For 25 percent of the workforce at Telltale Games, today was a rough one. Effective immediately, 90 employees have been laid off, as reported by Gamesindustry.biz. The company has undergone a restructure in an attempt to “make the company more competitive as a developer and publisher of groundbreaking story-driven gaming experiences with an emphasis on high quality in the years ahead.” According to the developer, the layoffs will not affect any upcoming projects.
Telltale began its meteoric rise to prominence after the smash 2011 release of The Walking Dead, and since then has had license to tackle all manner of famous franchises with its tried and tested formula of episodic, story-driven gaming. Over the last six years, the studio’s projects have included Batman: The Telltale Series, Game of Thrones, Minecraft: Story Mode, and Guardians of the Galaxy, which released its final episode today.
Telltale CEO Pete Hawley stated in his announcement, “Our industry has shifted in tremendous ways over the past few years. The realities of the environment we face moving forward demand we evolve, as well, reorienting our organization with a focus on delivering fewer, better games with a smaller team.”
He also added, “I’d like to express our respect for all the contributions that these incredibly talented artists, storytellers and more have made to this company, and that this decision is in no way a reflection on the quality or dedication of their work. We have made available our full career assistance services to help our affected colleagues and friends – and their families – navigate this difficult transition as quickly as possible.”
No specific reason has been given for the layoffs, but that hasn’t stopped speculation. Gamesindustry theorized that the company had become “a little too large for its own good,” citing its massive workforce of 400 for a studio based on smaller, episodic games. Polygon noted the company’s shift in focus to “more proven technologies that will fast-track innovation in its core products,” wondering if this is a response to the constant performance issues found in nearly all Telltale games on release day.
Whatever the reason, 90 artists and developers are now jobless. Hopefully both the employees and Telltale will be better off for the change.