The demise of such a distinguished and prevailing studio such as Telltale is another crushing example of the fickle, congested and vulnerable nature of the games industry. From an ethically minded position its dispiriting to see so many people lose their jobs, particularly when the companies financial defects can be attributed to managerial incompetence rather than the general staff. It’s certainly a situation I can relate too. Rumours have persisted that Telltale’s strenuous regime, toxic working environment and languishing creative verve have all contributed to the studios sad but inevitable decline. The studio’s increasingly precarious financial security had become unsustainable, with its dedicated employees facing unemployment after years of stifled creativity. The fact that most were not even granted a severance makes the entire affair even more remarkable. And sad. Though my condolences won’t placate their unjust situation, I do sincerely hope that everyone is able to secure work quickly. From a consumer standpoint however I can’t say I’m entirely aggrieved to see Telltale go into liquidation.
The narrative based, partially interactive content developed by Telltale never really appealed to me in the way I thought it would. Games like “Game Of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” relied on minimal player directed conversations that were meant to advance the story in a personal, meaningful way but just felt kind of hollow. Many of the decisions were superficial dialogue exchanges that had limited repercussions, other than a character being mildly irritated by it. The animation used in many of their games felt flat and lifeless, like a newspaper print that had become damaged by damp. It was indistinct, gloomy, utilising a wide variety of greys and bland hues that I guess was supposed to convey a sense of realism. Crucially for me however were the mediocre stories.
I’m sure many of you will refute that appraisal, but I personally just couldn’t connect or even care about the characters depicted in either “The Walking Dead” or “Game Of Thrones”. They weren’t bad games, just tolerable ones. I realise they produced other critically lauded games like the “Wolf Among Us” and “Tales From Borderlands” but I never played them, and if I’m honest I probably never will. The concept of a narrative driven experience, with branching tangents that allowed the story to adapt to your catered direction was inspired, yet ultimately floored when you didn’t really care about the events that transpired around you.
But this is why I didn’t enjoy them, and by no means a factual account of Telltales revered history. If you’re a fan I’m sure you are devastated, but perhaps not surprised. The over saturation of content was probably a clear indication of the companies deeper financial difficulties. No doubt that Telltales sizeable team will go elsewhere and tell many more tales without the restrictions that seemingly stunted them there. And though I didn’t enjoy their full body of work as much as I wished, I doubt even the most ignorant of us will forget their contributions to gaming any time soon. Best of luck to everyone affected.