What happened with TellTale Games

The gaming company TellTale started up in October of 2004, and nearly 14 years later, they shut down. But why? Were they not making good sales? Were they in the middle of a huge controversy? Did the employees stop caring? Well, here’s where you find out.

TellTale started off small, and it wasn’t until a crisp April day in 2012 that TellTale truly got its start with their game, The Walking Dead. The first season of their game boasted five episodes, and by November it was all complete. It received huge praise, winning over eighty awards. It topped the sales chart for Xbox, and when I say pretty much everyone played it, I mean it.

The Walking Dead started an era. An era of choice-driven games. In TellTale’s series, you, the player, can choose what to say and how to act. You are in charge of your relationships with others, who dies, who lives, and how well your group survives.

But is that true? TellTale tells the player in the beginning “Your choices matter,” but is that a lie? Sadly, pretty much. Sure, you have choices, you can make someone hate you, and you can even sacrifice someone to save another. But it doesn’t matter.

In the game you have to choose between two people to save. Doug and Carly. You would think that whoever you save would change the game. That these two characters will start a new storyline, and the game will change depending on who lives, and who dies. But no matter you save, they die soon later anyway, leaving the game unchanged. It creates an illusion of choice.

Sure, if TellTale’s games were only one of a few choice-based games then maybe nobody would have minded. The problem is that The Walking Dead became so popular that game companies realized they could make massive profit from those types of games. And why play a game that tricks you into believing that your choices matter when you can play a game where they actually do matter?

A good comparison is between TellTale’s The Walking Dead, and Quantic Dream‘s Detroit: Become Human. In the latter game, you can see a map at the end of every episode or section you play. You can see what choices you made, and the different branches of choices that you didn’t. There are tons of endings and small details that differ depending on what you, the player, chose.

So really, TellTale started an era in the gaming world, but it was their eventual downfall. The games being created to capitalize on the popularity of that genre were better than the one that started it all.

But I’m sure you’re thinking “That can’t be the only reason! Just because their games didn’t have real choices!” And you’re right. So let’s look at the next reason why TellTale couldn’t keep afloat.

Employees were generally unhappy. Many worked long hours, and the management was toxic. There was barely any organization. Nobody really kept track of what was going on. The management stopped interacting with their staff, and that meant less morale.

As TellTale got more popular, the more they made games. Soon they started working on multiple games at once. Instead of choosing developers to stick to one game, they rotated developers. This made the creation process to be more sloppy, and many workers didn’t understand this decision.

There wasn’t even any proper schedule. Rewrites and improvoments of the game were asked very last minute. Employees say that it was a constant barrage of work with no break, six day work weeks, with about 18 hours for each of those days. New developers couldn’t handle it, and the older ones were not putting in all their effort.

Eventually, TellTale couldn’t handle the stress. It collapsed under its own foundation.

Over 200 workers were laid off without severance, many took to Twitter to say not to work extreme overtime for a company that, in the end, will not care about you.

Many other game companies told these employees that they could always come and work them. At least there’s a silver lining to the storm clouds.

It is unknown if TellTale will continue the final season of The Walking Dead. The episodes are set to release in November and December, and their MineCraft Netflix series will be finished.

 

‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ review

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia has just hit it’s 13th season, bringing it closer and closer to being the longest running live-action sitcom. The premiere for this season, titled “The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again,” has recently aired, and it was…just okay.

The first notable difference in this season is the absence of Dennis (Glenn Howerton). In the season 12 finale, Dennis left to North Dakota, so he could be a father to his son. This was because Howerton was doing another show, and didn’t know if he could do Sunny along with it. He had been there since the first season, offering angry outbursts and a chin chiseled by the gods themselves, it was sad to see him go.

His replacement was Cindy, played by Mindy Kaling (her most notable role being Kelly Kapoor from The Office). In Sunny, Kaling plays a manipulative women, who knows how to get Paddy’s more customers through lies and, well, manipulation. We first see her speaking to a crowd in Paddy’s, explaining how welcoming the gang had been, and that it is a great bar for people of all religions, sexuality, and gender.

As soon as her speech is over we cut to the back office, where Cindy explains that they finally got the “liberal crowd” for Paddy’s. It was a fake speech meant to entice the left to Paddy’s, so they could have more customers. The gang thanks her, and we learn that next they’ll be going for the conservatives by “Making Paddy’s Great Again.”

We cut to Mac’s apartment. This is where Mac decides to unveil his new abs, so it looks like we’ve come a long way from season seven’s “Fat Mac.” We then learn that Mac also bought a Dennis look-alike doll, that really creeps out the rest of the gang. This doll is what turns the episode from a political satire to a whole new plot.

Cindy eventually shows up, and explains her whole plan, and tells Mac to get rid of the doll. But he doesn’t. When the gang gets ready to do the plan, it seems to be perfectly fine. Dee is beautiful, Frank can play the tuba, Mac and Charlie have wonderfully decorated “Liberal Tears” signs for the right-wingers.

But the plan falls apart when the Dennis doll gets in their heads. The gang swears they can the hear the doll talking to them, saying everything that Dennis would say. This confuses Cindy, and of course makes her angry as it is making her plan fall apart. Dee ruins her make-up, Charlie and Mac ruin the signs, and Frank can no longer play the tuba. Everything is destroyed due to this doll, and therefore, because of Dennis.

Which is why, when Dennis comes back, Cindy gets so upset. It’s understandable, he ruined her plans and constantly bashes the gang, but he’s a part of them. That’s why it’s also so understandable that the gang lets him back in.

Dennis returns in a creepy fashion, which is very true to his character. The gang is talking about the doll, when all of a sudden we hear it talk. Well, we think we do. The camera actually pans right, revealing real life Dennis standing there accompanied with a jumpscare sound effect.

Dennis makes his remarks, Cindy argues that they shouldn’t let him in the gang, but they do. She leaves in a huff, and the episode ends with the original gang all back together. Dennis asks Mac if he’s gained weight, and we cut to the credits.

So, overall the episode felt very…forced. Of course, this could have been on purpose because Mindy Kaling was forced into the group as a replacement for Dennis, and the creators made the show feel like how the gang felt. But it doesn’t help that there were few laughs, and the sound quality didn’t seem to be the best.

It’s a good episode, it did it’s job, but I also don’t think it was at it’s best. Hopefully, the rest of the season does go above and beyond as Sunny is shown it is be able to do.