The news broke out Friday that Telltale Games has laid off over 250 members of their staff and only kept 25 members of the staff to complete the Minecraft Story Mode for Netflix. This is the same company that has produced many hit titles such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Batman, Game of Thrones, and Tales of Borderlands and their upcoming titles included a sequel to Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us and an upcoming Stranger Things title. The news came out of nowhere and those titles were canceled. The biggest hit from the titles is The Walking Dead as their final season of the game just started over a month ago and after the second episode which will release this Tuesday, we will not get the rest of the planned episodes. This caused a huge uproar online due to the fact that many people has paid for season passes for the game and they cannot give out refunds to the people who has purchased the game expecting a full season.
Since then, the hashtag of #TellTaleJobs started trending and major gaming studios started to pick up on this and it shows a good sign that they want to hire many of the former developers. Of the many developers, I have spoken to two of them (who would also like to remain anonymous due to legal reasons) and this is what i was told.
The company has underpaid the staff for a few years and the CEO did not want to change the game engine at the request of the developers as they felt that the engine has shown its age in different since the first season of The Walking Dead. There were numerous times also when they have hired more people than they should have for a position in a different department that should have not had more than 5 people in. The 250 plus people that were also let go were not given any notice at all and they will not get severance pay and many of them will lose their health insurance in a few weeks as well. I was also told that around 100 of the fired employees were contractors and they cannot receive unemployment. This does not help well due to the fact that many of the developers has worked overtime without pay. The final thing I was told was that the CEO was more focused on gathering more IP’s as possible instead of focusing on trying to give the developers the green light to create their own original game which was put on hold many times.
This story will update as more information will come out. But for now, it is a shame that the rest of the final season of The Walking Dead will not be finished. I also feel very bad for all of the developers that were laid off without a warning. Whatever happens to the company after the 25 members of the staff finish Netflix’s Minecraft Story Mode will be up in the air before we find out more information.
Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @julianexcalibur