Last week, we were met with the unfortunate news of the closing of the adventure game giant Telltale Games. The news itself, came to me as more than a little shocking to say the least, mostly due to the abrupt nature of how the rumors of the closure suddenly popped up and then just like that Telltale had been shut down. As much as I feel that adventure games themselves are in a niche area of the video game market, I can’t shake the feeling that this is news that is worse than it sounds for everybody. See, I personally feel like we lack innovative ideas in the video game market and there’s always been a strong follow the leader mindset where one game doing well will pop up several copy cats that struggle to ever achieve the same height of what made so said copied game popular in the first place. Sure there are some notable success stories, like Fortnite to PUBG or Saints Row to Grand Theft Auto, but the video game market tends to be flooded with very similar ideas for the most part, crushing off any remote strain of personality or thought to creating a new, interesting concept. Telltale, to me, was always one of the more bright points of the modern-day video game industry, always at least attempting to create a rich narrative experience first and foremost, something that is sorely missed in this day and age.
Taking a trip down memory lane, my first experience of even playing a Telltale game came with their 2012 release of The Walking Dead, a series that at the time was still in the rise of its popularity. Even though Telltale had been creating games for longer than this, having been around since 2004, The Walking Dead, to me is where they had become more of a household name. By offering a compelling story and quality interactive gameplay, albeit a bit of illusion in choice in any consequences throughout the story, The Walking Dead season 1 was a fantastic title, one I still have fond memories of to this day, and one that led me to my personal admiration of Telltale as a whole. I remember not being able to get enough of Telltales work after that, shortly after playing the Walking Dead, going out of my way to try one of their older titles, and the vastly under rated episodic adventure Back to the Future: The Game. While I admittedly hadn’t kept up with all of their games in more recent years, I did also find an appreciation in the Wolf Among Us. Yet again, quality work from Telltale, this time based off of the comic book series Fables. All of this makes it harder to accept that a company who had been releasing all of these wonderful titles met such a sad and abrupt demise.
In the end, while we still have other companies like Double Fine Productions and Quantic Dream to fill the void of adventure games, I still feel like the level of quality that Telltale brought to the table is something that is going to be sorely missed as a whole. As someone who was waiting for Telltale’s final season of the Walking Dead to finish its release cycle before giving it a purchase, I also found it disheartening hearing the news that it may never be finished. It’s a shame really, for anyone who bought The Walking Dead’s season pass, as well as someone like myself who was waiting until the whole set was out to play it in one go. I hope from the ashes of Telltale, we see another company rise up to fill in the void that they’re leaving behind. Sure what they released may have been for a niche audience, but Telltales closing is definitely one that stings.