The Wolf Among Us 2 is Starting From Scratch, Telltale Confirms [Update]

The Wolf Among Us 2 is Starting From Scratch, Telltale Confirms [Update]

The new CEO of Telltale says the sequel is starting fresh.

Update: A representative for LCG Entertainment/Telltale reached out to clarify that AdHoc Studio is leading the narrative and cinematic aspects of The Wolf Among Us 2 while Telltale handles all other aspects of development.

The original story follows:


Bigby Wolf, Snow White, and the other residents of Fabletown are coming back. The Wolf Among Us 2 is the first new title coming from the revived version of Telltale Games. First announced in 2017, the sequel was originally abandoned with last year's sudden closure of Telltale, in which 275 workers were laid off in a single day.

Jamie Ottilie, CEO of LCG Entertainment/Telltale, confirms that development on The Wolf Among Us 2 is starting anew rather than building on what Telltale had prior to the game's cancelation. LCG, a holding company headed by Ottilie and chief revenue officer Brian Waddle, completed its purchase of the Telltale brand and select licenses in late August. Joining Telltale on The Wolf Among Us 2's creation is AdHoc Studio, an "interactive narrative company" founded earlier this year by former Telltale employees. Though AdHoc includes key members of the team behind the first season of The Wolf Among Us, all four founding members left Telltale over a year before the studio's closure in 2018.

"We have completely restarted the development of the game," Ottilie tells USgamer. "We felt it best to give the new creative team a clean slate to start with." Ottilie says LCG Entertainment/Telltale is looking to bring on more former Telltale Games employees in the future, but at present it's unclear whether any developers who were closely involved with The Wolf Among Us 2 at the time of its cancelation will work on the sequel again.

What Originally Happened To The Wolf Among Us 2?

Though The Wolf Among Us license was known to be part of Telltale's holdings under LCG Entertainment, the sequel's re-announcement at The Game Awards 2019 came as a surprise. The Wolf Among Us 2 was already a long time coming at the old Telltale, and it wasn't publicized much after its announcement.

Based off of Bill Willingham's comic series Fables, published by DC Vertigo, the first season of The Wolf Among Us wrapped up in 2014. Though its fantasy-infused murder investigation story was well regarded, The Wolf Among Us didn't attract the level of attention that Telltale's more popular licenses garnered. Still, in July 2017 Telltale announced the The Wolf Among Us 2 with a 2018 release window.

In November 2017, Telltale laid off 90 employees as part of a restructuring effort. About six months later in May 2018, the company delayed The Wolf Among Us 2 into 2019, citing unspecified "fundamental changes" at the studio since its announcement. Development continued through the summer until late September, when Telltale abruptly closed and left its laid-off workers without severance pay. Development on The Wolf Among Us 2, a Stranger Things game, and the remaining episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Season all came to a halt with the closure.

Who Works For The New Telltale?

When the new Telltale went public in August, Ottilie told Polygon that LCG was looking to bring on former Telltale employees on a freelance basis with more full-time roles "possible" in the future. Neither Ottilie or Waddle worked at the previous version of Telltale.

Telltale's former director of operations Sara Guinness joined the new Telltale at its launch in the same role as before. With last week's announcement of The Wolf Among Us 2, LCG Entertainment/Telltale revealed that former Telltale VP of engineering Zac Litton has also joined as the company's new CTO.

Ottilie tells USG that LCG Entertainment/Telltale is "currently working with several other former Telltale [employees] on a freelance basis." The new Telltale's offer of freelance work, though similar in a sense to how Skybound Games assembled a team of ex-Telltale employees for finishing The Walking Dead, was initially criticized by some given the high cost of living in the Bay Area, Telltale's home. LCG Entertainment is still looking to expand the new Telltale and may yet sign on more familiar talent to The Wolf Among Us 2: "We will be opening more full-time positions early next year and have other former TTG employees in mind for key roles on the project," says Ottilie.

After the announcement at The Game Awards, a few former Telltale employees took to Twitter to express their surprise at The Wolf Among Us 2's re-announcement and to wish the production well under AdHoc Studio's direction.

Who Are AdHoc Studio?

In February 2019, four former Telltale Games employees founded AdHoc Studio. Pierre Shorette, Nick Herman, and Dennis Lenart all worked on the first season of The Wolf Among Us, as the game's lead writer and its two directors, respectively. All three are reprising their development roles for The Wolf Among Us 2.

AdHoc's CEO Michael Choung left Telltale in late 2016, while Shorette, Herman, and Lenart all departed in February 2017—prior to The Wolf Among Us 2's initial announcement—to join Ubisoft for work on an unannounced project. When the four founded AdHoc in February, no mention was made of pursuing former Telltale projects or licenses.

USG reached out to AdHoc to ask if the company includes or is looking to recruit more former Telltale employees, but did not receive a response prior to publication.

In addition to the ex-Telltale crew at AdHoc, the voice actors for Bigby Wolf (Adam Harrington) and Snow White (Erin Yvette) are returning alongside series composer Jared Emerson-Johnson for The Wolf Among Us 2.

One major departure Telltale is making in its relaunch of The Wolf Among Us 2's development is on the technology front. Though the Telltale Tool engine tech still belongs to Telltale under LCG Entertainment, the proprietary engine was reportedly quite difficult to work with, and Telltale was planning to transition to Unity for the canceled Stranger Things game. Instead of Telltale Tool, Telltale and AdHoc will use Unreal Engine for The Wolf Among Us 2. The sequel is coming to consoles and PC, initially as an Epic Games Store exclusive. The first Wolf Among Us is currently free on the Epic Store until Dec. 19, 2019.

Edit, 12/20/2019: Clarified language regarding Telltale and AdHoc's roles on the project.

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Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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