Telltale Games, the struggling company behind The Walking Dead video game series, was working on a procedurally generated, narrative-driven zombie game. That’s according to freelance writer and game designer Alexis Kennedy, who said that Telltale wanted to up its game with a new way of telling stories before its huge staff lay-off.
Kennedy was enlisted by Telltale to help create a new style of storytelling, which involved giving players more control over their individual tales. Work had apparently begun at the start of 2017 but was canceled in March of this year.
“While I was at BioWare, this was early 2017 I think, Telltale approached me because they wanted some consultancy on a specific narrative, procedurally generated thing,” Kennedy told VG247. “It was a project that had been ongoing for years, with a variety of different people coming and going, to try to find a way to do something different to the usual Telltale approach. Above all, it was something that didn’t require hand-tuned content but allowed room for stuff that emerged naturally from procedural generation.”
Kennedy went on to claim that Telltale just didn’t have the time to push forward with this new approach, and that ultimately the studio’s turnover of episodic content ensured that the project was canceled.
“It’s a hard problem and my strong impression is that there was a significant, long term effort by Telltale to try find another way to do things,” he said. “But given their brutal dev cycle, they could never focus attention on it. It’s really hard to do two kinds of things.”
Telltale let 90% of its staff go last Friday as the company announced a shock majority studio closure. A core team of 25 members have been retained to finish work on The Walking Dead: The Final Season Episode Two and the Netflix commissioned Minecraft: Story Mode project.