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Telltale Games, developer of licensed adventure games such as the Walking Dead series, Game of Thrones and Batman , has laid off most of its staff as it prepares to shut down completely. Their reports say the skeleton crew remaining is working on the Minecraft: Story Mode adaptation for Netflix, due later this fall.
The company posted the following message on its official Twitter account after online reports about the layoffs began to surface:. Other employees have confirmed that this means the company is technically still operating, but only for the immediate future. Telltale co-founder Kevin Bruner, who left the company a year and a half ago, also published a blog post discussing the layoffs. Re: I got laid off at Telltale None of my sleepless nights or long hours on weekends trying to ship a game on time got me severance today. Protect your health.
A Verge feature story from earlier this year described layoffs at a company that suffered from mismanagement and a lack of new ideas, leading to a plan that would focus on fewer, higher-quality games.
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People were not denied severance or escorted from the building by security, but given time to gather their things and say goodbye. The remaining staff was given the rest of the day off so that they could spend time with their departing co-workers; they gathered at a pub in downtown San Rafael. Founded in , Telltale Games spent nearly 15 years popularizing the choice-based, story-heavy adventure game genre.
Batman: The Telltale Series , released in was said to be one of the worst commercial failures for the company. On March 15, , Bruner announced he had stepped down as CEO of Telltale,  though Variety reported that he had been voted out of this position by the Board of directors. Bruner said "The time has come to pass the reins to someone that can better drive Telltale to the next level and realize all the potential that is here.
Telltale stated the claims were "meritless". In November , a restructuring of the company cut about 90 positions, about a quarter of their staff, which was not expected to affect the release of any existing projects. Hawley said that the restructuring was for "reorienting our organization with a focus on delivering fewer, better games with a smaller team". In June , Telltale announced a partnership with Netflix for the streaming service to provide its games to subscribers, with the first planned game being Minecraft: Story Mode.
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Alongside this, Telltale announced that they were working on a yet-untitled game based on Netflix's original property, Stranger Things. In addition to this game, Telltale had started working with Night School Studio in for them to make a first-person, narrative driven game that would have led into Telltale's game. However, Night School reported difficulty in cooperating with Telltale over and were also surprised by the studio's sudden closure.