What is up next for Telltale games?


Yeah - sad news but in a way I’m surprised that this didn’t happen sooner.

From the lack of proper PR push of their releases over the past 18 months or so it was getting pretty clear that they were hurting. I’m more shocked that they never attempted to change their formula this entire time.


I understand this sentiment, but it’s also one of the least surprising parts of their story. Most game studios tend to chase the ghost of their first breakout hit. Some succeed. Most don’t. The studios I personally respect the most are the ones that don’t double down on their first success. Klei probably is my favorite example. Introversion is another, but they’ve had some recent stumbles which have led them to keep revisiting Prison Architect.

The Telltale games take a huge upfront investment of time. I made it through Season 1 of The Walking Dead, but never could bring myself to invest in the other seasons. I tried Wolf but it really just didn’t click with me at all, so I abandoned it after 45 minutes or so. I want to like what Telltale was doing, but for me, if I want a good story, I’m more likely to pick up a book than to invest in a story-driven game that lacks depth in other gameplay mechanics.


I remember Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People. Years later I played the first Batman game. I found their model novel and creative, but the game-play lacking.


Makes me wonder how the devs making Kentucky Route Zero stay in business. Been waiting five years for that one to finish.


From a game design perspective, I thought TWD was an imperfect, but very interesting and unique mix of ideas for narrative gaming - combined with an excellent story. But it seemed like they just completely ceased developing the gameplay after that first success (chasing the ghost of that first hit, as Clay says) - not surprising, but a little disappointing. I think there are many ways in which they could have expanded on the ideas that brought them success in TWD, and with all the talent they employed, I can’t help thinking it’s the combination of the management choosing to “play it safe” creatively, while expanding the studio recklessly that did them in.


Funnily enough, I did buy Kentucky Route Zero years and years ago…on sale.
Still have yet to play it.

  1. They’re not paying the overhead of an expensive IP license. Or multiple licenses, as was the case with Telltale.

  2. They’re not paying the overhead of having 280 employees. Cardboard Computer (KRZ developer) is 2 guys.

Those two things significantly decrease your burn rate and significantly increase your long-term viability.


They laid off 90 last year. It was over 350 at some points.


This news makes me really sad. I had a great time with the games that I played of theirs, and I played quite a few. For me they were usually relaxing and zen-like—a great way to game without too much cognitive load.

Yeah, there were things I’d have changed about them, but, for right now, I’m thankful for the fun I did have with them. I’m super bummed we won’t get Wolf by the Ears 2.


That bums me out. The two Batman games were seriously solid, did some interesting tweaks to the Batman mythology to make the story new and interesting.


Yea, but is there anything about Telltale that makes them Day 1 purchases? Especially, in the episodic format - I don’t really have an incentive to buy until the series is done. By then, any buzz is likely over, and I can wait until the inevitable sale.


The stories were good, but the gameplay was meh. Was there anything about the games being on Xbox that even mattered? Looking back, it would have been just the same on PC.


I don’t follow you. I don’t believe there is any difference in the game regardless of platform.


Extra cost. I think they stretched themselves VERY thin. I’m not dancing on their graves; I liked the games. But it seemed a very expensive (unprofitable) business model in hindsight.


Oh, I don’t really pay attention to the business end of things, I just don’t find it interesting. No doubt they made some bad decisions and caught some bad breaks, I don’t know. I just liked playing their games.


Same here. Like I said, I go back to the Strongbad days with them. Sad.


Hell yeah! I remember how stoked I was when I heard they were picking up the Sam and Max license, those games were fantastic. I liked the Wallace and Gromit games, which can’t be found anymore since I think the license expired. Jeez, now that I think about it, I may have played everything they made. Can’t say I didn’t do my part! Though I guess I did buy some of them on sale. Definitely a bunch day one though, episodic content be damned.


Not being facetious here, but is there any distinction in Telltale’s games? Was there any gameplay that wasn’t just story? Was there any sort of resource management or puzzles or RPG elements or exploration? I thought these were just episodic stories with forking decision trees, so if you weren’t playing for the story, there was no reason to play at all.

If I’m wrong, I’d love to know more.



Pretty much. Strongbad had more game-play/puzzle solving in it, but all their later stuff was strictly story based.

And that is part of the reason I tired of them. It just became formulaic and repetitive after a time. If the releases had been fewer and further between, they would have seemed more like rare treats. My perspective and experience, anyhow.


There used to be. The Sam and Max games, even some later stuff like Tales from Monkey Island and (I think) Strong Bad had actual puzzles. But that stuff sort of fell by the wayside as storytelling took priority, I guess. I didn’t mind too much as long as the stories were interesting, like in The Walking Dead, Borderlands and the Batman games I mentioned. Everyone seems to love The Wolf Among Us, but that one bounced off me. So if the story doesn’t grab you, there’s not much else to keep you clicking.