The video game industry is a brutal one. Sometimes all it takes is one game failing to sink an entire studio and put dozens, if not hundreds, of people out of work.
Last Friday came the bombshell news that Telltale games, one of the most beloved developers in the industry, was closing down. For years, Telltale was one of the Cinderella stories in the gaming industry — a studio that started small and became one of the biggest independent studios around.
The studio was founded in 2004 and made its name developing adventure games based on smaller properties like "Sam & Max" and "Wallace & Gromit." It eventually got its hands on bigger licenses and created games that continued the stories to "Back to the Future" and "Jurassic Park."
But the game that turned them from a small indie darling to a developer everyone who follows games knew of was 2012's "The Walking Dead," based on the comics and not the television series.
Publications like USA Today, Wired, Complex, GamesRadar and Official Xbox Magazine all named it their game of the year. The studio quickly ramped up and went from releasing one game a year to two or three games a year. It also picked up the licenses to make games based on "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Batman," "Game of Thrones" and "Minecraft," some of the biggest names in entertainment.
I'm no expert on what happened, but it sounds like the company grew too big too fast, and the leadership wasn't prepared to handle it. I only played a handful of Telltale games, the most recent one being the first "Batman" game, but every one of its games I did play told enthralling stories.
With Friday's announcement came word that 250 people had been laid off, with just 25 people staying on to finish a version of their "Minecraft: Story Mode" for Netflix. A class action lawsuit has already been filed against the studio for their handling of the layoffs and closure. All around, it's just a terrible situation.
I would have loved for Telltale to have had an opportunity to do a "Star Wars" or "Twin Peaks" game, but that will never happen now.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at email@example.com. He is currently playing "Star Wars Battlefront 2," "Friday the 13th: The Game" and "Super Mario Odyssey." You can find him to play online through his PlayStation Network ID, DustRAG316.