Although Telltale Games’ closure is now a few months behind us, the wounds of the studio’s downfall are still fresh for those affected by it. In fact, many members of the Telltale dev team are sharing stories of what went wrong, how the signs were made clear that Telltale was struggling, and the true stories behind the development of games like The Wolf Among Us 2.
Eurogamer talked to several members of Telltale’s team, some of who preferred anonymity, to get more details about the studio’s struggles. During those talks, one former Telltale developer revealed that most figured that The Wolf Among Us 2 wouldn’t actually release, even after the studio officially announced the project to the public.
According to the anonymous developer, The Wolf Among Us 2 was given a “shoestring” budget and was only going to be three episodes. At the time of Telltale’s closure, the sequel was still very early on in development, with the first episode’s script near completion and a handful of elements in early phases of production. As far as the story was concerned, Wolf 2 apparently would have been a new adventure for Bigby Wolf and Snow White, rather than a true sequel. But even then, developers doubted that it would ever release, given how the prior game was not commercially successful.
“Even when the marketing team recorded the Wolf 2 announcement trailer, many people within the studio doubted it would ever see the light of day.”
Other details from the tell-all include the fact that marketing dictated a lot of the projects that the studio took on, while the developers were forced to hear declining sales numbers. Baffling decisions like keeping The Walking Dead going led some Telltale members to focus more on their work, rather than consider that the studio was in trouble.
Working conditions were equally troublesome at Telltale, who was no stranger to the type of crunch culture that has plagued this industry for some time. One source emphasized the pressure of success on Batman: The Telltale Series Season 2 and the fourth season of The Walking Dead turning some writers and designers into “monsters.”
At some point, a full and clear picture of Telltale Games’ struggles will come to light, but for now, the stories are both fascinating and frustrating. To hear passionate developers describe the environment as “troublesome” or to say that they kept their head down while poor decisions were made at almost every turn proves that the devs knew things were going south well before the public did.