Despite the shock layoffs at Telltale Games last week, the planned Stranger Things game may still be going ahead. Netflix is apparently “evaluating other options” and still has plans for a game to happen based on the popular series, which currently has a third season in production.
Telltale Games announced last Friday that most of its staff would be let go and rumors say all projects in development were effectively canceled. While the abrupt halt to The Walking Dead: The Final Season was terrible for anyone who bought the game since only two episodes would be released, the cancellation of the planned Stranger Things game was perhaps sadder. It was meant to be the first game to use Telltale’s new engine, and so hopefully would herald a new lease of life for the studio.
News of Telltale’s demise comes not even a year after 90 staff members were laid off in November 2017. At the time those employees represented around 25 percent of the studio’s staff and were part of a major restructuring that was touted to make the company more competitive.
However, increasing competition in the revitalized adventure genre, as well as declining interest in Telltale’s productions, didn’t turn around in light of last year’s restructuring. Though there had been rumors of internal strife at Telltale, such a radical decline came as a shock to the industry as a whole.
Now, according to Polygon, Netflix says that it still plans for there to be a Stranger Things game, just without Telltale. “We are saddened by the news about Telltale Games,” Netflix said in a statement to Polygon. “We are in the process of evaluating other options for bringing the Stranger Things universe to life in an interactive medium.” There were no other details on how this is to be accomplished, or even if the Stranger Things game would be an adventure game of the sort Telltale were known for.
Netflix did confirm, however, that its other Telltale collaboration Minecraft: Story Mode would still be going ahead. The remaining staff at Telltale, around 25 people, will all be working on Minecraft for release this year, as an interactive adventure released on the Netflix service itself.
The Stranger Things game was announced in June and was presumably due for release next year, as a proper PC/console title rather than via Netflix. It was planned to use the Unity engine, rather than the aging Telltale Tool that had been used to power all the studio’s games since it opened in 2005.
Multiple other planned titles have been affected by Telltale’s woes as well. The long-awaited second season of The Wolf Among Us was in production and some unannounced games have also been reportedly canceled.