Licensed video game developer Telltale Games has been brought back from the dead less than a year after it was forced to close.
A group of investors headed by Jamie Ottilie and Brian Waddle, two men who have experience in licensed mobile games and software but did not previously work at the company, have acquired the Telltale Games name and are planning a revival.
The pair have also secured a handful of licenses the studio previously worked with, including Warner Bros. properties Batman and The Wolf Among Us – an adaptation of the Fable comic book.
Telltale Games was best known for its narrative-driven licensed video games, finding critical and commercial success with the Walking Dead series, successfully translating the world of Game of Thrones into an interactive tale of subterfuge, and tackling some of the world’s biggest pop-culture IP including Batman, Minecraft and Guardians of the Galaxy.
But in 2018, studio heads realised they had taken on more licenses than they could handle. The studio was reduced to a skeleton crew of just 25 employees from a peak 400-srong team, before it eventually crumbled.
Ottilie and Waddle hope to continue the Telltale Games legacy with new licensed entries and games based on the studio’s own IP.
“Even now, when you see a game with strong narrative, it’s always compared to Telltale, so it’s no surprise that players and industry colleagues alike mourned the studio’s closure,” says Jamie Ottilie. “We believe there is still so much life to the brand and its franchises, and we look forward to building upon the company’s storytelling legacy.”
But “It definitely won’t be the Telltale that was there before the closure,” former Telltale developer Ryan Benno told IGN.
Telltale Games was also responsible for effectively pioneering the episodic game release model, which mirrored serialised TV at a time when Breaking Bad and Mad Men were redefining small-screen prestige drama. Instead of one dozen-or-so hour adventure, the games were released in two-hour chunks that carried their own internal narrative but tied into the overarching story.
Telltale’s former management are still battling legal action levelled against them for breach of California labour laws for failing to give enough notice before terminating employee contracts.