Telltale Games will move forward as planned with Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix, despite the studio’s majority closure.
The gaming company, which has been behind such titles as The Wolf Among Us and the popular The Walking Dead adventure series, laid off almost all of its staff this week, following a period of financial struggle for the company and what it has called “insurmountable challenges”. The surprise announcement was made at the end of this week, leaving hundreds sadly unemployed, just days before the second episode of its final season of The Walking Dead (Suffer the Children) was set to launch. The rest of the final season is uncertain.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course,” said Telltale CEO Pate Hawley in a statement. “Unfortunately, we ran out of time trying to get there. We released some of our best content this year and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, but ultimately, that did not translate to sales. With a heavy heart, we watch our friends leave today to spread our brand of storytelling across the games industry.”
25 employees now remain at the company to “fulfil the company’s obligations to its board and partners”. Those obligations essentially comprise Minecraft: Story Mode, a Netflix title that was announced earlier this year. The five-episode interactive series was planned to debut in autumn, developing Netflix’s growing experimentation with interactive programming. The pair also announced a game based on Stranger Things, but this has now been cancelled at Telltale.
“We are saddened by the news about Telltale Games – they developed many great games in the past and left an indelible mark in the industry,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. “Minecraft: Story Mode is still moving forward as planned. We are in the process of evaluating other options for bringing the Stranger Things universe to life in an interactive medium.”
Netflix teams up with Telltale for Stranger Things game and Minecraft series
14th June 2018
Netflix and Telltale Games are teaming up for a number of new projects, including a video game based on Stranger Things and a new series based on Minecraft.
The line between video game and streaming entertainment is an ever-shifting one, as games feature increasingly cinematic visuals and cut-scenes, and streaming platforms explore the possibilities of interactive storytelling. Last year, Netflix premiered multiple interactive narrative series, including Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile, Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, and Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale. Viewer decisions at crucial parts in the story can then choose how the story unfolds, and even how it ends. HBO, too, released Mosaic, a new story from Steven Soderbergh that premiered in the form an interactive app that allowed audiences to dictate the murder mystery’s plot and conclusion. Minecraft, meanwhile, has debuted its own Story Mode game, which follows a similar format, and The Walking Dead also has its own interactive game available on multiple platforms (including Amazon’s Fire TV).
Now, Minecraft: Story Mode is coming to Netflix, in the form a five-episode interactive series. It will debut on the service this autumn.
“We’re delighted by the response we’re seeing to the idea of Minecraft: Story Mode coming to Netflix in the fall as an interactive adventure,” Telltale said in a statement to Deadline.
TechRadar was the first to break news of Telltale and Netflix’s partnership, although is misreported several key details. Now, Netflix has clarified to the site that Netflix and Telltale are also teaming up for a Strangers Thing game. While this stems from the same agreement between the tech firms, the game will not be on Netflix, but a more traditional game on other platforms.
“We don’t have any plans to get into gaming. There’s a broad spectrum of entertainment available today. Games have become increasingly cinematic, but we view this as interactive narrative storytelling on our service,” said Netflix in a statement.
“We’re thrilled to confirm that Telltale is developing a game based on Stranger Things that we’ll publish to consoles and computers at a later date,” added Telltale.