Telltale Games, the studio behind The Walking Dead video game, announced a massive layoff of nearly all of its employees last week, with multiple projects canceled and only Minecraft: Story Mode on track to be completed. It appeared that The Walking Dead: The Final Season would be a casualty of this decision, but Telltale has announced plans to move forward without the original development team.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the studio said it is talking with “multiple potential partners” that are interested in helping finish the remaining two episodes of The Walking Dead.
“While we can’t make any promises today, we are actively working toward a solution that will allow episodes 3 and 4 to be completed and released in some form,” the statement said.
Just how Telltale plans to salvage the remaining episodes after letting go of everyone that worked on the project remains to be seen. Multiple critics have taken issue with the decision to move forward with final episodes given the fact that employees who lot their jobs were not given severance pay. Among the critics is Cory Barlog, creative director at Santa Monica Studio, who’s best known for his involvement with The God of War series.
I would hope this means that you will first pay your entire team their severance, and then proceed to finish the final episodes. I would be fine waiting however long it took to ensure we first treated those who worked so hard with the humanity and respect they deserve.❤️
— Cory Barlog ???? ????️???? Should be writing! (@corybarlog) September 25, 2018
Narrative designer Emily Grace Buck elaborated on the situation, saying new employees were brought on as soon as one week ago and that many don’t qualify for unemployment as they were hired as contractors.
According to Variety, the sudden closure was the result of a last-minute decision by Lionsgate to pull funding. The two companies were reportedly working together on a “super show” that would blend elements of storytelling video games and live-action together.
“Sadly, everyone was so focused on doing what was required to keep the company going that when the last potential partner backed out, there were no other options.” explained Telltale co-founder Dan Connors.
If The Walking Dead: The Final Season were to be finished, it seems very unlikely that it would be ready by its original December release date. The studio was apparently forced to cancel other projects — fans of The Wolf Among Us likely won’t be getting a second season, and though Netflix said it still plans on moving forward with a Stranger Things game, it won’t be with the help of Telltale.