lit crazy ideas that no one else would consider. I’m comforted a bit knowing there are now so many new talented people and studios creating games in the evolving narrative genre."
While Bruner's words on the shutdown were nostalgic, a report from March this year cited anonymous Telltale sources who said he was an abrasive credit-hoarder--an accusation that he denied.
Update 3: The official Telltale Games Twitter account announced a "majority studio closure" in a tweet:
"It's been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course. Unfortunately, we ran out of time trying to get there. We released some of our best content this year and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, but ultimately, that did not translate to sales. With a heavy heart, we watch our friends leave today to spread our brand of storytelling across the games industry."
The tweet also confirms that a small group of 25 employees are staying on to fulfill the company's obligations to its board and partners.
For the time being, the studio is steering clear of officially announcing a complete closure, and will issue comments regarding its product portfolio in the next few weeks.
In a statement to Variety, Telltale partner Netflix was less coy about the situation at Telltale. The company initially stated the following: "We are saddened by the closing of Telltale Games – they developed many great games in the past and left an indelible mark in the industry. Minecraft: Story Mode is still moving forward as planned. We are in the process of evaluating other options for bringing the Stranger Things universe to life in an interactive medium."
Not long thereafter, Netflix evidently amended their statement to Variety so that rather than specifically mentioning studio closure, it instead opens: "We are saddened by the news about Telltale Games..."
Telltale Games, the studio behind games like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, appears to be closing its doors, according to social media posts from multiple developers previously employed at the company.
Gamasutra has reached out to Telltale Games for more details on the situation, but posts from developers on Twitter and Facebook, both private and public, seem to indicate that the studio is shutting down or experiencing large-scale layoffs. This story will be updated following the studio's reply.
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