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Telltale Games hints at a future for The Walking Dead, with no word on employee severance pay

UPDATE (25/09/2018) Telltale Games has hinted that The Walking Dead: The Final Season may actually get a conclusion, despite the closure of the studio. However, it still hasn’t spoken up about employee’s severance pay. 

In a statement on Twitter made on Monday night, Telltale Games said: “Multiple potential partners have stepped forward to express interest in helping to see The Final Season through to completion. While we can’t make any promises today, we are actively working towards a solution that would allow episodes 3 and 4 to be completed and released in some form.”

The internet seems to be divided on whether this would mean an outsourced team came in – which seems cruel to the people Telltale just laid off, or whether this would take the form of a cash injection and involve them rehiring some of their staff which also seems cruel to the people Telltale Games just laid off.

It’s a messy situation that’s just gotten messier. We talk about it on the Patch Notes podcast, embedded below.

UPDATE: In a statement, Telltale Games has confirmed Friday’s lay-offs are part of a ‘majority studio closure’ due to ‘insurmountable challenges’. The firm says the remaining staff are staying on to fulfil existing obligations, but after that it’s curtains. 

“Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges,” the company said. “A majority of the company’s employees were dismissed earlier this morning.” The remaining employees will stay on “to fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners.” Multiple sources have suggested that employees are leaving the company without severence packages, while others say that a small team of 25 are being kept on to handle things for Telltale’s Minecraft Story Mode project for Netflix. At this stage, all games in development at Telltale are being cancelled, with The Walking Dead: The Final Season wrapping up after the soon to be released Episode 2. This also puts paid to the fortcoming Stranger Things game, and the anticipated The Wolf Among Us season 2.

The firm plans to comment on the status of its product portfolio in the weeks to come.

Original story continues below…

Telltale Games, the studio behind episodic titles like The Walking Dead, Minecraft: Story Mode and Game of Thrones, has laid off a large number of employees.

Amid some reports claiming the studio would be shutting down completely, The Verge says around 25 team members of the 250 will remain on staff. The studio itself is yet to comment on the reports, but employees have taken to Twitter to confirm they’ve been made redundant.

Matt Kim, news editor for USgamer, says the skeleton staff will stay on to complete the final season of The Walking Dead, the first episode of which arrived last month. However, he says, the sequel to The Wolf Among Us and the planned Stranger Things game could be dead in the water as a result of the layoffs.

Today’s news comes following a prolonged period of turmoil at the studio responsible for some of the most popular titles of recent times.

Related: The Walking Dead – The Final Season

Last November, the company also laid-off a quarter of its staff. At the time, CEO Pete Hawley said: “The realities of the environment we face moving forward demand we evolve, as well, reorienting our organization with a focus on delivering fewer, better games with a smaller team.”

Earlier this year, a report cited an environment of “toxic management” at the studio, where staff were constantly overworked. This summer, the co-founder and former CEO of Telltale, Kevin Bruner sued the company, seeking damages.

The studio has also produced games based on high-profile franchises like Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman and Back to the Future, as well the Tales From The Borderlands series. If today’s reports are confirmed, it’ll come as a devastating blow to the developer community as well as the legions of fan who’ve dined out on Telltale’s episodic storytelling.

We’ve reached out to Telltale Games for comment on this development and will update this article if a response is forthcoming.

This is a developing story…

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