The episodic adventure game developer behind the video game adaptations of properties like The Walking Dead, Fables, and Guardians of the Galaxy has announced that they would be undergoing a massive restructuring. As part of that business shift, they let go of over 90 of their employees, roughly 25% of their workforce, effective immediately.
The chance was announced as part of an effort 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 a representative from Telltale. In case you're worried that this move might push back Telltale's ongoing episodic projects, don't be. As part of their statement, Telltale assured their fans that all previously announced games will not be affected.
This restructuring comes on the heels of a series of leadership shake-ups at the independent studio. In 2015, co-founder and CEO Dan Connors stepped down from his position citing that the studio's boom in growth had introduced new challenges. Fellow co-founder Kevin Bruner took Connors' place as CEO with Connors supporting the transition and remaining on Telltale's board of directors. Earlier this year, Bruner stepped down from the CEO position and handed operations of the studio over to Connors, while remaining on the board of directors. Telltale then brought on Pete Hawley, a former vice president at Zynga, to replace Bruner as CEO.
Pete Hawley offered a statement on the move that cut nearly 100 jobs from Telltale:
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. 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.
The studio plans to invest more resources into "more proven technologies that will fast-track innovation in its core products as it works with new partners to bring its games to new audiences." That extremely corporate sentence indicates that Telltale might finally be putting more development emphasis on the engine that runs its games, which has been criticized in the past for lagging behind its contemporaries. It could also indicate a shift in priorities for the game developer - maybe we will see a more action-oriented game from the studio in the near future? Perhaps the long-rumored original IP that they've been working on for years?
Here's hoping that all of the affected members of the Telltale team land on their feet.