Telltale

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Telltale
Type Privately held company
Founded June 2004 (closed in 2018)
Headquarters San Raphael, California, US
Key people Kevin Bruner, founder
Dan Connors, founder
Troy Molander, founder
Industry Video games
Products Video games
Employees 250 (prior to 9/21/18)
25 (prior to studio closure)
Website http://www.telltale.com/

Telltale was a video game studio that was incorporated in San Raphael, California in June 2004. On September 22, 2018, after all of their investors ceased their investment in the company, Telltale laid off 250 of their employees. 25 employees stayed on to finish their contractual obligations to complete Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix. After that game was released on Novemher 27, 2018, those employees were laid off as well, and the studio was disbanded.

Formation

Telltale was founded by Kevin Bruner, Dan Connors, and Troy Molander, who had previously worked on Sam & Max: Freelance Police at LucasArts. Telltale was founded as a direct result of that game's cancellation on March 3, 2004. While at LucasArts, the Freelance Police team pitched the idea for cases of the game to be released episodically through digital media. They were told by the legal team that it wasn't a sustainable business model, so when the team formed their own company, they decided to try that business model for themselves.

Early titles

A number of the Freelance Police team joined Telltale upon its creation, and they began development on an in-house engine. This engine, the Telltale Tool, used the open-source LUA language for its scripts and was created to allow it to be updated to support additional platforms and graphics technologies, enabling it to be used in all of the games developed by the studio. Using the Telltale Tool, they began working on a game to test their engine, as well as the animation and storytelling which would be necessary when they began working on their own adventure games. This game was a poker game, which the team soon realized could be sold on its own, so they polished it to commercial standards and branded it Telltale Texas Hold'em. It was released on February 11, 2005, for Windows, primarily to test their digital storefront, which was named Telltale Now, but after 2007 was simply known as the Telltale Store.

A third Bone game, consisting of Eyes of the Storm and reportedly material from other Bone books, was announced in 2006. It was canceled in 2009, due to the fact that Telltale concentrated on the Sam and Max series and had lost the license to make Bone games by that point.

An episodic King's Quest game was announced to be in development by Telltale in 2011. It was canceled in 2013 as Telltale had lost the license to make a King's Quest game, and the intellectual property owners of King's Quest, Activision, intended to publish a King's Quest game themselves. The Odd Gentlemen released their episodic King's Quest between 2015 and 2016.

Telltale's first foray as a co-developer was in 2011, with Hector: Badge of Carnage, a game which they shared development duties with primary developer Straandlooper.

Mainstream success and expansion

In 2012, the release of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games series was met with critical acclaim and commercial success, winning over 80 Game of the Year awards and selling 8.5 million episodes totaling more than $40 million in sales. After this success, Telltale expanded, from 110 employees to approximately 170.

In 2015, Lionsgate invested in Telltale Games to enable the two companies to co-develop original and existing intellectual properties for video games and television. Later that year, the Telltale Publishing label was formed. The first game to be published under this new label was the Jackbox Party Pack, followed by Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.apk, 7 Days to Die, and RGX Showdown.

Studio closure

In 2018, all of Telltale's investors, including Lionsgate, pulled out of investment in the company. On September 21, 2018, Telltale announced a majority studio closure, laying off 250 employees with a staff of 25 staying on to fulfill contractual obligations to their board and to their partners. The game that was developed to fulfill the contractual obligations was Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix. On November 27, 2018, after the game was released, the team that developed that game was laid off as well.

The Wolf Among Us: Season Two, Game of Thrones: Season Two, Stranger Things, and Telltale's Super Show were cancelled as a result of the closure. Beam Team Games also terminated their contract with Telltale Publishing when the release of Stranded Deep on consoles missed its release date and was pulled from digital storefronts.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season was completed by Skybound Games, who contracted some of the original team to finish the game from the Telltale offices.

Games by Telltale:

