Telltale Games is Being Revived, but There are Some Catches
Last year Telltale Games shocked the gaming world when it announced it was laying off most of its staff and cancelling all future projects. Eventually Skybound Games, a new developer/publisher founded by series creator Robert Kirkman, stepped in to finish The Walking Dead: The Final Season and seemed to be poised to continue Telltale’s legacy, but there’s a new wrinkle – Telltale Games itself is now coming back. That said, there are some caveats.
The new Telltale Games will be headed up by Jamie Ottilie and Brian Waddle, neither of which were involved in the original version of the studio. Ottilie has mostly worked on licensed mobile games based on franchises like Power Rangers and Duck Dynasty, while Waddle previously ran the PR department for the Havok physics engine. Athlon Games (makers of the upcoming Lord of the Rings MMO) are partners in the new Telltale Games, with the studio also receiving some backing from Chris Kingsley (Rebellion), Lyle Hall (Heavy Iron Studios), and Tobias Sjögren (Starbreeze).
But what about the people who made up the original Telltale? Some former employees have reportedly been offered freelance jobs, which might turn into permanent positions in the future, but they’ll likely have to pull up stakes to take them – the new Telltale is moving offices from San Rafael to Malibu. Ottilie explained why he wanted to revive the Telltale name…
This is a viable business that went away due to market conditions and some scale choices [Telltale’s previous management] made. I like games that tell stories and I think our industry should have a company that specializes in narrative-driven games.
The new Telltale owns the rights The Wolf Among Us, Batman, and all original Telltale franchises, including Puzzle Agent and plans to continue some of them with new games. Will this new company be able to produce the kind of stories fans expect from Telltale Games? I have my doubts, as nobody involved in this new venture seems to have any experience in narrative-focused games. Maybe this Telltale will be financially successful, but I don’t really expect it to carry on the spirit of the original company. Personally, as a long-time Telltale fan, I’m more interested in what Skybound Games is cooking up.
What do you think? Happy that Telltale is coming back? Could they surprise us and end up producing some great games?