Last Friday, American video game developer Telltale Games announced they had gone bankrupt and were closing down. They immediately fired 250 of their employees, leaving just a skeleton crew of 25.
The small number of employees left were said to be there in order to finish the Minecraft: Story Mode interactive media project for Netflix.
Then they too will be fired.
On Monday, however, Telltale Games was back in the news after having tweeted they may have a way to finish the not-yet completed episodic game The Walking Dead: The Final Season, Episodes 3 and 4:
“Hi everyone, we have a Walking Dead update for you. Multiple potential partners have stepped forward to express interest in helping to see The Final Season through to completion. While we can’t make any promises today, we are actively working towards a solution that will allow episodes 3 and 4 to be completed and released in some form. In the meantime, episode 2 will release tomorrow across all platforms as planned. We hope to have answers for your other questions soon.”
So will Telltale be finishing The Walking Dead: The Final Season?
Not very likely.
In fact, here are just a few reasons why Telltale Games will not finish The Walking Dead: The Final Season.
The Walking Dead employees have been fired
Remember, the people who have been working on The Walking Dead for the last few years were fired last Friday. That news was released by several former Telltale staff, who announced on social media the only people left on staff were the ones working on Minecraft: Story Mode.
From various other social media posts from Telltale employees that were fired, many of them are angry at how terribly the company has treated them.
Especially as some of them have not been paid the money they were owed, and none will be given any severance pay. Nor are they eligible for unemployment as they were contract workers.
So, do you honestly think any of them are going to return if Telltale suddenly announces development of the final two episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Season will continue?
Or do you think any other game developer in their right mind is going to take a very short-term new temporary job with Telltale just so The Walking Dead: The Final Season can be finished?
Especially with how poorly Telltale treated their staff when they did fire them?
The tweet is promoting the release of Episode 2
Of course, if you are of as suspicious of a nature as I am (and aren’t most of us?), you only have to re-read yesterday’s tweet from Telltale to guess at what that that was all about.
Especially the bit where they say — “While we can’t make any promises today, we are actively working towards a solution that will allow episodes 3 and 4 to be completed and released in some form. In the meantime, episode 2 will release tomorrow across all platforms as planned”.
Because it seems pretty obvious that tweet was more about still selling The Walking Dead: The Final Season, Episode 2 than it was making any solid plans to release Episodes 3 and 4.
After all, there are still gamers out there that will not have heard Telltale has closed down. People who may still buy The Walking Dead: The Final Season and put more money into the pockets of Telltale’s abysmally awful managers.
Managers who have been accused of ‘toxic management’ long before Telltale finally went under.
As none of the platforms still selling The Walking Dead: The Final Season are even mentioning on the game’s sale page that the company has gone out of business, it seems obvious Telltale and the game’s distribution platforms (GOG, what the hell is wrong with you?) are still trying to make as much money as possible.
And doing so by continuing to sell four episodes of a game that only has two episodes released, and with the last two never likely to see the light of day.
Isn’t that potentially stealing from the people that still may buy the game if the last two episodes are not completed and released?
On top of that Telltale is still stringing the distribution platforms along by saying they “may” have funding to complete the game, so their game is not removed from the platforms’ inventories.
Interestingly too, the vast majority of gamers responding to Telltale’s tweet are telling them “pay your goddamn workers before you worry about finishing the game”.
Gotta say, I agree.
Mismanagement at Telltale could not be worse
Think too how terrible the people running Telltale are at running a business.
Not only did they reportedly overwork their staff, the people that actually made their award-winning games, and treat them like many pieces of garbage, they also seem to be completely inept when it comes to running a business.
After all, with just a staff of 100 in late 2012, they more than trebled their workforce in just the next three or four years. Only to fire 90 of them at the end of 2017.
Nine months later, they have now laid off most of the rest of them as they go about closing the company down.
On top of that, Telltale management seemed to become so obsessed with grabbing up the licenses of just about any movie or TV property that could be turned into a game, they paid out millions of dollars in licensing fees for the rights to games they were never going to be able to make.
Not unless they started turning a serious profit, and hired a few hundred more people.
Do you really think any serious investor is going to give money to people like that?
Investors do not invest in bankrupt companies
Finally, we come to the truth that legitimate investors do not invest in bankrupt companies. Not just so they can finish two parts of a final game anyway. Particularly as there would not likely be any money in it for any investor that would.
Sure, an investor may come in and buy out Telltale Games and their licenses, so that games can continue to be made. With Telltales’ poor record, however, and with the type of games they make just not selling as well as they used to, that is not likely to happen either.
In other words, take Telltales’ message about “multiple potential partners” with a grain of salt. Because you would have to want to kiss your money goodbye to want to invest it in a developer like Telltale.
Meanwhile, if you did like Telltale Games’ episodic games, watch this excellent walkthrough of the second and what is likely to be the final episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season.
A pity the game will probably never be finished but, if I was a betting person, I would absolutely bet on that.