by Globax Gaming Staff
On September 21st, 2018, adventure game studio Telltale Games suddenly announced their closure, leaving 90% of their staff without work and only a small fifteen-person team to tie up their loose ends. This was a shocking development across the gaming world, and an outpouring support and job offers from major studios has thankfully occurred.
Telltale Games was a special studio, leading the way in revitalizing the flagging adventure game genre. The quality of their work was always at least strong, and though they have some higher-profile flops (their Batman series, their Game of Thrones series), the incredible work they did on games like The Walking Dead, Tales of Monkey Island, The Wolf Among Us, and Back to the Future: the Game showed them to be the heirs apparent to the likes of Lucasarts and Sierra in the adventure game genre.
There has been a lot of tongue-wagging and speculation about why Telltame Games went under, including a number of shocking stories of toxic behaviour within the structure of Telltale, of killer crunch periods that are noteworthy even for an industry overrun with them, etc. Instead of focusing on this we wanted to celebrate the incredible achievements these developers, coders, artists, narrative designers, and writers worked on. There are a few of our personal selections for some noteworthy Telltale moments.
CSI: Hard Evidence (2007) + CSI: Deadly Intent (2009)
Ha, bet you weren’t expecting these, did ya? Telltale developed four CSI games in total between 2005 and 2010, and they don’t exactly have sterling reputations, generally viewed as the sort of PC shovelware that dominated personal computer licensed games through the first decade of the 2000s. That being said, I owned and played the second and third editions, CSI: Hard Evidence and CSI: Deadly Intent. They are far from prefect games, but they’re tightly crafted little mystery-adventures with the original cast providing their voices. The procedural aspect of the show lends itself extremely well to Telltale’s nascent story-driven adventure format, and they’re enjoyable little plays. If, in the year of our lord 2018, you are still a fan of CSI — worth checking out! (Nicholas Tristan)
Back to the Future: The game (2010-2011)
I think a lot of people who weren’t particularly into LucasArts games’ growing up had their first taste of adventure games with something by Telltale. For me, it was Back to the Future: The Game. I love Back to the Future, and since the majority of video games made for the franchise previously were utter nonsense (Hello, Back to the Future III for the SNES!), to have a real interactive fiction game starring Chirstopher Lloyd that looked and played great? Game changer. (Jennifer Calheiros-Martin)
The Walking Dead (2012-2013)
This is the big deal, the one that changed everything for Telltale Games. Taking The Walking Dead license, madly popular from the hit AMC show, but creating a thoughtful, moving story-driven game more in line with the comics was an absolute home-run for Telltale Games. One of the most complicated moral-based systems in games’ to date (far surpassing the “do you want to nuke an entire town…or not” style of morality of Fallout 3), the game really makes you feel like you’re making life or death decisions. And yes, “Clementine will remember this” is one of those great enduring memes from a game of the last decade. (Ben Beck)
The Wolf Among Us (2013-2014)
The Fables graphic novels series, from Veritgo, has always been one of my favorite series—in fact, my first paying gig as a reviewer was to review one of the books for a teen magazine. So while it did take me a few years to dive into The Wolf Among Us, it held up to my expectations. Along with the Arkham Asylum series of Batman games, it’s among one of the most immersive comic book adaptations in the world of video games. (Nicholas Tristan)
Tales from the borderlands (2014-2015)
Being really into Borderlands seems so…2012 to me. That being said, my favorite of the series was, and remains, the goofy fun but surprisingly deep Tales from the Borderlands. Gearbox and 2K handed all the reins over to Telltale for this game, and I’m glad they did. The game lacks some of the Borderlands series more irritating traits while creative an immersive, gorgeous, and downright funny point-and-clicker. A worthy addition to the series. (Terri Rose)