Fresh off agreeing to help finish season four of The Walking Dead, Skybound talks some smack* about Telltale. Of interest:
“We are doing our best to take care of the people,” he said. “Our intent is to work with the original team but there are a lot of moving parts. I don’t want to get into the specifics around the deal itself, but I will say this: We are doing everything we can to do right by the people making the game. There’s not a huge upside for the corporate entity of Telltale Games.
Telltale previously stated that they were looking towards multiple partners to hire the staff of The Walking Dead Season Four so that they could finish the season properly. So, it looks like there's a (tiny) bit of good news for at least some the staff members that were let go from Telltale without warning last month.
If you want to read more dirt on Telltale’s abrupt closure, look no further than this article from The Verge. There isn’t a whole lot of new information in there, but it serves as a good summation of the time leading up to the closure.
Worth noting is the confirmation of what a lot of us suspected: The Walking Dead-fatigue is indeed a thing, and good as season four could have been -- or will be, as TTG, the classy joint it is, is shopping around for another company to finish up the remaining episodes -- the games just weren’t selling. Couple that with two investors that weren’t as ready to put money up as the company thought they were, and here we are.
01 Oct, 2018, 00:55 | Posted by: Jennifer
A lot of questions have come up regarding Telltale. I thought about putting this as an update to Jason's PSA, but I thought it deserved its own post. Here are the answers to the main questions I've heard in the comments here and at the Telltale forums. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them in the comments, and I'll try my best to answer them.
Telltale's older games, up to The Walking Dead Season One, have had their DRM removed at the Telltale website prior to their closing, so they no longer have to go through Telltale server authentication to play.
If you purchased the game from the Telltale Store, the newer titles, from 2013 to 2018 (excepting 400 Days as that's considered part of The Walking Dead Season One) - The Wolf Among Us to The Walking Dead: The Final Season episode 2 - need to authenticate with Telltale's servers before playing. The server is still active, although it's unknown how long that will continue to be the case.
Telltale server authentication is not required if the game was purchased from other outlets such as Steam, GOG.com, or Humble Bundle, or if you own the retail discs. These will of course still have some DRM depending on the outlet (such as Steam's server authentication).
Telltale's season pass discs included one or more episodes, with the rest needing to be downloaded. The season pass disc is your authentication. However, it's unknown how long the Telltale website will remain online, so it's recommended to download the remaining episodes as soon as possible.
All of the Telltale developed games (and Hector: Badge of Carnage) can be re-downloaded from the Telltale website at the moment if you had already purchased them (except for Poker Night 2 since they never sold that at their store). This includes titles removed from sale at digital outlets, such as Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures and Law & Order Legacies.
Prior to their closing, I worked with the web team to get the old games available again by supplying my retail cover art for the missing games, unfortunately, they said they couldn't put up the old third-party games they used to sell (Kings Quest collection, Monkey Island special editions, etc.) because they couldn't remove the DRM. Unfortunately, if you purchased a third-party game at the Telltale Store (other than Hector: Badge of Carnage), they can no longer be redownloaded.
Telltale's games will remain downloadable at other digital outlets such as Steam, GOG.com, etc., even if the games are removed from sale at some point.
The older games (Telltale Texas Hold'em, Sam & Max: Season One and Two, etc.) crash when running in Windows 10. These games can be played by removing the 'prefs.prop' file, although you may be restricted to playing in a window. Sadly, this applies to games purchased at any outlet, including the retail discs.
If you have a certificate error, this workaround might help (thanks to Jones Jr. for the solution). Update: I was informed by Telltale alum TheSeg that these are Symantec Legacy certificates. These are not allowed in the latest Chrome betas. Using the stable branches of browsers should work, but of course, this will only work as long as the stable branch isn't caught up with the beta branch.
The Telltale support staff is gone now, so you'll get an automated message informing you of this fact if you try to contact them. During my tenure as a moderator at the Telltale forums, I talked extensively with the support staff and the web team on workarounds for a lot of problems. These staff members are gone now, so I don't have direct contact with staff anymore, but I'll try my best to answer any question you may have if you leave a message in the comment section of this post.
Friendly reminder: Given the studio's uncertain future, you may want to re-download your past Telltale orders while their servers still hum. Simply head over to https://telltale.com/account/games, log in to your old account, and archive your collection.
The word on the street is that Telltale had recently updated their older titles to be DRM-free. I'm hearing that this is true for all their games from Telltale Texas Hold'em through The Walking Dead: Season 1. While I can't personally vouch for whether this is true in the case of every one of those titles, it certainly has been true for all the oldies I've tried so far. (By the way, turns out Sam & Max: Season 1 is still pretty great.)
Obviously, this only applies if you purchased your games directly through Telltale rather than some other outlet. (And if that outlet was GameTap, you're probably too embarrassed to admit it.) So if you're not one of those poor dopes, get those installers now and worry about when you're going to use them later.
Since Telltale ate its gun last Friday, social media has seen a lot of heartfelt reminiscing from the quasi-late studio’s ex-employees and collaborators, among them Jake, Bay Area Sound, and voice actress Melissa Hutchison. Today, via Facebook, Steve Purcell has added his voice to the eulogy with the following statement:
I honestly don’t know what to make of the circumstances surrounding the massive Telltale Games layoffs. I’d just like to offer a sincere thanks to all the creative people who contributed to the smart development, marketing and distribution of the Sam & Max series of games, shorts, store items and the Telltale edition of the comics that were all carefully crafted over several years. I always felt that Sam & Max were in caring hands during their ongoing run at Telltale and I’m proud of the products that went out into the world bearing their name. Thank you.
