Skybound Games has announced the release of Seasons 2 and 3 of The Walking Dead adventure game series, originally developed by Telltale Games. The release of Seasons 2 and 3…
Adventure game studio Telltale Games infamously closed down last year, leaving to sudden game cancellations and mass layoffs for its 250 employees. LCG Entertainment has recently purchased the studio and its back catalog of games, with the hope of developing new games based on its popular brands.
“All of us were big fans of the games Telltale created, as we strongly believe in games as a storytelling medium and nobody did it better,” said Jamie Ottilie, newly appointed CEO of Telltale Games. “Even now, when you see a game with strong narrative, it’s always compared to Telltale, so it’s no surprise that players and industry colleagues alike mourned the studio’s closure. We believe there is still so much life to the brand and its franchises, and we look forward to building upon the company’s storytelling legacy.”
Telltale’s success was built upon licensed narrative adventure games such as The Walking Dead, Borderlands, and Batman. As reported by Polygon, the new Telltale currently has the rights to The Wolf Among Us and Batman adventure series, as well as original Telltale games like Puzzle Agent. Other licensed games will need to be re-negotiated.
The Walking Dead, Telltale’s most popular gaming license, spanned multiple episodic series. The final Walking Dead series was abruptly canceled midway through when Telltale shut down last year, leaving Skybound Entertainment to swoop in and finish it. The license now belongs to Skybound (founded by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman), so it’s unlikely Telltale will be making any more Walking Dead games.
Original Telltale Games team members have been hired or contracted as freelancers. Whether this new Telltale Games can reach the heights of success of the original studio remains to be seen.
The brand new, Fortnite-funded Epic Games Store snagged an exclusive deal with Skybound Games. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season will release its final two episodes on the Epic…
It’s been a tumultuous time for The Walking Dead and Telltale Games fans (and much worse for the developers). In September Telltale Games shut down all game production and laid off the majority of their employees. This happened just days before the release of the second episode of the final season of The Walking Dead, leaving it half-finished.
Skybound Games, owned by Robert Kirkman (creator of The Walking Dead) swooped in to save the game. It’s taken a few weeks to iron out the details, but Skybound has officially announced they are picking up the pieces to finish The Walking Dead: The Final Season, including using the original developers.
“After Telltale shut its doors, the game was, unfortunately, unable to be worked on and hence the release dates of Episodes 3 and 4 have been delayed,” the announcement states. “But, we’re excited to let you know that many of the talented, passionate team members who originally worked on the game are resuming development efforts today!”
The final two episodes of the four episode game will be delayed due to the transition. Previous Telltale Games have been pulled from digital stores as well, though Skybound reassures they will be back soon. If you previously purchased the full season pass for The Walking Dead: The Final Season, it will still work for the remaining episodes. Release dates for episodes three and four are coming soon.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season is the fourth episodic adventure game in Telltale’s The Walking Dead series. The original was a critical and commercial success, catapulting Telltale into the public eye. The sequels were not as well received, and Telltale had floundered in trying to recapture that 2012 success. The Final Season is meant to finally end Clementine’s story, a journey that has been six years in the making.
The Walking Dead adventure games are rated M for Mature.
The sudden drama surrounding Telltale Games’ massive layoffs and game cancellations continues. This time it’s a glimmer of hope for fans of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series. At New York Comic-Con, series creator Robert Kirkman announced that the game arm of his company, Skybound Games, will pick up the pieces of The Walking Dead: The Final Season.
Details are still forthcoming. According to Variety, Skybound Games “will work with members of the original Telltale team to finish the story, though nothing has been finalized.”
We’re SO happy to announce that we’ve reached a deal with @telltalegames that will allow Skybound to continue #TheWalkingDead: The Final Season! Let’s wrap up Clem’s story right! More details to come soon. pic.twitter.com/ShyREw65iq
— Skybound Games (@skyboundgames) October 7, 2018
Last month Telltale shocked the industry when it laid off over 200 employees, effectively canceling nearly all ongoing projects, including The Walking Dead: The Final Season, which had just launched its second episode (out of a planned four episodes).
A skeleton crew remained to finish some contractual work and keep the lights running. But recently, according to one of the employees who remained, they too were laid off. The drama has been a hot topic within the industry, highlighting problems of worker’s rights, severance pay, and a poorly managed company.
Telltale recently announced that they were shopping around for a partner to continue the unfinished final season of The Walking Dead, which fans have been clamoring for.
Skybound Games picking up The Walking Dead makes a lot of sense. Obviously it’s Kirkman’s company, and they have the license to make The Walking Dead games. Skybound Entertainment was founded in 2010 by Kirkman, while Skybound Games launched earlier this year, and has published The Long Dark and Slime Rancher.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season is available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch. The first two episodes are available, with the final two handled by Skybound Games. They’re rated M for Mature.
Shockingly sad news over the weekend. Telltale Games, who defined the narrative adventure game genre through games like The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands, and Batman: The Enemy Within, has announced a massive layoff citing financial issues. The company laid off 250 employees over the weekend, leaving a tiny crew of 25 to “fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners,” as per the announcement.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course,” writes Pete Halwey, CEO of Telltale. “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.”
— Telltale Games (@telltalegames) September 21, 2018
No official cancellations have been made from the company, but reports made from outlets and employees are that all remaining work has shifted toward the Minecraft Story Mode project for Netflix. This leaves future projects like Wolf Among Us Season 2 and Stranger Things effectively canceled. Most distressingly, it leaves The Walking Dead: The Final Season uncompleted, as the second of four episodes is set to launch this week.
Melissa Hutchison, voice actor for The Walking Dead series’ Clementine, issued a statement via twitter. She confirms that she does not know of any plans to continue The Final Season after Episode 2’s release.
Hello friends. I am so very deeply moved by the messages of love that I, and the folks from @telltalegames have been receiving. Yesterday was one of the toughest days ever. A lot of hearts were broken, including mine. Please read the attached. #TelltaleJobs #Clementine #TWD pic.twitter.com/Fb68z86j8e
— Melissa Hutchison (@Melyhutch) September 22, 2018
Everything is still unconfirmed at this point, with Telltale stating they will “issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks.” With the entire The Walking Dead team gone, however, it’s not looking good for anyone who wanted to see Clementine’s story finally come to an end.
It’s also a bad situation for anyone who purchased the complete season pass, with the assumption that they would be receiving four full episodes of content in the months to come. Reports are surfacing that Microsoft is issuing refunds to anyone who purchased on Xbox One.
Telltale Games was found in 2004, and met some success making quirky adventure games like Sam & Max. They exploded with success after The Walking Dead released in 2012, leading to critical success, huge sales, and the proof that an episodic release schedule can be successful.
In the following six years Telltale has ridden the coattails of that success, doubling down on more licensed, episodic adventure games, such as Game of Thrones and Guardians of the Galaxy. None save Minecraft: Story Mode were financially successful, however. The Walking Dead: The Final Season was the fourth in the series, and meant to finally bring closure to their initial breakout success back in 2012.
Late last year Telltale Games laid off about a quarter of its staff. Earlier this year the Verge published a detailed exposé citing a toxic culture of mismanagement within the company. Leaving the highly touted final season of The Walking Dead unfinished comes as a big shock, as well as the hundreds of employees suddenly without work. For those affected, the hashtag TelltaleJobs is being used by recruiters at other studios.
Episode two of The Walking Dead: The Final Season is still due out tomorrow on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch. It’s rated M for Mature.