Former Telltale Games film artist Jonah Huang announced on Twitter today that he was fired from the studio in early September. In his tweet, he writes that “Telltale laid off most of us in early September” and that the layoffs came weeks after it acquired the British studio Flavourworks, which developed Erica.
This is a sensitive topic, but I feel it’s necessary to add something to the gaming layoff news: Telltale laid off most of us in early September. I cannot say the status of TWAU2 (NDA).
Now I focus on what matters to me – my own game and the following words:
Gaming industry, we need to UNIONIZE.
– jjonahjonahson (@jjonahjonahson) October 5, 2023
Telltale has now confirmed this Game Informer that there were indeed layoffs at the studio, although the official statement does not mention exactly how many employees were laid off. The statement does not mention severance pay for laid-off employees, but Huang indicated on Twitter that he received severance pay.
Here’s Telltale’s statement about it Game Informer, complete:
“Due to current market conditions, we unfortunately had to recently lay off some members of our Telltale team. We did not take this action lightly, and our commitment to storytelling and finding new ways to do it remains. We are grateful to everyone for this.” We testify to their commitment on this journey and we are working to support everyone affected. All projects currently in development are still in production and we have no further updates at this time.”
Game Informer Telltale asked how many employees it had laid off, but was unable to get specific numbers, departments affected, or any further updates beyond the above statement about projects in development. However, as previously mentioned, Huang, who identifies himself as JH according to their website, says that Telltale has “laid most of us off.”
These Telltale layoffs come years after the studio was revived in 2019 by new management. In 2018, the studio laid off 90 percent of its employees before eventually closing entirely later that year. Before its shutdown, Telltale was perhaps best known for its four-season episodic game The Walking Dead. About a year after its closure, the company was purchased in 2019 by its current CEO Jamie Ottilie and investors with a desire to bring the narrative studio back to life.
The new Telltale arrived at the 2019 Games Awards with a trailer for its new version of The Wolf Among Us 2, a sequel that was reportedly in development at the studio’s previous iteration. The last time we heard about this game was in March, when Telltale announced that it would be delayed from 2023 to next year.
While The Wolf Among Us 2 was the first game to introduce this new version of Telltale, their first game is actually The Expanse: A Telltale Series, published and developed alongside Deck Nine, whose first episode was released back in July. All five episodes were released between July and September. The Expanse: A Telltale Series is currently at 76 on Metacritic.
The hearts of the Game Informer The staff is with everyone affected by these layoffs and those still in the studio.
[Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a new image to reflect Telltale Games’ most recent logo, and to include mention that Huang received severenace]