How Telltale Games Loses Top Developers Due To Toxic Management

Original author: Megan Farokhmanesh
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In 2012, actress Zoe Saldana, standing on a light-flooded stage, announced the game of the year according to the Spike Video Game Awards: The Walking Dead . This victory was a huge success for the relatively small Telltale Games development company. Her emotional outlook on the popular zombie franchise with a strong emphasis on the plot defeated such popular games as Dishonored and Mass Effect 3 , which hundreds of developers worked on and tens of millions of dollars were spent on.

Telltale Games team, including its co-founders Kevin Bruner and Dan Connors, as well as the author of The Walking DeadRobert Kirkman took the stage to receive the award. Kirkman received a large black figurine from Saldan and handed it to Connors and Bruner. Bruner, in turn, with his gestures drew attention to two other people on the stage - Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin, the project’s leading specialists and co-authors of the game, thanking them for creating the characters of the game. Not one of them was named by name or mentioned that they became the reason for the studio’s greatest creative success. Shortly before two women in brilliant costumes took everyone off the stage, Vanaman unexpectedly tore the figurine out of Bruner's hand and said: “We work with the most talented people on the planet.”

Then Telltale Studios employed less than 100 people - a fairly small team by the standards of modern studios, in which hundreds or even thousands of people can work. And in an industry in which the plot is often secondary to “interesting gameplay”, the victory won by Telltale approved the studio as a successful developer, who appreciates primarily the plot and character development. For several months, The Walking Dead continued to receive awards - this was a turning point and a crucial moment for the studio, which was experiencing financial problems just a year ago. The company began hiring staff at a tremendous speed and in just a few years tripled the number of employees. Soon, she attracted the attention of several major Hollywood franchises and created spinoff games such as Batman, Game of Thrones and Guardians of the Galaxy , which mainly focused on narrative and feelings, rather than on action or graphics.

But the studio's instant take-off did not last long. In November 2017, the company announced the dismissal of 90 developers, that is, about a quarter of the staff. For some Telltale employees, the news came as a shock. Others considered it an inevitable result - sources familiar with the company describe the years of its work as a culture that stimulates constant processing , toxic management and creative stagnation. (Before writing this article, The Vergetalked to more than a dozen current and former Telltale developers, many of whom demanded to remain anonymous due to fear of revenge for current or future employers.) Although some of the difficulties are specific to Telltale and its management, many of the developers' problems have been indicative of devastating and erroneous practices development specific to the video game industry as a whole.

These conditions almost always hit the most in one group: the developers, that is, those people who actually create games. Layoffs are an integral part of life, even successful studios often massively hire developers to catch deadlines and then fire them to save moneyafter the release or cancellation of the game. Before the next deadline, the cycle repeats again. Recycling, job instability, and severe burnout are common; more than three-quarters of developers report working under crunch conditions , which may mean, for example, working 20 hours a day and more than 100 hours a week . Such practices can cause serious damage to employees, but nevertheless seem to be an indispensable element of a video game development culture.

The story of Telltale - its heyday, decline and possible reformation - is not only the history of erroneous decisions of one studio. It's an amazing look at the $ 36 billion video game industry(Today it is so great that it competes with the film industry) and how the worst practices can harm and burn out even the most enthusiastic and valuable employees.

Telltale originated in the ashes of the adventure genre, which was once synonymous with PC games. In popular games like King's Quest , The Secret of Monkey Island , and Myst , the most important skill set was creativity, imagination, and puzzle solving. Adventure developers Sierra and LucasArts were kings of the late 1980s and early 1990s, but by the end of the 90s their popularity had declined - players began to prefer shooters and 3D games. Telltale Games founders Bruner, Connors and Troy Molander are former LucasArts employees, and by the time Telltale was created in 2004 and the once-popular LucasArts Sam & Max and Monkey Island series were reborn, adventure games were considered hopelessly dead."

To make this gameplay style popular again (and profitable), the co-founders decided to focus on improving interactive storytelling and deepening related roleplaying. Telltale raised more than six million venture capital in 2007. These investments were associated with inevitable limitations - the studio had to show the growth and success of a group of investors, not related directly to the studio.

As is the case with the film industry, licensed franchises were created a safer alternative yu own original intellectual property. Therefore, instead of investing resources in creating original worlds Telltale decided to turn to ready-made worlds and loving their fans bases. Namely to franchises like“Back to the Future” , “Jurassic Park” and, of course, “The Walking Dead” .

