Skybound Make Deal to Finish The Walking Dead, Seeking Original Developers

By Sam Quirke, 6 months ago
Unless you've been hibernating from video games news for the last month, you will know that The Walking Dead: The Final Season is currently unfinished with its future uncertain after renowned narrative studio Telltale Games effectively closed for business overnight, sacking over 200 employees without warning or severance. The drama has continued since, with Telltale claiming last minute investments may help the company complete the last two episodes of Clementine's journey, though this news was later confused by more staff layoffs, a class-action lawsuit and the Final Season vanishing from the PlayStation Store without warning.

The latest news is that Robert Kirkman's studio Skybound Interactive is now looking to finish off Clementine's story, and is actively seeking some of the displaced developers from Telltale in order to give the series the most authentic send-off possible. Kirkman said as much to fans at this year's New York Comic Con, backed up by this tweet from the official Twitter page for the studio:

In case you weren't aware, Robert Kirkman is the original author of The Walking Dead, the comic which the television series is somewhat based on. Telltale's series is set in that same universe but has typically featured brand new characters (aside from spin-off series The Walking Dead: Michonne). Kirkman's Skybound entertainment corporation hasn't developed games internally before and according to this Variety interview with Skybound Interactive president Dan Murray, it's not the start of a long-term commitment to the industry or building a studio.

We discussed it, but our company is built around creators, doing whatever we can and working with a creator’s IP to extend it outward. Bringing on a whole team is a big initiative and something we weren’t prepared for.
Skybound's intention, according to Murray, has very little to do with Telltale Games and much more to do with the fans and the displaced developers. Here's the full quote from the Variety interview, which indicates that supporting the game's creators is far more important than supporting their near-defunct former employer:

We are doing our best to take care of the people. Our intent is to work with the original team but there are a lot of moving parts. I don’t want to get into the specifics around the deal itself, but I will say this: We are doing everything we can to do right by the people making the game. There’s not a huge upside for the corporate entity of Telltale Games.

This has nothing to do with Telltale Games and everything to do with the people involved with making ‘The Walking Dead’ game and trying to take care of them in the meantime the best way we can. That’s the process we are in: Save the game for the fans and provide at least a runway to the team as we finish off the game. This has everything to do with the people who are making the game, and the fans.
At the moment, there has been no confirmation of what form this new deal might take, what content might be produced and who might be involved. It certainly doesn't appear that any of the former developers have jumped on board with this new project as yet. We'll keep you updated as the story develops.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been gaming long enough to know the pain of a failed DOS install on the fifth floppy disc. When not hopelessly lost in the latest open-world epic, Sam is busy devouring books of all genres or trading Pokémon with his wife.