Earlier this week, TellTale games, the company behind famous graphical choose-your-own-adventure games using famous IPs like The Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy, laid off 25% of its staff (90 employees). “Our industry has shifted in tremendous ways over the past few years,” Telltale Games CEO Pete Hawley wrote. “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.”
What’s interesting, however, is that many people in the industry have noted that the company is far from perfect, with issues ranging from having to work with an “ancient game engine” to corrupt or inept management.
While not an MMO company, TellTale has made its games more multiplayer with its Crowd Play feature, allowing groups of people to choose their own collective adventure. It’s felt like a streamlined version of what BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic does but with a single avatar. I’d personally been hoping that TellTale would find a way to expand its narratives and game worlds to be less about main characters than original characters with their own paths in known IPs. TellTale did this once with Minecraft, which, unlike most of their titles, had multiple potential avatars to choose from and some very small scale building.
A reduced staff probably doesn’t make expanding on these kinds of ideas any easier, and may even mean that TellTale is scaling down its ambitions to focus on small-scale, single-player experiences. Here’s a peek at part of a streaming series we did earlier this year to check out Crowd Play.