It’s hard to disagree with his view -- Telltale did right by Sam & Max. And while it would have been nice to have seen more games starring them since 2010 (cripes, has it been that long?), there’s no denying that under Telltale’s stewardship, we got a ton of great Sam & Max content following ten years of nada. That resurgence came not just in the form of the games, but in the Surfin’ the Highway and animated series re-releases, killer schwag and other assorted paraphernalia. Man, remember the old Telltale Store? The one that used to: sell stuff?
Speaking of which: Steve, if you're reading this, any chance of re-issuing that old Desoto T-shirt? My 2006 incarnation and I do not have shirt sizes in common.
Polygon brings word that -- shock, awe, and surprise -- former TTG employees aren't exactly happy about how layoffs went down at the company, and are ready to fight back.
Vernie Roberts has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of former TTG employees, which boils down to the company being legally required to notify its staff of mass-layoffs sixty days in advance. As opposed to sixty minutes, which I can only assume was TTG's understanding. Should the plaintiffs win, they are entitled to full backpay.
I think we can all agree they at least already have won in The Court of Mojo, which really is what counts for their souls, albeit not their wallets.
The good news is The Walking Dead’s last season will be completed; the bad news is that will be the end of it. Reliable sources have told Mojo Telltale is closing down, and that all other projects will remain unfinished. We will return with more.
Update: Apparently a team of 25 have been retained to finish up the now ironically named The Walking Dead, while the rest of the staff was laid off without severance. Classy, Telltale. What will happen with the company is uncertain. Shut 100% down? Be a clearing house for outsourced development in name only? Only yesterday, they announced they would publish Stranded Deep on October 9th, so who knows what’s going on there . . .
Update #2: Telltale has made it official, and thus Mojo has outlived LEC and TTG. Somebody keep an eye on Double Fine.
Update #3: The rumor train has it that Netflix canceled their deal with TTG, thus ending development of Stranger Things and whatever Minecraft: Story Mode would have looked like on the platform. Apparently that dried up TTG’s funds. #rumormonger
Update #4: Newest rumor has it Minecraft on Netflix is what the skeleton crew is finishing, which means the Walking Dead tetralogy will end with episode two of season four. I don’t even know anymore.
Actually, yes, there have been some quiet weeks here in the Mojoverse, so why don't we give you a quick update about what you really care about: The Walking Dead: The Final Season Until There's a New One. Specifically, the release dates for the remaining episodes:
"Suffer the Children" - September 25
"Broken Toys" - November 6
"Take Us Back" - December 18
Look forward to (a) Mojo review(s) should anyone actually play the game(s).
Yes, you can stop the self-cutting for the next fifteen minutes -- Telltale will do it for you with their new Xbox One and PS4 demo. In what surely will be a rollicking laugh riot . . .
Emotional, Gut-Wrenching Story - See Clementine's journey through to the end. As she builds a new life, you will have to grapple with new types of choices and live with the consequences as AJ looks on, learning from your every move.
. . . you will see the conclusion of the Clementine story on August 14th.
Ridding itself of any proof Kevin Bruner ever existed, Telltale is switching from the venerable Telltale Tool to the en vogue Unity. Hey, it’s only business. Apparently The Walking Dead: The Final Season will be the final game to use Telltale’s eponymous engine, while Stranger Things and The Wolf Among Us: Season 2 will be developed in Unity.
Pour one out for Telltale Tool, which the company has used since Telltale Texas Hold'em.
Kevin Bruner, the former TTG CEO is suing the company he once helped found. The suit apparently revolves around “seeking recovery of financial damages” and are also “meritless” and “an apparent means of extracting revenge on a company already under financial strain.” The latter two come from Telltale.
There are some more details in The Verge’s article, none particularly interesting unless you’re into this kind of stuff, but one can’t help but wonder how bad this “financial strain” is, what with the recently announced layoffs.
Mojo’s legal correspondent will, of course, be on the ground for the coming trial.
Netflix is setting itself up as a gaming platform of sorts. I'm a bit fuzzy on the details myself, but one of the launch titles will be Minecraft: Story Mode -- indubitably a Mojo reader favorite -- and it sounds . . . Well, I never played the original, but anything that's "delivered via video files and will accept commands via any remote equipped with directional and select buttons" seems suspiciously close to the Dragon's Lairs of yore. The game will be released later this year.
They've stated that the reason for the delay is because they are "committed to exploring new ways to tell our stories. Taking this extra time will allow [them] not only to focus on quality but also to experiment and iterate in order to craft something truly special".
If this means that the gameplay will be significantly different than the cut-and-paste style gameplay that's been in Telltale's games since The Walking Dead, then the delay is certainly most welcome.
He also created a homepage, as his alter-ego, Ted "Theodore" Dudebrough, co-star of Telltale's first game, which provided an amusing peek into the mind of his character, complete with all of the humorously bad page design decisions so common in personal pages of the early internet.
Also, Jake is named one of Telltale’s heroes, which pretty much means this article is a celebration of Mojo. As well as a damning slap in the face of Telltale’s leadership. Kevin Bruner does not come away from it unscathed.
Look, we don’t need to repeat ourselves -- we’ve talked about Telltale losing its way for a while now, enough times I won’t even bother linking to any of it. That the company bleeds talent is well-known. I don’t think anyone from Mojo is left, and if somebody from Mojo gets fed up by a company, you know things are bad. Conversely, Andrew "Telarium" Langley is quoted in the article.
The whole thing is worth a read, even though it glosses over some of the true Telltale classics. Many of us maintain Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse was the company’s pinnacle. I’m currently replaying Tales of Monkey Island as part of a soon to be released Mojo feature. It’s excellent. The game. Probably not the feature.
Oh, and if you wonder who came up with “[X] will remember that”, give Bruner a thank-you.