Following the mass layoff of around 250 employees from Telltale Games that left The Walking Dead: The Final Season’s remaining two episodes effectively canceled, Telltale may be working on a way to finish the season and see some of the laid-off developers re-employed.
Last week, Telltale said it was looking at “multiple potential partners” to finish The Walking Dead’s final season, a decision that was met with criticism given its implication that the studio was more focused on finishing its effectively canceled game than paying its employees severance.
However, Kotaku reports today that according to two anonymous sources with knowledge of the deal, there’s more to it. Rather than simply hand off the IP to be made by another studio, Telltale is reportedly trying to see its laid-off employees hired on a contract basis by a partner, where they would then finish the game. The prospective partner, not Telltale, be signing the paychecks.
The report also says that The Walking Dead: The Final Season’s episode three would need very little work to complete, as the game was apparently scheduled for a ratings review at the time of the studio closure. Episode four had already seen one round of voice acting recorded, and a playable version was planned to be ready by the end of last month.
Kotaku’s sources, at least one of which is one of the laid-off developers, noted that the longer negotiation talks go on the less likely it is that Telltale will be able to connect its former employees with a potential partner to finish the game. Most or all of the team has been forced to rapidly find new employment in absence of severance from Telltale and with benefits expiring almost immediately after termination, a condition which has prompted a class-action lawsuit alleging the studio violated state and federal labor laws.