Skybound Entertainment, the multiplatform distributor co-founded by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, has finally broken their silence on the future of Telltale Games’ adventure series. In a post on Skybound’s blog the team explains that all the work up to this point has been “logistically and legally to get us to a place where we’re able to roll up our sleeves and get to the actual work”. The post also goes on to state that “many of the talented, passionate team members” from Telltale are on board to bring The Walking Dead: The Final Season to completion, and promises release date details soon.
But what we were most interested to read is that the recently delisted Walking Dead games should be making a return to sale soon. “It’s likely that previous seasons of the game may be unavailable to purchase for a few days as we transition—but don’t panic!—we’ll have everything back online ASAP. If you already purchased Season Four, you will NOT have to pay again; future episodes will be available to download as soon as they are released via your original point of purchase.”
There haven’t been any signs of life on Steam yet but we’ll be back with word as soon as we hear it. Unfortunately, Skybound isn’t picking up every Telltale title and more of their older games are likely to join Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, and Tales of Monkey Island which have already been delisted.
Word broke on the afternoon of November 14th that Telltale Games had entered an Assignment of Contract with the business consulting firm Sherwood Partners. GameDaily has an extensive recount of the publicly available details, including their conversation with Sherwood’s co-founder Martin Pitchinson, but for our purposes I think this snippet sums it up:
“Telltale Games is going through assignment proceedings, a process similar to bankruptcy, but designed to move quickly and settle the company’s affairs. […] ‘A company can go out of business without going bankrupt,’ says attorney and Odin Law & Media founder Brandon Huffman. ‘All that means is that they were able to find someone to give them enough money for assets to pay any creditors or they had the money on hand.'”
The speed at which Telltale’s assets are being handled has already resulted in the delisting of four titles. Twitter user @Nitomatta pointed out on the 14th that Back to the Future, Jurassic Park: The Game, and Tales of Monkey Island had already been removed from Steam. Some hours later Telltale’s entire The Walking Dead series was also removed from Steam.
As of this writing these titles remain available on Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo consoles (where released) but I wouldn’t hold out too long if you’re interested in picking them up digitally. A sale seems unlikely given that titles are already being pulled but you can save 33% on Steam by buying the Telltale Collection for $186.
I’ll be using this page on SteamDB (Steam login required) to keep track of Telltale’s titles over the coming days and weeks. Eventually I’ll have several new pages added to the site once the dust settles a little more.
After the news hit on September 21st that Telltale Games had laid off much of its staff and was preparing to close, I could already see the delisting dominos beginning to fall. The studio has made a living since 2005 by turning licensed properties into adventure games, but what I didn’t expect was that the first casualty after the announcement would be their latest release.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season was scheduled to be another episodic installment in the franchise running through 2018. But after launching on August 14th with episode one the game was removed from sale on the day of episode two’s debut, September 25th. The episode (and the season pass) appear to be available on Nintendo Switch and from Humble Bundle but the game has been removed from sale on Steam, GOG.com, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
In a note on the page for the game, GOG.com simply adds that “Telltale has requested a temporary pause of sales of The Walking Dead – Final Season. For all up to date Telltale news, please refer to their official Twitter page”. That account has yet to be updated but in a post on September 24th Telltale revealed that “multiple potential partners have stepped forward to express interest in helping to see The Final Season through to completion”. The sudden delisting gives the remaining staff at Telltale time to work with a new publisher and arrange a schedule for release, if a deal is ever made. Sadly, an unfinished season of one of Telltale’s most popular series is likely to be their legacy at this point.
Shortly before Telltale announced their plans to close, one of their other titles was delisted. On September 14th, Poker Night 2 was removed from sale with Telltale themselves outlining the reason. “Poker Night 2 has been withdrawn from sale on digital platforms due to the expiration of our digital distribution agreement,” reads the statement on their support page. “We currently do not have any plans to renew this agreement.”
The Walking Dead: The Final Season and Poker Night 2 will be added to the site soon with many, many more titles to follow as their IP licenses expire.