As someone who finds the business side of the gaming industry just as, if not more, interesting than a great deal of its entertainment stories, the Verge’s deep dive story into the rise, fall, and reformation of Telltale Games is excellent.
With the recent release of Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier of Kotaku fame, and Significant Zero by video game writer Walt Williams, we’ve seen quite a bit more behind the curtain of these companies. The long hours, the brutality of The Crunch, and all the insanity that ends up as a sprite on your screen are no longer industry secrets.
This article details the fast rise of Telltale off the success of the first Walking Dead game, the growing pains and staff departures that typically follow, and the realization that something had to change dramatically to keep the company alive.
The story of Telltale — its rise, decline, and potential reformation — is not just the story of the missteps of one studio. It’s a shocking window into the $36 billion video game industry (which is now so large and lucrative that it rivals the film industry), and how its worst practices can grind down and burn out even the most devoted and valuable employees.
This piece is huge, exhaustively researched, and well worth the time.