Sources: Telltale Games Closes Majority of Studio, The Wolf Among Us 2 and Stranger Things Canceled [Update, Correction]

Update: We have an official statement from Telltale.

News by Matt Kim, .

Update 4 [4:12pm]: As information continues to come out of today's announcement that Telltale Games is closing, and particularly in light of Telltale's statement, there are new revelations to the situation at Telltale.

We previously reported that a skeleton crew will remain behind to complete work on The Walking Dead Final Season. That information was inaccurate. Sources who wish to remain anonymous explained that there is a skeleton crew at Telltale, but they will be working on the Minecraft Story Mode project for Netflix. In fact, The Walking Dead team was also laid off today and The Walking Dead Final Season will not be completed.

This matches with the statement issued by Telltale games where the company promised to "fulfill the company's obligations to its board and partners." Our sources say The Walking Dead Final Season is set to end after the second episode launches next week.

Update 3 [2:35pm PT]: Telltale has issued a statement announcing that a small team of 25 will stay to "fulfill the company's obligations to its board and partners." No word yet on Telltale's other games, but the company says it will explain in the coming weeks. Here's the full statement below:

Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges. A majority of the company’s employees were dismissed earlier this morning, with a small group of 25 employees staying on to fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners. CEO Pete Hawley issued the following statement:

“It's been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course. 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 will issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks.

Update 2 [2:10pm PT]: Telltale co-founder and former Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner has posted a blog calling the layoffs at Telltale a "closure." Seemingly confirming the fate of the studio he co-founded.

Update 1 [1:50pm PT]: USgamer learned from multiple anonymous sources familiar with the layoffs at Telltale that employees laid off today will not receive severance pay.

Original Story

Telltale Games is closing down most of its game development today according to multiple reports online. Telltale employees are also posting on social media that they are no longer employed with the company. An anonymous source familiar with the situation has told USgamer that Telltale's closure was going to be complete.

Telltale Games is a Bay Area-based video game company specializing in narrative adventures. The studio hit prominence with The Walking Dead Season 1 in 2012. The studio has since worked on video games based on Batman, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Minecraft.

In 2017, Telltale Games laid off 90 employees in a restructuring of the company following years of mismanagement. In our report following the layoffs, sources told us that following The Walking Dead Telltale suffered from a constant culture of crunch that pushed employees to release games as quickly as possible. In addition to overbearing management teams that oftentimes meddled in projects, the Telltale Tool proprietary engine was prone to bugs, making development even more difficult.

Telltale is currently in the middle of The Walking Dead Final Season and have previously announced a second season of The Wolf Among Us and a game based on the Netflix hit series Stranger Things. An anonymous source familiar with the company told USgamer that a skeleton crew will remain at Telltale to work on Minecraft Story Mode for Netflix while The Wolf Among Us Season 2 and Stranger Things are effectively cancelled. [Updated above]

Update: The Verge is reporting that 25 employees will stay on board, presumably as part of the skeleton crew.

We have reached out to Telltale Games for more information and we will update you as more information becomes available to us.

To employees affected by the Telltale layoffs there is currently the hashtag #TelltaleJobs trending on Twitter with video game companies offering assistance to affected employees.


Correction [1:28pm PT]: An earlier report said that Telltale filed for bankruptcy. Sources say that 'bankrupcty' was mentioned. We regret the error.

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Comments 39

  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #1 LunarFlame17 26 days ago
    Holy shit. This really sucks. Hopefully everyone affected by this comes out of it okay. I hate it when stuff like this happens.
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  • Avatar for dr134 #2 dr134 26 days ago

    I know their games were not always great, but I have played and enjoyed all of the ones that have been on the Xbox. Hope they can at least finish The Walking Dead properly and not just rush something out the door.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #3 WiIIyTheAntelope 26 days ago
    So the only thing that Telltale has done to interest me in several years is announcing Wolf 2..and now it probably isn't happening? That sounds about right.

    Though just a skeleton crew could turn a quality game out, Borderlands was definitely in their top 2 or 3 releases and that was done by just a handful of folks.
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  • Avatar for nimzy #4 nimzy 26 days ago
    What are the odds that the affected employees found out about this first by reading the news...
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  • Avatar for mattcom26 #5 mattcom26 26 days ago
    What an utter SHAME
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  • Avatar for sacredhigh #6 sacredhigh 26 days ago
    The employees will remember that.
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  • Avatar for Godots17thCup #7 Godots17thCup 26 days ago
    Man, that really, really sucks. When Telltale nailed a project, they made some of the most compelling narrative-based games in the industry - Walking Dead S1 is still among the most moving experiences I've ever had with a game and The Wolf Among Us was a great, pulpy thriller.

