Report: Telltale wants another studio (and ex-The Walking Dead devs) to finish the game
Telltale Games shared an update shortly after laying off the vast majority of its staff of 250-plus developers saying that it was still looking at potential ways to bring the last few unfinished episodes of The Walking Dead to completion, and Kotaku now has details on how the nearly-closed studio might be looking to make that happen.
According to sources speaking to Kotaku, the remnants of Telltale Games’ leadership are trying to set up a deal that would give an external company the ability to finish the last two episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Season and hire former Telltale Games employees to do so.
Telltale Games laid off over 250 developers suddenly at the end of September, days before the release of The Final Season’s second episode, as a result of what the studio has since called a “majority studio closure.” Not only were the layoffs without warning, but the affected developers were not offered severance and were only given roughly a week of health coverage after suddenly losing their livelihoods, leading to public outcry against the company and the birth of a class action lawsuit.
Because of those circumstances, Telltale’s announcement that it was looking at ways to keep The Walking Dead’s final season alive despite laying off the game's entire development team drew ire online. Kotaku’s sources, however, say that there is a deal being organized that, ideally, would give those displaced members of The Walking Dead team jobs (notably contract positions, not full-time employment) in order to finish the last two episodes of The Final Season under a different but unnamed game developer.
While the rumored deal is said to include plans to bring those ex-Telltale developers to finish The Walking Dead, the number of staff members able or willing to come aboard for the project isn’t set in stone by any means. Members of the game industry have rallied behind the laid-off Telltale developers behind Twitter hashtags like #TelltaleJobs and #Telltale250, all seeking to help those suddenly left without work find new positions. Though, as many have pointed out online, the severance-less nature of the layoffs means that many of those ex-The Walking Dead developers, not to mention those that had been working on the studio's other canceled projects, don’t have the luxury of waiting for Telltale’s post-layoff plans to fall into place.