Jurassic Park: The Game critics called " mediocre " and " failure ." Released after it in 2011, The Walking Dead became the studio’s most amazing project: the perfect combination of the studio’s creative talent, a popular franchise and a story that took advantage of Telltale’s narrative power. Instead of the standard adventure game in which players roam the screens and solve puzzles, an important role in The Walking Deadplayed a relationship between the main character Lee and a little girl named Clementine, whom he saves from death and protects. The game was like a movie and stood out from Telltale's other work: high-quality script, excellent voice acting and high emotional tension. It made the players make difficult moral choices, with no simple decisions: two members of your small group of survivors are on the verge of death. You can save only one. Who will survive, and whom will you abandon? The further development of the plot depends on your choice.

Most sources inside the studio consider The Walking Dead to be the reason.Lead developers Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman. Vanaman wrote several episodic chapters of the game. Vanaman and Rodkin together became directors of the first chapter and together led the first season as a whole. Telltale’s financial problems had a positive side - because of the failure of Jurassic Park , the studio had too little time to slow down or cancel the development of The Walking Dead . The game had to go out and it gave the creative team Walking Deadthe ability to ignore or circumvent instructions from senior management with which they completely disagree. Rodkin and Vanaman created a reputation for personalities strong enough to contradict the founders of the company in making creative decisions. According to a source close to the project, they pushed the idea of ​​creating a game the way they liked it over and over again. “They won, and this resulted in tremendous success.”

After the release of the first episode of The Walking Dead in April 2012, the audience’s positive reaction surprised even some of the people involved in the development of the game. By January 2013, the game had sold over 8.5 million copies (or episodes), earning more than $ 40 million. In October 2013, the company said it had sold over 21 million different episodes on all platforms individually . Telltale began to grow, signed partnerships with Gearbox Software, HBO and Mojang, and evolved from a small studio to a mid-level company with several licensed franchises.

As a result, the culture within the company has changed significantly. Former employees describe Telltale in the early stages as a small, closely related group with a strong camaraderie. New employees rarely appeared in the company. Top management was less involved in everyday work, and developers had more freedom in realizing their vision. But the success of The Walking Deadled to the feverish growth of the company: in order to satisfy its growing ambitions and please investors, it turned into a company in which no one paid tribute to the contribution of veteran employees. “We have evolved from a small patchwork team to some gigantic studio of more than three hundred employees,” says Andrew Langley, a former Telltale programmer and designer who worked in the studio from 2008 to 2015. “When I walked around the office, I did not see a single familiar face.”

Our sources say that the company’s culture was never adapted properly, the transition from individuality to a more suitable one for such a large studio never happened. Secret knowledge was stronger than clearly documented processes, and lack of communication between employees led to confusion. “People rarely wrote down something in a wiki or confluence, and in any type of documentation,” says a former employee. “People moved from place to place so often that sometimes you could hear a version of the plot that was outdated for a week, and the person telling her knew nothing about it.”

In addition, of course, not without replacement of personnel. Instead of cherishing the studio’s most successful project, Vanaman and Rodkin quit and did not work on the second season. Their resonant dismissal, and even at the very peak of success, became a harbinger of the problems that Telltale met again and again in the course of its life. These problems constantly forced the best people to leave the company.

The more Telltale succeeded, the more projects she took at the same time. In 2013, she released episodes of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead: Season 2 . At the end of 2014, she released episodes of the obtained licenses of Game of Thrones and Borderlands , stretching for 2015, as well as a game on Minecraft . In 2017, she also took on Batman , Guardians of the Galaxy , as well as the new seasons of The Walking Dead and Minecraft .

To cope with all this load, the company began to transfer developers from project to project. The developers' work schedule was becoming increasingly aggressive, and management was looking for a solution in attracting more employees. This "solution" almost did not help to cope with the problem. One of Telltale's former developers put it this way: nine women will not be able to give birth to a baby in one month. “Instead of ensuring high quality, the principle“ Let's just do as many episodes as possible ”was taken as the basis,” says the source.

