On Friday, Telltale Games, developer and publisher of multiple episodic adventure games, announced a majority studio closure. Over 250 people have lost their jobs, their future games cancelled, including a sequel to their acclaimed Wolf Among Us and a game based on Netflix’s Stranger Things. On top of that, their current projects are in flux, namely the final season of The Walking Dead and a Netflix port of Minecraft: Story Mode.

While my status as a Telltale fan has been very well established, having made an effort to play all their games since The Walking Dead put them on the map, I can definitely say that their failure doesn’t come as a surprise.

For the longest time, the company has insisted on using the exact same ancient engine, the "Telltale Tool." From beginning to end, the "Telltale Tool" has struggled to run well on any machine I throw it at, struggling mightily to animate the more complicated fights that happen in the Borderlands and Batman properties, for example. The Batman game crashed on me during the clash shot of the climactic final battle, hilariously.

They were planning to switch to the Unity engine for The Wolf Among Us 2, but this was a move Telltale clearly should have made right as the generation started. If bigger companies like Square Enix aren’t willing to maintain their own engines anymore, using Unreal Engine 4 for games like Kingdom Hearts and Dragon Quest, Telltale sticking to their badly made guns seems like a bit of a faux pax. They also should have changed their tendency to rush games out the door with constant overtime well before they did.

Their games tend to be a series of dialogue trees broken up by quick-time-events, and the effects of the choices you can make are frequently negated by the demands of the formula. At some point Telltale needs to bring all its players onto the same track, as the medium of video games can’t allow for infinite divergences. This can, and probably did, wind up making it so that players just watch all the divergent choices on YouTube as opposed to paying the $5 for the episodes, since there’s very little gameplay to speak of outside of them.

But if we’re at the end of the line for Telltale as a company, it’s now time to rank their entire post-Walking Dead output from Worst to Best in my opinion. This leaves out the unfinished final season of The Walking Dead. Lastly, the first season of Minecraft is split into two arcs that might as well be two unique seasons. 

  • Minecraft Story Mode: Adventure Pass (Episodes 5-8)
  • Guardians of The Galaxy
  • Game of Thrones
  • Minecraft Story Mode: Season 2
  • The Walking Dead: Michonne
  • The Walking Dead: The New Frontier
  • Minecraft Story Mode: The Wither Storm (Episodes 1-4)
  • The Walking Dead: Season 2
  • Batman: The Enemy Within
  • Batman: The Telltale Series
  • The Wolf Among Us
  • The Walking Dead: Season 1
  • Tales from The Borderlands

Goodbye, Telltale Games. While you acted too late to change your fate, I will always remember that.

Logan Graham is a senior studying media arts with a focus in games and animation at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Let Logan know by emailing him at lg261813@ohio.edu.

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