“No one knew what was happening; there was no warning. When we got the news, people cried, hugged, or stared blankly ahead. In the aftermath, people wondered what they would do without health insurance, what would happen with their work visas, what to tell their families. For me, it was a day of mind-numbing shock. The full weight of what had happened and what it meant going forward – not being in that office, not working with my team, not being on a project I’d spent over a year on – took weeks to sink in.”
That’s Mary Kenney, a video game writer who worked at Telltale before its closure earlier this year. Her retelling of the events of 21st September 2018 depicts a studio of people in mourning for their work, shocked at the situation that was pushed upon them and worried about their future. Telltale was dead and all of a sudden 250 people had lost their jobs.
It would later come to light that the abrupt departure of a major financial backer was the smoking gun. But what did the passionate creators within Telltale experience during its final year? What was the human cost of Telltale’s final act? To find out, I talked to several ex-Telltale employees, some of whom wished to remain anonymous in order to protect their careers, about their experience at Telltale, and the highs and lows of working there in its final months.