Telltale Games Lays Off 90 as Part of Restructuring

As part of Tuesday's announcement, Telltale has announced it will be moving towards 'more proven technologies,' which seems to indicate change is coming to the company's gaming engines, too.

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Telltale Games has been keeping busy. Minecraft Story Mode released its fourth episode on Tuesday, while Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series wrapped up its five episodes, Batman: The Enemy Within is going strong, and The Walking Dead is preparing to say goodbye with its final season. That's why it came as something of a shock when Telltale announced on Tuesday afternoon that 25 percent of its staff would be laid off for heavy restructuring.

"Our industry has shifted in tremendous ways over the past few years. The realities of the environment we face moving forward demand we evolve, as well, reorienting our organization with a focus on delivering fewer, better games with a smaller team," Telltale Games CEO Pete Hawley via GamesIndustry.biz.

One item that Telltale appears to be prioritizing moving forward is "more proven technologies," which seems to point to the publisher having relied on iterations of the same game engine since breakout hit The Walking Dead. As Waypoint points out, Unity CEO John Riccitello is on the Telltale board of directors, which could hint that Telltale's aging engines might get some noticeable upgrades in the future.

Telltale has indicated that Tuesday's layoffs will not impact any of the aforementioned projects, nor will it impact any projects currently in development. So don't look for that next season of The Wolf Among Us to be negatively impacted by today's news.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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  • reply
    November 7, 2017 11:55 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Telltale Games Lays Off 90 as Part of Restructuring

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      November 7, 2017 12:21 PM

      End of the year always seems to suck for the games industry.

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        November 7, 2017 12:22 PM

        games lots of industries try to improve their year end bottom line this way.

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        November 7, 2017 12:23 PM

        I always wonder — are these people promised a cut of the profits for enduring crunch and other bullshit? What happens to those guys — do they still get their promised money or are they just fucked all over?

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          November 7, 2017 12:24 PM

          I don't think everyone ends up getting what they should.

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          November 7, 2017 12:33 PM

          Most profit sharing arrangements only last while you're employed in the games industry.

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          November 7, 2017 12:55 PM

          I’ve looked into this and for the most part what I’ve found is: hardly ever.

          The most notable example I could find to the contrary is 3D Realms which underpaid its development staff by game development standards (and remember, game development is already underpaid by software development standards) in exchange for a cut of the profits on - you guessed it - Duke Nukem Forever. Given that DN3D made a fuckton of money it sounded like a great deal at first. But of course we know what happened - DNF development dragged on for a decade or more, meaning not only were you underpaid for what was looking increasingly unlikely to be a big payday at the end (and indeed, DNF development lasted longer than 3DR did as a developer) but you could have been hired, spent your entire career or at least a good chunk of it on DNF so you’re hindered in your ability to even find another job because your resume is tepid due to the lack of any shipping titles on it.

          In general, though, people who work for a game developer and don’t have any financial ownership stake in the company don’t share in the profits for a game directly. It’s just a job.

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      November 7, 2017 12:23 PM

      This does not bode well for wolf among us season 2 :-/

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        November 7, 2017 1:07 PM

        they say it's fine in the article:

        Telltale has indicated that Tuesday's layoffs will not impact any of the aforementioned projects, nor will it impact any projects currently in development. So don't look for that next season of The Wolf Among Us to be negatively impacted by today's news.

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      November 7, 2017 12:28 PM

      This feels like a clear acknowledgment of the engine problems that plague their games. The little hitches and hiccups really bothered me in Batman S1, nevermind a cloud save bug that nuked my save between episodes 1 and 2. I hope they're able to continue to get faces right in their next engine.

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        November 7, 2017 12:35 PM

        i had some hilarious screenshots of people in s1e5 of batman who were just eyeballs

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      November 7, 2017 1:11 PM

      That sucks. I'm not a huge fan of Telltale but I can't imagine the IP licensing for those games they make are cheap. Also, I don't really see how you'd sustain a super large studio to do those games which tend to be well presented, story heavy 'choose your own adventure' type games.

      I enjoyed their games though. I did The Walking Dead and Back To the Future but I hadn't tried anything else. I heard The Wolf Among Us was pretty good but never bought it.

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        November 7, 2017 3:37 PM

        Their old games are great as well like the Sam & Max series.