After a very rough year, Telltale Games is closing down. A major layoff was announced at the company Friday morning, with almost all staff members let go.
Telltale will continue to employ a team of 25 people to finish working with Netflix on the Minecraft Story Mode project, a deal they inked with the streaming giant earlier. According to US Gamer, The Walking Dead Final Season will end after Episode 2 drops next week.
“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,” said the statement from Telltale CEO Pete Hawley.
Telltale Games made a name for itself with its narrative-based games based on popular pop culture. Telltale found fame with The Walking Dead Season 1, released in 2012. The label expanded with games based on Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman, Game of Thrones, and Minecraft.
Planned projects for Telltale, such as The Wolf Among Us Season 2 and a game based on Stranger Things, have been presumably cancelled indefinitely.
Rumors of mismanagement within the company, toxic company culture, and mistreatment of employees have been part of the Telltale story for years. Some newly former employees of Telltale hinted at this toxic culture as news spread of the closure.
Briefly, the hashtag TelltaleJobs trended on Twitter, as employees of the company posted online that they had been fired and shared job opportunities and words of encouragement with each other.
As of this morning I'm no longer at Telltale, and I'm looking for work. I have experience in gameplay programming, cinematic design, and video editing. I'm flexible and I love learning new skills. Hit me up if you need someone like me (specifically, me)! #TelltaleJobs
— scott hammack (@czircon) 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
— The Elder Scrolls Online (@TESOnline) September 21, 2018
The Verge reported that the staff members were let go with no severance pay. Seemingly, they also received no warning.
Around 225 employees were let go at Telltale, Variety reports.
A spokesperson for Netflix made a statement about Telltale, saying the company is “saddened by the closing of Telltale games – they developed many great games in the past and left an indelible mark in the industry.” According to the statement, Minecraft: Story Mode is still “moving forward as planned.”
As for other projects with Telltale, the future isn’t so certain.
“We are in the process of evaluating other options for bringing the ‘Stranger Things’ universe to life in an interactive medium,” the statement from Netflix says.
Former CEO and Telltale co-founder Kevin Bruner blogged about the closure Friday, saying he is “saddened at the loss of a studio that green-lit crazy ideas that no one else would consider.” Bruner previously sued Telltale in June after breaking with the company in March, 2017.
Regarding planned and existing projects, Telltale Games has said only that more information will be shared “in the coming weeks,” according to IGN. Gamers looking forward to updates from the company are likely to be left disappointed, as the future of Telltale looks pretty dark as of Friday afternoon.