TELLTALE is gone



This has just come in. The Walking Dead developer, Telltale Games, is SHUTTING DOWN!

They made a statement saying:

“(…) a small group of 25 employees staying on to fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners.”

Telltale Games which has made such popular games like ‘The Walking Dead‘ and ‘The Wolf Among Us‘. This means a layoff of 225 people! But they will fulfill the obligations to its board and partners. They JUST released ‘Walking Dead: The Final Season’. Episode 2 is supposed to come out next week! However, apparently, they are not going to finish it. We are not going to get the end of Clementine, the final story. Most likely they will not release Episode 3 and 4. But… they will release, however, to appease their board and partners: MINECRAFT. Netflix “Minecraft: The Story”. Thank you, Telltale.

So what happens to everyone that bought The Walking Dead Final Season?

Now, let’s get to the point. A lot of people were very sad and upset about this. Obviously, it’s a big problem. Many people lost their job and that is never something to be celebrated. Brandon, who is one of the developers on Telltale said:

I got laid off Telltale. None of my sleepless nights and long hours on weekends trying to ship a game on time got me severance today. Don’t work overtime unless you’re paid for it, y’all. Protect your health. Companies don’t care about you.

He is not getting even a severance package. Apparently, people are just let go out of nowhere. Some of them, even relocated cross-country and Telltale was hiring people two weeks before this announcement (how crazy is that?).

The good news out of all of this is that a lot of big companies have reached out and said “Hey, don’t worry, we got you.” Blizzard, Twitch, DICE, Paradox, Epic Games, Naughty Dog, HALO, Ubisoft, PLAYER UNKNOWN reached out. All these huge developing companies are opening their doors and that is great. Yes, it sucks that a lot of people lost their job, but, if this is how Telltale treats their employees, then I am sure they will be better off now.

Telltale’s Walking Dead: Season One was HUGE for my channel (PewDiePie’s channel, I am just Poppy Harlow), a big chapter for my (his) career, even. When we played it, it was one of the most fun things I have ever done, because we got to share this amazing experience with a huge pack of people that enjoyed it an equal amount. Sharing that as a group was incredible. Being so invested in the characters that in the end you were even crying. I am super thankful for that, and I will never forget that. Even Season Two, I thought, was great. I loved it as well.

As a fan of the Telltale’s Walking Dead series, to see it go down like this, does not make me sad, it makes me really disappointed. I am mostly critical of things, because I know they can do better. I knew they can do better than this. That’s why I am so upset. I am pissed off. Two years ago, when I played The Walking Dead: Michonne, this was my reaction to the end:

*sigh* I am really disappointed

Why was I so disappointed? Well, because the whole experience was completely lackluster compared with what they did in Season One. Do I expect them to top what they did originally every single time? Absolutely not. However, to constantly introduce new characters over and over, to then just be met with an ending that felt like nothing really mattered… It is upsetting. Game of Thrones: I didn’t even bother finishing. Batman: I didn’t even continue playing, because I wasn’t invested enough. They released so many games: two seasons of Minecraft, Walking dead Michonne, Walking dead (all the DLCs), Guardians of the Galaxy. It ruined your eagerness to play more, which is such a shame because they did do truly good games. They’ve just made too many games instead of focusing on the good ones.

The Wolf Among Us was a series which a lot of people were excited about. That was five years ago, and now we will never see it because of all these bad decisions. They kept adding new characters to everything. How many characters from the original season of The Walking Dead (which so many people played) are left in the last season (Season Three)? ONE, Clementine, everyone else is gone. How many people lasted from The Walking Dead DLCs? ZERO. How many people from Walking Dead: Michonne (all those characters who we spent so many times trying to pick the right choices for) are in Season Three? NONE. They just kept adding more characters and, after a while, you just don’t care. Combine that with too many games and you are just not invested anymore.

Their engine has not been improved until now. It is such a shame as well because it seemed like they were finally picking up their mistakes. Their engine is incredibly buggy. The lip-syncing is terrible, which takes you out of the immersion. The graphic will just drop out of nowhere, you will see characters appearing in the background an disappearing awkward movements in general. It’s just bad. And then finally, the illusions of a choice.

When you play The Walking Dead, the first text that appears is:

This game series adapts to the choices you make. The story is tailored by how you play.

This is simply not true. I think most people know by now that, when you play through a Telltale game, the ending will be exactly the same, no matter what choices you made. However, people didn’t know this when they played Season One. You had the illusion that you had a choice. When it said “Clementine feels hurt” and people said “Restart the entire game!“, they were like “I really want to get the best outcome. I really care about these characters, so I am going to try my best to really pick the best outcome“. However, the more games they pump out, the more you realized that it was just the same ending no matter what. Sometimes, it was so transparent that you didn’t even have to keep playing for more than a second to realize that your choice didn’t even matter. This is a reoccurring theme through Telltale games and the more you notice it, the more it is impossible to miss.

Telltale has dealt with this criticism for a long time and a lot of people have different opinions about it. For instance, from PC Gamer: “I’m over the fact that choices don’t really matter in Telltale games“. While I saw other articles criticizing Telltale, saying that “Telltale needs to add consequence to our actions, so I can sit on the edge of my seat again, and make heart-wrenching decisions that matter“.

We now know what the majority thinks, because now they are shutting down (not enough people want to buy their games anymore). The thing is that we know that it is not impossible to execute these interactive choices in games. We have seen it in Detroit: Become Human, where you get to see all the different outcomes.

A lot of people had been on twitter blaming ‘Let’s Players‘ for the fact that the company is shutting down, which is not true. You have a lot of story games being more popular than ever, because of this kind of promotion. For example, the game “Life is Strange”. Quantic Dream doing a purely story-based games, is doing great. Even if a game is a story with no interaction whatsoever, like visual novels, Let’s Plays will still drive attention to the game and people will still want to experience it purely by themselves.

I personally found The Walking Dead through other Let’s Players. People said that other Telltale games were awesome, like Batman and Borderlands. However, bad games like Walking Dead: Michonne ruin it for everyone. I am just disappointed.

I don’t know who makes the decisions in the studio, but it seems like they have all kinds of strange internal conflict. The former CEO apparently sued Telltale Games or at least tried to. The developers saying that they knew about all the issues and all the criticisms, those that I have already brought up. They tried to do their best, but most likely it was not the developers’ fault, it was the people making the decisions of the company.

I hope all the developers can find new homes. I am sure they will. It seems like a lot of people reached out, which I am very happy about. I am let down that we won’t see the end of Clementine. I think that is such a shame. However, I am incredibly thankful for what Walking Dead did for my channel, and to everyone that watched me playing those games. Thank you for sharing those memories with me. I think it was incredible and that is why I am so emotionally invested into this.


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