    I really hope all of these folks can land good jobs asap.
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  • Avatar for manny_c44 #8 manny_c44 26 days ago
    They stopped releasing original stuff with Sam and Max Season 2, all of the original people left and now it's dead. Not really surprising I guess.
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #9 UnskippableCutscene 26 days ago
    You could tell from the way they ran their company that this was going to happen. Expensive IP rights, overbearing management, a company located in America’s most expensive region to live where programmers and coders have no shortage of opportunity.

    I get that stuff like Borderlands and Minecraft has a built in audience that’s smaller than Marvel and Game of Thrones, but they could have worked their way up to working with the likes of Blizzard and Nintendo eventually. In a world where Starfox is part of a toys to life game and Mario is playing Xcom with Rabbids, gaming’s greatest selling mascots are less tightly held than ever. But I dunno, TellTale seemed to be aiming at the iOS App Store crowd.
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  • Avatar for benjaminlu86 #10 benjaminlu86 26 days ago
    > In fact, The Walking Dead team was also laid off today and The Walking Dead Final Season will not be completed. Our sources say The Walking Dead Final Season is set to end after the second episode launches next week.

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  • Avatar for davebouchard67 #11 davebouchard67 26 days ago
    Soo, does that mean the games will become free? Considering they'll probably shut down servers
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  • Avatar for secularsage #12 secularsage 26 days ago
    That explains the one day only Humble Bundle earlier in the week. They must have been scrambling to get cash to pay their bills.

    It's a shame, because there are few studios out there who have been able to pull off making compelling adventure games over the last 20 years. I loved almost every game Telltale made and I will miss them. Tales From the Borderlands and The Wolf Among Us are in particular two of the best adventure games I've ever played from a storytelling standpoint.

    But as post mortems on the studio are likely to remind us, their biggest weakness was chasing expensive IPs rather than improving on their tech so they could justify higher prices on their content. It's really hard to be a midsize developer, and having all those license fees to take a cut out of what was already meager pricing was not sustainable.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #13 Roto13 26 days ago
    I want my money back for the final season of the walking dead
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  • Avatar for Bsmittel #14 Bsmittel 26 days ago
  • Avatar for Bsmittel #15 Bsmittel 26 days ago
    Well now people won't be able to argue about the ending of the TWD season 4...
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  • Avatar for moochan #16 moochan 26 days ago
    Sadly this is something you see a lot. The company just grew too big for what they could actually do. Taking too many projects and spreading themselves too thin. It's really sad since they were talented writers and was hoping they would be able to keep doing newer things. I just hope the people all find work soon.
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  • Avatar for justa-special-human #17 justa-special-human 26 days ago
    This is complete bullshit. I paid 30 dollars for the season pass. ALL the 4 episodes for The Walking Dead Final Season. And now they surprise me with this?! What was the point of even making a final season if this was going to happen? Why get us all hyped up to see Clementine again and then do this to us? I better get a refund. I paid 30 dollars for this and if they’re doing this, people need their money back. This is completely unfair to all the people who bought this game, including myself. People shouldn’t have wasted their money on a game that isn’t even going to finish. They didn’t even know this was going to happen. I’m really disappointed and upset.
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  • Avatar for lincruste #18 lincruste 26 days ago
    At least you can fly
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  • Avatar for Someone123456 #19 Someone123456 26 days ago
    Telltale, I know this is a hard situation, but are you seriously gonna finish MINECRAFT instead of TWD? There's sooo many people who waited so long for this game, and you are choosing f-ing Minecraft over it???! Like seriously. So many people (including me) paid money for this game, and waited, and that's what we get? An unfinished game?
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  • Avatar for annette #20 annette 26 days ago
    Why would you guys canceled episode 3 and 4 for walking dead telltale season 4 like serious why couldn’t you cancelled after the episode are finish like I want to play episode 3 and 4 also not only episode 2 like finish walking dead final season first then u can go and focus on minecraft for Netflix walking dead final season is more important like the fans want to finish Clementine story please and thank you
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  • Avatar for annette #21 annette 26 days ago
    Btw can you put back the release date on broken toys and episode 4 too thank you very much please don’t cancelled walking dead final season I want to see how Clem story end pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee don’t do this to your fans they really hate you for doing this too them
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  • Avatar for vilislacis95 #22 vilislacis95 26 days ago
    It's a shame, their "Back to future" games were amazing!
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  • Avatar for jeffreyuyanik16 #23 jeffreyuyanik16 26 days ago
    Not even mad. Serves em right. Took on so many stupid projects and never finished anything or took too long with everything. All they needed was wolf among us and walking dead. They could’ve done a game at a time. But they got greedy, serves em right. Scum bags.
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  • Avatar for hashomabo69 #24 hashomabo69 26 days ago
    Thats some focking BS... fock
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  • Avatar for joshuaedwards69 #25 joshuaedwards69 25 days ago
    @justa-special-human and this is why people need to stop pre-ordering. You only open yourself to disappointment. I've been burnt too many times to ever buy a game before its launched. I won't even pre-order red dead redemption 2.
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  • Avatar for docexe #26 docexe 25 days ago
    I have to admit the only game from Telltale that I played was Sam & Max: Beyond time and space, which I enjoyed immensely. I was always curious about The Walking Dead and The Wolf among Us, but constantly put them in the backburner while I played other games. I suppose I should finally check them out. Hopefully they won’t get delisted.

