Former Telltale developer says the studio was hiring new workers a week before it closed

The sudden, shocking closure of Telltale Games last week was deeply disappointing for fans of its games, including The Wolf Among Us, Tales From the Borderlands, and The Walking Dead. That last one is a particularly stinging loss because The Walking Dead: The Final Season, which would conclude Clementine's narrative, just got underway in August and will almost certainly go unfinished. 

But designer Emily Grace Buck, whose credits at Telltale include TWD: The Final Season, Batman, and Guardians of the Galaxy, posted a series of tweets after the closure was confirmed to remind everyone that the real damage runs much deeper. Roughly 250 Telltale employees were let go with no severance pay, she said, a figure slightly higher than initial counts, and many of them were contractors, meaning that they're not eligible for unemployment. Their workplace health coverage, which is particularly vital in the US, will also be cut off just one week after the closure. 

Even uglier is that according to Buck, Telltale had new employees starting work at the studio just a week prior to the shutdown announcement, some of whom had relocated for their jobs. At least one former employee is a foreign national on a work visa, who will have to leave the US "within days" as a result of the closure. 

"Due to the insanely high cost of living in the Bay Area relative to payscale, many of my (unbelievably skilled and talented!!!) colleagues were living paycheck to paycheck and do not know what they are going to do to make ends meet this month," she wrote. 

Buck also confirmed that the second season of The Wolf Among Us is canceled, as is the Stranger Things project, although Netflix still wants to push ahead with that elsewhere. The second episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season is expected to release on schedule, but there's no real hope of it proceeding beyond that point: Melissa Hutchinson, who provides the voice of Clementine, suggested yesterday that the game will not be finished, and former season lead designer Michael Kirkbride was somewhat more definite about it on Reddit, encouraging fans to "at least give the [second] episode a try, even if it'll be uniquely placed in the tragic history of Telltale's efforts." 

"We know it’s weird, we know it sucks, we know it’s sad in ways that’s almost impossible to articulate, and we know it’s awful that we can’t tell you what would’ve happened after, but the episode is also just goddamn good, and the best feeling we could have right now is to know it’s being played," he wrote. 

Echoing Kirkbride's statement about not being able to share Telltale's plan for the remainder of The Final Season, Buck also shot down a suggestion that the script be shared online, so players can at least find out what happened.   

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.