Telltale in Trouble


Most (if not all) of my friends left TT a while ago. It’s amazing to me that TT could fuck up the success they had. I don’t know anything about the inner workings of the company to make specific comments.

Running a company is really really hard. Even with a hit or two, it’s so easy to die. I think Campo Santo really understood this and selling to Value was probably a smart move.


Daedalic is on a similar way down.

IMHO the problem is, that they don’t produce games anymore but interactive movies. People who would like to play a game don’t buy them because they are missing the game. And people who would like to enjoy a (good) story are buying movies. TT had the luck with the licenses. But I have to admit that I own only the games from their early days (for example Sam and Max).

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What are you talking about? They switched to this model starting with Jurassic Park: big licenses and stories with quick time events.
They stopped producing those kind of adventure games we and I care about a long time ago. And that’s what they made them successful!

I’m thankful they made games in the Sam&Max, MI and BTTF universe. But I stopped caring about their games a long time ago. But that was when their success just started.

Back then I’ve bought all their games on their website… I cannot believe I bought all this DRM crap just to support them. :slight_smile:
I’m glad the most important games are (/were) on GOG.


I have played Back to the Future and Tales of MI, but in my opinion they were just average. Nowadays, their games look much better, but I’m not interested in interactive movies either. The market of real point & click games may be small, but its audience appreciates quality, so you migt have a stable demand, if you know what you are doing. In contrast, interactive movies are very simple and use to get boring quickly. In my opinion, it’s not really a serious genre.

As for Daedalic, I think it’s the same issue. Their best games were true adventure games only. If they still created point and click games of a comparable quality, they wouldn’t have needed expensive third-party IPs like Pillars of Earth.
Well, Deponia Doomsday is not a bad game, but it felt half-baked - especially the finale. As far as I know, Silence had the same issue, since it was described as being “too short”. Maybe financial problems impaired both projects. I don’t know. Maybe they their goals were too high, perhaps because the company was too large for the adventure market. Ron mentioned several times that it was a niche.

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Supermassive Games are very successful with that style (as of now). They even plan to go the episodic route starting next year.


I will say this (and I possibly already posted it somewhere on this forum before?): Guardians of the Galaxy had the very best QTEs I’ve ever experienced. They almost didn’t feel like QTEs. Unfortunately there were also plenty of run of the mill bleurgh QTEs.

I have them all (or close to it) on GOG. I don’t have Puzzle Agent 1 & 2 'cause I own those on Steam and I don’t have the Minecraft Story Mode games.

They have their ups and downs, but to me it’s a lot better than Call of Duty Black Ops 50… basically the perfect thing for when you didn’t sleep very well and you want an interactive movie with adventure elements.

Unfortunately they keep coming out with new stuff faster than I’m interested in playing it.

Their point&click adventures mostly were good to mediocre. With those they had a small but dedicated audience. They wanted to expand with an interactive-movie/franchise-licencing-episodic-model (and utilise already existing fans). This worked out as long as the idea was fresh and/or the games were good enough. The first TWD was something new and well made (not my thing). TWAU was a beautiful game (although they stripped down the initial design).

The rest was primary more of the same. They couldn’t evolve the model whilst the games got worse and the quality went down (not only content related: forum ↓, arrogance ↑, tech ↓, bugs ↑, support ↓ [similar to DF, older games - like from their sales - stopped working]).

Their formula offers a major drawback. Once they stripped away too much gameplay (and the choices didn’t matter), there was no reason to buy their games anymore. youtube was the better option (as long as the stories were interesting enough to watch). These days Netflix offers a better quality (not saying that it’s great) at a lower price.

That’s it.


This article was linked in the comments on Tweakers:

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I don’t own this one (yet).
Eventually I bought most of their older QTE games when they were on sale on GOG.

But I’m generally not really interested in these type of games and also don’t care much about those particular franchises. Tales from the Borderlands (GOG) is the only recent one I wanted to play.

