In a story originally reported by Kotaku, some new details about the future development of the last two episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Chapter have been leaked. According to some anonymous sources, the last two episodes will be completed by another company using former Telltale employees, and the third episode is almost complete.
Back in September, Telltale made sudden and massive layoffs that left about 250 employees without jobs or severance pay. It later reassured people via Twitter that Episode 2 would be released and they were working on the last two episodes. This led to some questioning Telltale’s decision to outsource the game when they had laid off the vast majority of their staff.
However, it turns out the deal is more nuanced than we thought. According to two anonymous people with inside knowledge, the deal involves Telltale handing off the last two episodes to another company, which would contractually hire former Telltale staff. The company will be the one to receive the paychecks, and it won’t be a case of Telltale receiving funds to spend on development.
The two people also said that Episode 3 is actually very close to completion. It’s supposedly scheduled for a ratings review, where the game is sent to the ESRB for an official rating on its content. That step generally happens prior to being sent for platform certification. The only thing the game needs is a few weeks of polish.
Meanwhile, Episode 4 is also in development. The first round of voice acting is already complete and one of the former designers told Kotaku that “The script was strong and the whole team was excited about how we were finishing out Clem’s story.”
Who will be working on the last two episodes, though? A former developer told Kotaku that the ideal scenario would be everyone coming back, but it could also be as few as necessary to complete the game. Of course, the longer negotiations go, the less likely ex-employees will be able to go back. They didn’t get any severance pay, so they can’t wait around and hope for their old employer to contact them.