Title System Release Added to Museum Notes
Batman: The Telltale Series Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2016 Mac: August 15, 2017
Win: August 15, 2017
360: November 17, 2018
Five episode story in Telltale's Batman series.
Batman: The Enemy Within Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2018 Mac: March 27, 2008
Win: March 27, 2018
Five episode story in Telltale's Batman series.
Bone: Out from Boneville Windows
macOS
2005
2006
Win: December 23, 2014 A single episode story in the Bone series.
Bone: The Great Cow Race Windows 2007 Win: December 23, 2014 A single episode story in the Bone series.
CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder Windows
PS2
2006
2007
Win: November 2, 2011
PS2: September 25, 2012
A story with five cases in the CSI: Las Vegas series.
The WEC Museum owns the Super Pack for Windows with the first four games.
CSI: Hard Evidence Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Wii
2007
2007
2007
2008
360: May, 2, 2014
Win: November 2, 2011
A story with five cases in the CSI: Las Vegas series.
The WEC Museum owns the Super Pack for Windows with the first four games.
CSI: Deadly Intent Windows
Xbox 360
Wii
2009
2009
2009
Win: November 25, 2011 A story with five cases in the CSI: Las Vegas series.
CSI: Fatal Conspiracy Windows
PS3
Xbox 360
Wii
2010 Win: May 4, 2015 A story with five cases in the CSI: Las Vegas series.
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2015 Mac: July 23, 2015
Win: July 23, 2015
A six episode story in the Game of Thrones series.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2018 Mac: November 7, 2017
Win: November 7, 2017
A story with five episodes.
Hector: Badge of Carnage Windows
macOS
PS3
Wii
2010-2011 Mac: September 23, 2011
Win: September 23, 2011
A five episode story co-developed with Straandlooper.
Jurassic Park: The Game Windows
macOS
PS3
Xbox 360
iOS
2011 Mac: November 15, 2011
Win: November 15, 2011
A four episode story in the Jurassic Park series.
Law & Order: Legacies Windows
macOS
iOS
2012 Mac: March 29, 2012
Win: March 29, 2012
A story with seven cases in the Law & Order series.
Minecraft: Story Mode Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4 Nintendo Switch
Android
iOS
2015-2016 Mac: March 29, 2016
Win: March 29, 2016
A five episode story in the Minecraft series.
Minecraft: Story Mode - Adventure Pass Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4 Nintendo Switch
Android
iOS
2016 Mac: September 13, 2016
Win: September 13, 2016
Three episode downloadable content in the Minecraft series.
Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4 Nintendo Switch
Android
iOS
2017 Mac: December 19, 2017
Win: December 19, 2017
A five episode story in the Minecraft series.
Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent Windows, macOS, PS3, iOS 2010 Mac: June 30, 2010
Win: June 30, 2010
Single episode story in the Puzzle Agent series.
Puzzle Agent 2 Windows, macOS, iOS 2011 Mac: June 30, 2011
Win: June 30, 2011
Single episode story in the Puzzle Agent series.
Poker Night at the Inventory Windows, macOS 2010 Mac: May 18, 2010
Win: May 18, 2010
A poker game crossover with Sam & Max, Penny Arcade, Homestar Runner, and Team Fortress 2.
Poker Night 2 Windows
macOS
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
iOS
2013 Mac: May 27, 2013
Win: May 27, 2013
A poker game crossover with Sam & Max, Evil Dead, Borderlands, The Venture Bros. and Portal.
Sam & Max Save the World Windows
Wii
Xbox 360
2006-2007
2008
2009
Win: October 17, 2006 A story with six cases in the Sam & Max series.
Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space Windows
Xbox 360
Wii
macOS
PlayStation 3
iOS
2007-2008
2009
2010
2010
2011
2012
Mac: April 6, 2008
Win: April 6, 2008
A story with five cases in the Sam & Max series.
Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse Windows
macOS
PlayStation 3
iOS
2010 Mac: May 18, 2010
Win: May 18, 2010
A story with five cases in the Sam & Max series.
Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Windows
macOS
PlayStation 3
Wii
2008 Win: December 15, 2008
Mac: January 13, 2011
A five episode story in the Homestar Runner series.
Tales from the Borderlands Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2009 Mac: October 20, 2015
Win: October 20, 2015
Five episode story in the Borderlands series.
Telltale Texas Hold'em Windows 2005 February 11, 2005 A poker game that is the spiritual predecessor of Poker Night at the Inventory and Poker Night 2.
The Walking Dead: 400 Days Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2013 Mac: July 2, 2013
Win: July 2, 2013
Downloadable content episode for The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season Windows
macOS
Xbox One
PS4
Android
iOS
2019 Not yet Fourth season of The Walking Dead series with four episodes.
The Walking Dead: Michonne Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2012 Mac: August 26, 2014
Win: August 26, 2014
Three episode side story in The Walking Dead series.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2017 Mac: May 30, 2017
Win: May 30, 2017
Third season of The Walking Dead series with five episodes.
The Walking Dead: Season Two Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2012 Mac: August 26, 2014
Win: August 26, 2014
Second season of The Walking Dead series with five episodes.
The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2012 Mac: November 20, 2012
Win: November 20, 2012
First season of The Walking Dead series with five episodes.
Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures Windows
Xbox 360
iOS
2009 Win: July 30, 2009 Four episode story in the Wallace & Gromit series.
The Wolf Among Us Windows
macOS
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Android
iOS
2014 Mac: July 8, 2014
Win: July 8, 2014
Five episode story in the Fables series.