According to US Gamer, Telltale Games will end the ongoing series after the release of the second episode next week due to the team working the project having been laid off. Despite a cessation of work on The Walking Dead, the studio will continue work on Minecraft Story Mode.
Following initial reports claiming Telltale was undergoing massive layoffs that might result in the studio's closure, the company released a statement:
Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges. A majority of the company’s employees were dismissed earlier this morning, with a small group of 25 employees staying on to fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners. CEO Pete Hawley issued the following statement:
"It's been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course. Unfortunately, we ran out of time trying to get there. We released some of our best content this year and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, but ultimately, that did not translate to sales. With a heavy heart, we watch our friends leave today to spread our brand of storytelling across the games industry."
Telltale will issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks.
Telltale Games launched in 2004 when a group of LucasArts employees formed their own company. They first got into the licensed gaming business with a game based on the TV series, CSI, but the company was really put on to the map when it released its 2012 licensed The Walking Dead game. However, there have been a number of troubling reports about the company in recent years. There were claims of a negative work environment tied to forcing its employees to work under “crunch conditions” (meaning working 20 hour days or 100 hour work weeks). In March of 2017, Kevin Bruner, CEO of the company and one of its co-founders, left the company and later filed a lawsuit against Telltale Games. In November of 2017, the company fired 90 employees.
The second episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season will release on Sept. 25. That episode might be the final one in the series.