Sadly you can’t get them all. Checking the list of games available on GOG they miss the following:

  • Wallace & Gromit (1 season) (license probably expired, it was sold on GOG before and I own it)
  • Bone games (2 games)
  • Poker games (3 games)
  • Jurassic Park (1 season)

  • CSI games (4 seasons, never played them)
  • Law & Order (1 season, never played it)

(I should check out my Telltale Games account and download all those games, hooray for cracks!)

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I have that one on Steam too. I forgot about it. (Never played it.) It’s their first, isn’t it?

For us adventurers it seems so. But apparently, their later games were a big enough success for them to keep that concept.

I really liked their adventure games up to Back to the Future. They jumped the shark with Jurassic Park, imho, ie. the game which abandoned the classic adventure design.

Btw., most of their DVDs don’t have DRM. Some titles have DVD based copy protection, though, but not all of them.

And it’s a pity they don’t care for their early games anymore. Right in the first Sam & Max episode is an annoying bug (Sybil is invisible and has her hotspot misplaced), introduced with an engine update. This is known for years, but they don’t fix it.

In their early days, they promised to offer patches to remove DRM from their games when the company shuts down their activation servers. It’s not completely unlikely, but I wouldn’t bet on it. At least Adobe did such a thing in the past.


The Deadalic and Telltale games.

Let me cite myself: “TT had the luck with the licenses.”

They had success with their “interactive movies” because of the licenses like Jurrasic Park and The Walking Dead.


The company wanted to grow (fast). And they saw how much games Telltale sold with their concept.

IMHO Doomsday was there to milk the cash cow “Deponia”. The series was planned as three parts. Then it sold very good for an adventure game (especially in Germany). So they had to produce another one. :slight_smile:

You can be successful with those games if you have a well-known license (like The Walking Dead) and/or a very good story. Another point seems to be the platform - those games seem to be more successful on consoles.

As I wrote above: The concept worked for Telltale because of the licenses.

I don’t think that they will do that another time. :wink: (At least in the way they did with CS2.)

Their whole goal from the beginning was to license big IPs. This has nothing to do with luck.
Jurassic Park was the first big one and with The Walking Dead they had a big success. Since then they tried to keep the same formula going.

There was a lot of mismanagement but it was TWD which made their games suitable for the masses, not the point’n’click adventure type of games they had done earlier.
Those type of games are still only for a niche audience. They won’t make you rich and that’s why they stopped doing them all together after they could negotiate those big deals.

Those “interactive movies” made them successful, not the good games from the past.

Yes, when they “shut down their activation servers”. The problem is when they shut down the whole company no one’s there to do anything. :frowning:
The remaining people have other things to do and most of them won’t even know such server exists. But good to know the DVD versions at least don’t need online activation!

a) I would like to see them (or generally devs) also aim for great puzzle adventures and unique games.

b) What I could see working for a company like TTG, would be great story telling in VR. Once VR V2 hits a critical mass, this could be huge (enough). The VR experience is powerful & unique and would suit their type of games really well. They just need to do their homework for the tech, art and really improve on gameplay and especially story telling whilst picking up the right licences (if they don’t want to come up with their own ideas). If you intensively improve on games like Lone Echo, this could result into great games.

Mixing both, could result into an interesting and bright future for them.

  1. Those games are original IPs only.
  2. They are console (specificially PS4) exclusive.

There was one instance where it did. None of the games I have on DVD, though.
Interestingly enough, some 3rd party distributors like “Software Pyramide” sold DVDs without copy protection in cases were Telltales own DVDs had one, but with ugly artwork.
And of course, all those games are without DRM on GOG.

I didn’t think the games from the past were particularly good tbh, at least the ones I’m familiar with like Sam & Max, Monkey Island and Back to the Future. To me they’re pretty mediocre adventure games at best and I’ve never even finished them. In Sam & Max I got bored in ep 2 or 3, in Monkey Island I got bored in trial (well, really long before then but that’s when I finally gave up — ep 4?) and in Back to the Future I also got bored in ep 2 or 3. It was unsatisfying and boring in a way semi-contemporary releases like Syberia 1 & 2 weren’t.

Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us, by contrast, are quite decent entries in their genre. It sucks that they stuck almost completely to the same mold ever since but the interactive story concept was much better executed than the half-hearted adventureish straightjacket from before.

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