The main problem was time management. The release dates were often shifted after the games passed multiple and detailed tests, which gave a huge amount of feedback, but the developers did not have enough time to make all the changes. “The speed of the studio was both its most amazing property and the biggest problem,” says a former employee. “Management often asked teams to rewrite scripts, change designs and characters, modify the animation until the very last moment, without editing the schedule accordingly. With each successful release, production requirements all grew, and at some point we could no longer give anything from above. ”

The Crunch Culture is well-documented and an integral part of the game.industry . Telltale was no exception. Some of the former employees claimed that they had to work shifts of 14-18 hours daily for weeks. But most software companies are transitioning to "crunch mode" in the last months before the release of the game, and at Telltale they were constant. Due to the episodic structure of Telltale games, the development cycle resembled a constantly spinning wheel. After finishing work on one episode, the team proceeded to the next one, again, and again, and again. “The deadlines were constantly on,” says one source with direct knowledge of the company. "Never managed to take a break." This statement was confirmed by four different people from different Telltale departments.

Although the pressure necessary for achieving financial goals and stringent requirements and the late requests of large franchise owners was acceptable to many employees, the rapid pace of development led to a serious burnout of many others. Over time, e-mails from management, encouraging staff to actively work on particularly complex tasks, began to seem redundant. “They were exactly the same as last month, and the month before last, too,” says the same source, describing the reaction to the letters. "And in the previous months, too ... It was tiring."

Telltale paid for unlimited hours of work, but as is often the case when people are asked to determine their capabilities themselves, some were less willing to take a vacation. Sources say that at Telltale, vacation was perceived as a desire to shift its work to other team members, and therefore, despite the fact that crunch was never considered “mandatory” in the office, they often felt that way.

The developers, who were given a six-day work schedule that lasted for months, felt that they had two choices: quit or put up with it. “Those who were most involved in the work suffered the most,” says the former employee. “People who were proud of the product more than anyone else drove themselves harder. And it was not worth it to drive such people, because they were the most valuable employees of the company. ”

Six to seven sources in the company also mentioned an entrenched culture of low pay. They reported their salaries below industry standards, which however required living in the infamous San Francisco Bay area. The problems of crunches and underpayments were almost constant in the cinematography department, which was mainly attended by juniors who came to the studio right from college.

“We had a lot of people who came straight from school, thinking,“ I want to test myself and contribute, ”says a source who is closely acquainted with the company. “It broke my heart how all these new team members, optimistic and inspired by Telltale’s work, were exploited and exploited because they couldn’t draw a line in the sand and say,“ This is my limit. ” They either drove themselves to death and fell ill, or became burnt out cynics. "

In addition, the cinematography department took on the main burden of visually constructing Telltale invented worlds, especially when production schedules were created without taking into account the time required to make changes after changing the narrative. For example, the scene plot can be rewritten in a few hours or days, but transferring changes to the schedule is a much more time-consuming process. One of the people familiar with Telltale's inner work compared this to building rails in front of a full-speed train.

Some managers tried to reduce stress from crunches by ordering food or alcohol for process workers. Sources say there have been attempts to make the process as comfortable as possible. “They put a bandage on a perennial wound,” the source said. “The managers were just trying to do their job right, but no one thought for the long term and said“ this is unbearable ”.”

In addition to Vanamen and Rodkin, who are often called the studio’s two most serious losses, resources in the company decreased due to other layoffs, including Adam Hines, Chuck Jordan, Dave Grossman and Mike Stammle. In early 2017, simultaneously left the studiodevelopment veterans Dennis Lenart, Pierre Choret, Nick Herman and Adam Sarason, who then moved to Ubisoft. This four worked on some of the studio’s most successful games. Their absence created a vacuum in the management of the creative process. “These people, who were the bearers of Telltale creativity fire, have left, so who else are left with us?” Said one of the sources.

Quietly left the studio and many others. “They were very good, hardworking employees who did not catch stars from the sky, but who did their job well,” says a source who knows the company directly. “With the departure of each of them, my heart broke. It was sad to see how very talented, controversial, aggressive people had great success at Telltale, while quiet, creative employees slowly left her. ”

Several sources said that the source of one of the studio’s most problematic speakers was one person: its co-founder Kevin Bruner.

Before Telltale, Bruner worked primarily as a programmer, including at LucasArts. But at Telltale, he had to take on many responsibilities: first the chief technical officer, then the director and general manager. According to many current and past employees, Bruner's behavior after the success of The Walking Deadbecame controversial and inflexible. Thanks to his programming experience, he could actively help create game development tools for Telltale. After the explosion of the studio’s popularity, some employees felt that he wanted to take on the role of design author, because of which, according to sources, he began to interfere with the fame of other company employees.

