In what should be a celebration, Telltale have announced that the third episode of Batman: The Enemy Within, their second Batman season, will be available next Tuesday November 21. But as exciting as that is (the previous two episodes were excellent), it's tempered by the knowledge that 90 Telltale employees, a quarter of the company, were let go last week. Now they've spoken out about the "deeply disruptive" practices that lead to these mass layoffs.
USGamer spoke to several employees who described the odd management decisions and lack of time every project at the company has had since their breakout hit with The Walking Dead. Sources in the company talked about how management would make wild, sweeping, or inconsistent decisions that affected the games and employees alike.
Another source said:
"So much effort was spent reacting to reactions, and the notes would be wildly different every time. So a lot of time it resulted in schizophrenic Episodes cobbled together via contrary notes."
This combined with the antiquated Telltale Tool engine, which the company has been using since 2005, lead to a culture of "churn and burn" as one employee calls it, and consequently a stressful work environment where games sometimes couldn't be as good as they could've been.
At the time of the layoffs, Telltale issued a statement on how they were focusing on "delivering fewer, better games with a smaller team" along with "more proven technologies that will fast-track innovation in its core products as it works with new partners to bring its games to new audiences." This could mean a lot of things, but hopefully it will at least result in a technology boost for the company. While Telltale are an excellent Episodic game storyteller who know their craft well and continue to make their gameplay choices feel important, they really need to make their games more visually impressive too.
Batman: The Enemy Within Episode 3 - Fractured Mask will be out November 21 and we'll have a full review. We loved the last two episodes, but we try not to think about how much more cinematic they'd look with a better graphics engine behind them.
As Telltale announces the release of Batman: The Enemy Within Episode 3, employees speak out about "deeply disruptive" practices
15 November 2017 | By Chris J Capel