It’s been two weeks since Telltale Games abruptly laid off over 200 of its staff members, canceled its upcoming projects, and all but shut down in general. However, a skeleton crew of 25 were retained to fulfill prior contractual obligations, namely a Netflix port of Minecraft: Story Mode. That team seems to have been disbanded according to one of its members on Twitter.
Telltale’s now ex-Narrative Designer Rachel Noel recently tweeted that she and the rest of the remaining development staff have been laid off as well.
“Heeeeyyyy remember how there was going to be a skeleton crew staying on for a while and I was part of it? Nah, jk, we all just got laid off, too.”
There’s currently no word on if the crew completed its work prior to being let go. Telltale has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
Telltale fired its staffers on September 21st without notice, severance pay, and roughly a week of remaining healthcare (which has since expired). This was the culmination of a rocky year for the company. Telltale co-founder and CEO Kevin Bruner was ousted from the company amid controversy in March 2017. He sued the studio this past June in a case that’s still very much ongoing. Bruner’s replacement, former Zynga executive Pete Hawley, took over last September and laid off 25% of the workforce. Reports of toxic mismanagement and insane working hours surfaced in the following months, creating a PR nightmare.
It’s been reported that consistently low sales combined with the failure to secure investment deals with AMC and Smilegate ultimately did the company in. The studio’s final project, The Walking Dead: The Final Season, was first thought to remain unfinished after Episode 2 of the 4-part series launched mere days after the mass layoffs. However, Telltale announced they were seeking a business partner to help finish the season.
All in all, this serves as the latest chapter in one of the saddest, most frustrating, and most bizarre stories of the year. We’ll keep you updated as new developments surface. For more opinions on the matter, our own Adam Ward published a series of videos sharing his personal thoughts on the fiasco. Check them out here and here.