“It was then that things got really bad,” says a former employee. “I think the feeling of insecurity came about because of The Walking Dead .” The success of the game greatly elevated Rodkin and Vanaman and gave them widespread popularity. “I think that was what really annoyed Bruner. He felt that fame should have been given to him. It was his project and his company. He should have received all the recognition, ”says the source.

Some argue that Bruner's behavior led to the final departure of Rodkin and Vanaman after the widespread success of the first season of The Walking Dead . “They are tired of arguing with Bruner,” says a source who knows directly. They chose indie development and founded their own studio Campo Santo, in which they released the most popular game Firewatch . One source claims that the success of Campo Santo, along with Night School Studios and its supernatural thriller Oxenfree , co-authored by former Telltale veteran Adam Hines, have become Bruner’s catalysts.

“He really didn’t want someone to be given credit for his creative vision,” says one source. “He believed that the person would immediately leave and become a competitor to the studio, because before his eyes there were already two examples of people who did just that.” If Bruner's behavior was aimed at eliminating future competitors, it led to the departure of even more people. Those who remained in the leading positions of the project often felt that they were not trusted to carry out their work and pushed them aside so that Bruner fell into the rays of spotlights. “There were dark times when if you managed a project, you could not give any interviews,” one source said. “Only Bruner must be in sight. Only he is involved in all interviews. Only he is mentioned in journal articles. ”

Bruner objects to these allegations. In a letter to the editors of The Verge, he wrote that he strove to ensure that none of the episodes seemed to be the brainchild of someone alone, because a lot of joint work was invested in each project. “All Telltale projects were truly team work and I thought it was important that they were perceived that way,” he says. “The development of any game is an incredibly complex enterprise, and many people are working on its implementation. This is especially true for our series of five episodes with five branches of development (script, design, graphics, code, etc.). ”

Former employees and sources close to Telltale's internal work describe Bruner as a bottleneck in the company's work. He was constantly involved in micromanagement of every part of the development process, from sketch to finished product, sometimes reaching the point that he independently rewrote the text of the tutorial. “He wanted to be consulted on all issues, from the color of the walls to hiring staff and writing a specific dialogue,” says the former employee.

Bruner became Telltale's CEO in 2015 instead of Connors, whom former employees describe as a much less intrusive person. Many employees describe Bruner as cultivating a culture of fear. The company constantly jokingly compared Bruner's attention to the Eye of Sauron. “Sooner or later, the Eye of Sauron will turn on you and this stream of light will burn everything and turn it into hell, over which you will no longer have control,” says the former employee. “Very often at Telltale I felt unnecessary.”

According to half a dozen sources, meetings with top executives such as Bruner became infamous in the company as fierce disputes lasting many hours, in which Bruner downplayed and questioned the decisions of the studio's project participants. “When Bruner saw something and considered it wrong - and very often what he required was right - it was undeserved and greatly complicated the work of employees,” the source said.

Former Telltale programmer Talley Rafferty, who had been working for the company since November 2008 before dismissal, agrees that criticism was often destructive. “There were no warnings. We came to the planning meeting with the authorities, and it dumped a huge pile of manure on us. This was our feedback: “We hate you for what you did.”

“I remember how one of the bosses said:“ I like that we can just scream and curse each other on gliders. It’s just great, ”says a former employee. “But it didn’t seem so to me. It was disgusting. I don’t want to go to work every day, where I have to yell at people so that my voice can be heard. I think many have burned out because of this. "

Bruner defends planning meetings as a necessary part of the studio’s workflow and protests how his former employees characterized him. “I don’t think that someone was purposefully bullied or humiliated. Due to the episodic nature of our games, decisions have to be made quickly in order to create the highest quality content. ”

But numerous sources claim that they often felt that they were making not the best games, but those that Bruner personally liked. “Often it seemed that we make games only for him,” one source with direct knowledge of the workflow states. “We customized the created content, not only the gameplay mechanics, but also the tone, and the types of characters that were chosen, to his taste. This was one of his most serious problems as a CEO: he was fully convinced that his taste was a common taste. ”

Bruner denies the idea that Telltale games reflected only his whims. “Taste is a difficult question, and I'm sure the games reflected the tastes of many different people from the studio,” he says. “Our gameplay style has become very powerful, but at the same time limiting, not everyone felt comfortable in the face of these limitations.” Bruner said that the studio’s decision to create an easily recognizable style was intentional, it was a way to rise to the “world level” of interactive storytelling. Adapting to the model invented by The Walking Dead meant that “people can expect games with the Telltale Series logo to have a certain style and gameplay,” says Bruner. "And I'm very proud of it."

