Telltale Games is Being Revived, But in Name Only

LCG Entertainment has bought the right to the Telltale Games name and licenses, though the new studio will include almost only personnel who had nothing to do with the original Telltale Games.

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Almost one year ago, acclaimed narrative adventure game studio Telltale Games performed a “majority studio closure,” laying off more than 250 employees without severance. The rest of the company liquidated a few weeks later. Now, the Telltale name is getting revived, but only the name.

In a recent interview with Polygon, it came out that the company LCG Entertainment has purchased the rights to use Telltale’s name and properties. A new studio in Malibu, California is using the Telltale name headed by Jamie Ottilie, the CEO of Galaxy Pest Control, and Brian Waddle, who worked in sales and marketing for the Havok game engine. Furthermore, publisher Athlon Games will handle distribution for the new studio. Other financial backers include Rebellion’s Chris Kingsley, Heavy Iron Studios’ Lyle Hall, and Starbreeze’s Tobias Sjögren.

The rights that LCG Entertainment now owns includes Telltale’s few original IPs, including Puzzle Agent and Hector: Badge of Carnage, as well as some of Telltale’s licensed properties, specifically The Wolf Among Us and Batman. Potentially, new narrative-based games from those franchises could emerge from this development. This Includes the possible resumed development of The Wolf Among Us 2, which had been canceled upon Telltale’s collapse last year amid development.

It’s worth mentioning, however, how much of Telltale Games is not part of this revival. While LCG Entertainment now has the rights to use the Puzzle Agent, Hector: Badge of Carnage, Batman, and The Wolf Among Us properties. There are several other Telltale properties that LCG does not have the rights to, and several others that we don’t know one way or the other about.

For example, this “new Telltale” won’t be making any games in the company’s landmark The Walking Dead series, since all the rights Telltale had to The Walking Dead property were bought by Skybound Games last year. They then could finish development of The Walking Dead: The Final Season with former Telltale developers. Also, a Stranger Things game that Telltale was working on at the time of its shut down is not up for grabs, since rights to the game reverted to Netflix.

Furthermore, sources told IGN that “Minecraft went to Microsoft, Marvel went back to Marvel, [The Walking Dead] went to Skybound,” confirming that Minecraft: Story Mode and Guardians of the Galaxy are also among Telltale’s licensed properties that LCG will not be able to use (unless they go about acquiring those rights from the original IP holders themselves).

Additionally, the rights to Tales From the Borderlands reverted to Gearbox and 2K Games following Telltale’s collapse, so it’s unlikely that LCG was able to buy those rights in their Telltale package deal either. Considering the vast majority of Telltale’s catalog was made up of licensed properties, it’s not entirely clear just how much of those properties LCG has access to, aside from the four confirmed properties.

It is unclear how much of Telltale’s properties LCG will be able to use. It’s also strange to call this new studio the “new Telltale” since only features a few, if any, people who were involved with the original Telltale Games. Neither Ottilie nor Waddle ever worked for Telltale, and the new Malibu office is quite far from the San Rafael office Telltale was based.

Ottilie states that the “new Telltale” is “going to stay small over the next six months,” with the possibility of hiring some former Telltale employees on a freelance basis, with the possibility to move to full-time positions in the future. However, IGN’s sources also state that “the new Telltale has contracted some former employees from production management and release support” and that “no creatives or game designers have returned to Telltale Games at this time.” Further, none of Telltale’s executives will be returning to the “new Telltale,” though some have been “consulted in an unofficial capacity.”


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