    The news of the closure were shocking given how sudden it happened, but reading around, it seems the company was really badly mismanaged. Truly tragic.

    For that matter, I get some commenters are irked that they are not getting the product for which they paid, but can’t you all show a little empathy. I mean, people are losing their jobs here for decisions that were out of their control, and the managers and executives responsible are the less likely to be badly affected by the closure.
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  • Avatar for Ascandior #27 Ascandior 25 days ago
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  • Avatar for kaylahclark21 #28 kaylahclark21 25 days ago
    Aww I was really looking forward to The Wolf Among Us 2 DX
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  • Avatar for cristianmatyus70 #29 cristianmatyus70 25 days ago
    This isn't fair! Only because they had a rough year it doesn't mean that all years are going to be the same. They didn't make it this year. They could have probably made it next year or the other years to come. That's the problem with people these days. When something doesn't go right they immediately come to the conclusion that it's time to give up. Now, I mean no disrespect to Telltale. They might have had a bigger problem than any of us can ever imagine. All I'm saying is that you can always try and fight the problems that come in your way. I wish I could tell them not to give up, to be strong but I'm afraid it's too late.
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  • Avatar for dalamar97 #30 dalamar97 25 days ago
    As a fan of their games, sad to see. Hopefully a fundraiser campaign will allow walking dead to be completed.
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  • Avatar for AstroDemon #31 AstroDemon 25 days ago
    It might've been better if Telltale had focused on making fewer better games rather than drowning us in them in a short time, but I guess I don't really know what kind of mismanagement happened here. It's just a shame. I really wanted to see The Wolf Among Us Season 2.
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  • This sucks. I don't play video games, but my husband does. He loved playing your games and I enjoyed watching. He did the work, I got the story. We had a good thing going. Total bummer.
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  • Avatar for royspaan92 #33 royspaan92 25 days ago
    @Ascandior lol "boycott" dumbass. they're going bankrupt, what the hell more can you do to them. use your head for once.
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  • Avatar for Poltergeist8606 #34 Poltergeist8606 24 days ago
    @Roto13 I contacted Microsoft and they refunded me in full.
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  • Avatar for AceOfCakez #35 AceOfCakez 23 days ago
    I played several of their games and thought that they were buggy messes. Additionally, a choice-based game where you couldn't skip text was horrendous. Thus, I'm not surprised at their closure.
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  • Avatar for JunkerPRO #36 JunkerPRO 23 days ago
    Thats terrible news. Have been looking forward to Stranger Things since it was announced. Really enjoyed the series and was looking forward to the creative direction ST was going to take in the game. Now that the removal has taken place, I am really disappointed. One of the best promised releases they have had in a while. Back to work I go.
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  • Avatar for sportfutsal #37 sportfutsal 21 days ago
  • Avatar for Hoopsnbangs #38 Hoopsnbangs 20 days ago
    @Someone123456 I’m def boycotting the Minecraft game if they’re choosing that over finishing TWD. I have a 9 yr old son and I’m definitely pushing this agenda to all other gamer parents. They’re choosing a potential market over a loyal market
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  • Avatar for Hoopsnbangs #39 Hoopsnbangs 20 days ago
    @royspaan92 you can not fund their liquidation
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