Despite all its shortcomings, Bruner, according to former employees, had a good influence on the studio. He is often described as an intelligent person with an excellent understanding of programming. Besides the fact that he created the first Telltale development tool, he had the ability to determine moments in game projects when players lost the feeling of impact on the game process. One of Telltale’s most recognizable game mechanics, telling players that the character will “remember this,” was invented by him.

“Very often, his inner instincts turned out to be correct,” says a former employee. “But the way this flair was presented to employees was extremely toxic.” Other employees point out that despite the difficulty of working with him, Telltale has released some great projects. “He did not close them. He complicated the work of some teams, and I think that if you look at the results obtained by the studio, you can say that it is his merit. "

However, inside the company, among the employees, irritation and indignation caused by creative stagnation accumulated. “How many times can you use the moment when a player has to shoot a child so that he remains touching and disturbing?”, A source familiar with Telltale's workflow wonders. Many thought The Walking Deadbecame a hit because it destroyed the model that existed at that time and did something new; the creative forces inside the studio wanted to make such a coup again. But, according to them, the leaders of the company were not so risk averse and opposed the experiments.

Although the developers tried to introduce new, more adventurous mechanics into the games, including reinventing quick-time events, their work never came to light. Despite the incompleteness of the prototype they presented, the developers still believed that they should create what can be released so that their ideas get approval. “If the work looked dubious, unfinished or unfinished, then Bruner told her“ no, ”says one of the sources who knew the studio’s internal work well. "He lacked vision, he could not consider the prospects of new mechanics."

When asked about why employees might feel that they were not trusted with their work, the source replied that Bruner demanded “to accept ideas that came from outside or from new employees. I think it’s important to be open to new ideas and that great ideas can come from anywhere. ”

However, according to about half a dozen sources familiar with Telltale, the problem with most employees was not new ideas, but their absence. The Walking Dead opened Telltale a new territory, in terms of both art and finance. Unfortunately, she also chained the development of the company to an invariable idea: to the fact that the only thing worth developing is the template The Walking Dead .

Former developers say that in the process of expanding the company, they had to pay for growth with creativity and originality, which primarily inspired its success. “They just wanted to warm their asses,” says one former employee. “The guys at the very top didn't understand what made Walking Dead so popular . They were given a recipe book and they simply repeated this recipe, not understanding the reason for the deliciousness of the dish. ”

After the walking deadeach Telltale game resembled the rest: an episodic adventure game, the plot of which unfolds in successive episodes, and players make difficult choices that have emotional consequences. This became the Telltale creative cliche, in which, according to former employees, each new game to one degree or another tried to recreate the spark of The Walking Dead . “Each game was pulled up to this standard, regardless of the realism of this goal,” says one source.

All the sources The Verge talked to praised Telltale as a studio with many of the most talented and creative developers they had to work with. Many of them left because of the stress and tiredness of the company's unwillingness to innovate, because of burnout from the constant cycle of crunches and Bruner's custom to demotivate people, change goals according to their whims, his tendency to limit the fame of others and make them feel that the company does not trust them. However, Telltale began to change, albeit rather slowly, and in some cases even painfully.

The Bruner’s working hours at Telltale came to an end in March 2017 when employees saw him leave the Telltale offices with his backpack. He left most of his belongings in his office; Soon after, the company received a letter from him informing him that he was resigning from the post of CEO and returning it to Connors. Despite widespread rumors about Bruner's departure, many were shocked when it came to that. Others were more surprised by how quietly Bruner chose to leave.

“I suppose he saw where everything was going,” says a source directly linked to the company. “We needed to destroy Telltale's formula, do something else, surprise and amaze people many years ago. This was clear from online comments under articles about us. This was clear from the ratings of critics. This was understandable in terms of sales. This was understandable by game ratings. This was visible to everyone, not just the people at Telltale. ”

When we asked Bruner about his dismissal, he said that it was time to explore new directions. “Telltale's board of directors has taken the path that, in my opinion, someone else would do better,” Bruner said. “Of course, I personally spoke with senior staff, producers, directors, and long-standing employees before announcing my retirement to all employees.”

