Whatever few people left to work on Telltale Games’ “obligations to its board and partners” are reportedly let go, effectively closing out the studio.
The collapse of Telltale Games, once regarded as the pinnacle of modern graphic adventure games, has been as fast as it has been brutal to its employees. Close to 90% of its employees were laid off, most without severance, leading a skeleton crew of about 25 to work on the company’s “obligations to its board and partners” before likely closing once the job was done.
At least, that was the plan. According to a Telltale Games narrative designer, Rachel Noel, (Update) her team within the skeleton crew was just laid off earlier today, bringing whatever work the studio was producing to a close. Much like the majority of Telltale’s former employees, she says she did not receive severance pay for her work since the closure of the studio weeks back, nor through today.
Whatever happened to the company that led them to a state where they are hiring people to move across the country, only to fire them days later after relocating their families to the West Coast, is deplorable. The supposed failure to even fulfill the remaining contractual obligations Telltale Games needed with all 25 people left at the company is remarkable.
The fact that former employees are suing the company for alleged violations of state and federal laws does not paint a good picture of the mismanaged financial decisions made by higher-ups at the company. Even the idea of firing hundreds of employees and not providing them with proper pay is unthinkable for one of the biggest entertainment markets in the world.
The video game industry is decades overdue for the unionization of its workforce. Disasters like the one seen happening with Telltale Games in real time shows that if there are billions of dollars to be made by executives and owners, basic employment rights should be guaranteed by the workforce that produces their cash flow