After Bruner's departure, the pressure decreased. Changes in the last minutes began to appear less often, crunches were experienced easier. People in the studio began to feel that they had more creative freedom, as well as power over their projects.

For many, this has become a joyful change. “I didn’t realize how much we used to restrain ourselves and weaned how to think big,” - says the source. "As far as we have learned to customize even the initial sketches for it ... In fact, we were trained not to raise our heads, the realization of this and that everything was starting to change freed us." And everything continues to change.

By September 2017, Telltale had named the new CEO: former senior vice president of Zynga, Pete Hawley. His appointment caused a significant amount of concern. “Zynga is something like Uber in the world of video games,” says Rafferty. "We were immediately alert." During the work of Hawley, Zynga created a big wave of layoffs, and when he conducted a series of questions and answers with Telltale employees, one of the first questions was whether layoffs were coming for Telltale. Hawley’s response, which one source called “HR excuse,” did not diminish fears.

On November 7, less than a month after hiring Hawley, Telltale fired 25 percent of the staff. At about 10 in the morning, about 90 people received letters about the need to participate in a mandatory meeting. After they arrived, they learned that they no longer have work, after which they redirected them to another meeting, where bonuses from the company were discussed. “To use a cliche, it was like the Walking Dead ,” says Rafferty. “People hugged each other, some cried. It was a disaster. ” The layoffs affected both newcomers and veterans from all departments of the company.

In all senses, layoffs were organized as professionally and carefully as possible. Salaries were paid until the end of the year, and Telltale planned to hold a job fair for them, where they could meet and talk with recruiters. The security service did not throw out people or take them out of the building ; they were given time to pack their things and say goodbye. The remaining employees were given a day off until the end of the working day so that they could spend time with their leaving colleagues; they gathered at a pub in a suburb of San Rafael.

Many say they do not blame Hawley for these layoffs, but see in them the results of many years of dubious business decisions. “Telltale’s current status as a company was inevitable,” says Rafferty. “She was obliged not to expand so aggressively. I think that the new leader came and saw this, and decided that something needs to be done with this. I absolutely do not blame him for what had to be done for the company to work. ”

At least two sources said that this was an inevitable step for the company, continuing to bake the same games again and again. “I’ve been wondering all the time when the audience gets tired of the games we’re releasing,” says a former employee. "And it was surprising that this did not happen before."

Another source said professionally-laid-offs coupled with Hawley's freer approach to development were signals that the company had entered a new, brighter era. “We wanted to help the company rethink itself and find its new niche, because it certainly does not consist in creating template games that we did before,” the source said.

Telltale's mistakes - from the hopes of one monolithic vision to the inability to save their best talents from the cruel incessant crunch - can be a warning to the entire gaming industry as a whole, in which lengthy processing, job instability and unprofessional behavior are all too common. Now that Telltale has begun to move on, she has a new plan: fewer games that hopefully will be better; fewer employees, but more respect for them; and greater support for creative innovation. “Telltale has no secret ingredient,” says a former employee. “Good Telltale games are good thanks to talented and passionate people.”

Although the people inside Telltale are still saddened by the loss of many of their colleagues, many say that for the first time in a long time they are more optimistic about the future of the development company. “We now have much more freedom for experimentation than ever before,” says one employee. “The difference between a company a year ago and today is like day and night. Now I’m coming to a planning meeting with senior management, knowing that I will get useful feedback, and I won’t guess who will manage the project tomorrow. ”

The company will continue to work on previously announced projects, including new seasons of popular franchises like Game of Thrones and The Wolf Among Us . One source told The Vergethat dismissal did not affect these production plans.

One of these projects is The Walking Dead: The Final Season , scheduled for the summer of 2018. Six years after the release of the first episode, the fourth season of the game, which determined the best and worst sides of the studio, will mark the end of an era, and possibly the beginning of a new one. Telltale stubbornly declined to be interviewed for this article. The responsible person mentioned in the letter the following: “We want to show the fans what the future of Telltale will look like, and not to talk about it, so we are not ready for this yet.”

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