Telltale Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Following Layoffs

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Telltale Games shutting down is a sad situation, but most of the sadness must be reserved for the actual victims - the employees who were overworked and are now unpaid. As a class action lawsuit alleges workplace violations, it's becoming quite clear that Telltale won't leave a positive legacy behind. Source:

Commentary Controversial Controversy Criticism Game Gamer Games Gaming Industry Industry Bullshit Jim Sterling Rant Tellta... Video Game Videogame

When this type of business happens in construction, the heads of the company normally have to move out of state or country for awhile.
Acura Addicted
I hope the laid off devs win and Telltale pays up. What a horrible, terrible management and business practice from the company that developed the greatest most popular TWD based game in the world!
American Marxist
Explorative capitalists, I wouldn’t have expected anything else. When the workplace is run for only profit with no input or control by the workers this is the result.
Andrew Mallie
We will remember that TellTale did that.
Aussie Ace
*Let's all laugh at an industry that never learns anything tee hee hee hee intensifies*
Ava Jarvis
All I have to say is this: even if those employees were hired immediately *today*, they might not get paychecks until November. (Some companies in fact will not pay until the end of November, long past any monthly bill due dates.) Whoever they signed up with would need to give them an immediate hiring bonus for people to make their mortgage payments and/or rent on time. Telltale gave people so little notice that they have completely screwed over 250 people, many of whom may get to deal with the wonders of foreclosure depending on just how evil their bank is. And this is the US, so yeah, evil banks are kind of the default. \n\nNot to mention that such pressure will reduce the bargaining buffer the employees have to make with their next employer, so they're likely to be underpaid for the forseeable future, since wages in the industry are pretty much based on negotiation on hire. If you don't negotiate, like me, you get paid somewhere around $20k to $40k below the industry average for the rest of your career, which will also fuck over any long-term college funds people were trying to save up for their kids.\n\nBasically if Telltale refuses to or is unable to make amends, these families are just *fucked* and it will take years to unfuck, if ever.
Ben Hill
One of the sickest things I think is that the idiots in charge of the so called \
Well I would definitely say that this overworking definitely did not lead to an improvement in their games…. I’m really glad the employees are trying to get justice in all this, they deserve the best
Captain Davian
They've totally got money to give the employees. You think the higher ups lost all their money? Don't count on it. I hope the employees milk them for what their worth.
Welp, I honestly can't say I didn't see this coming. Good on the employees for standing up for themselves and not taking this bullshit. Bankruptcy is one of those weird grey areas we have in this world, so I'm curious to see where it goes. Nonetheless I do hope they get some sort of compensation, because good lord they need it after hearing the horror stories I've heard from some employees for game devs.
Cool Calm Cam
Hope they take Telltale to the cleaners.
Having done the math, based on the sales of their games, and the average cost of running a game business, and what Telltale have said in the past with how many copies they needed to sell to break even. It seems to me as though Telltale kept expanding and hiring more people after they made the first season of The Walking Dead, despite sales of later games being significantly lower. Resulting in them having 200-250 more employees than they could pay with the amount of money they were earning. Who does that? Who keeps expanding when you should clearly be going the opposite direction?
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a company I figured wasn't a pile of crap reminds me it's another corporation with the moral ethic of a guillotine.
You should also comment on how Bethesda, even after Sony says they will play ball with crossplay, still has no plans to support crossplay on Fallout 76, even though they blamed them not having crossplay with that game on Sony's stubborn attitude... Told you guys you were giving Bethesda too much credit with the \
Even if they win, the money will be too little too late for those that need it. They're still in a bad situation where they have to desperately find new work with no prior warning and no current income. The lesson is to always keep options open and some kind of plan B. Of course this also means that any chance of walking dead being finished is going up in smoke, but seeing as how these games are garbage anyway, it almost seems like a fitting end to the series.
Dylan O
Let them burn, and best wishes to the employees that were sucked dry of everything they had.
Telltale still has all its Games, why not have a blowout sale. Package everything they have ever made into a bundle discount it up to 75% off and ask the players to help them. Make a commitment to use these sales to make right by their employees. If they did that i would buy a package, as long as i knew it would go to the severance packages.
Eric Kilkenny
So, like, what's the point of ever paying out your employees as a company as the company fails if you can just keep running it into complete bankruptcy and then moonwalking away? Even with the legal system coming for them, they just get to shrug and say, \
Eville Caston
I guess TTG is keeping a few employees around to finish projects out of obligation. Now I may be a dirty commie clueless millennial for asking this, but isn't it also an obligation to pay your employees? It's the law, but hey, what do I know?
A developer so bad EA can still learn a trick or two from them for grabbing an extra dollar or two from their dying studios.
Good. All I can say. They deserve it; you can't just lay-off employees and not give them severance.
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Money,\nAll for money,\nSave your money,\nHide your money,\nStuff your money,\nHump your money\nKeep your money\nAll for money,
Serves them right. How the hell did they get away with all this crap for so long?
Glenn Griffon
I look forward to hearing from you about all the telltale fans bitching about the workers whining about \
Greg Zemke-Smith
Jim, you need to do a blacklist and a whitelist (or a naughty and nice list) of video game companies. I want to be ethical when buying video games and that means I want to buy video games produced and published by companies that treat and pay workers fairly. But I have no idea who they are. I can't play too many video games these days, so the ones I do play I want to be good games in every respect, not merely good in the product I see on screen.\n\nWhen people go into an industry because they are passionate about the industry, then a lot of these people are really easy for corporate suits to abuse and take advantage of, because they feel so fortunate to be doing something they really love and so they under-monetise their work, because to them the work is the main reward. A person's passion for their chosen art-form should not be weaponised against them.
Wage Theft is the most common crime in business. Best of luck to the employees.
Idiotic Tirades
Telltale has a financial obligation to the customers and employees they stole from. Interesting that this was the first game they released that didn't allow customers the option of buying individual episodes. They knew they were in trouble and might not be able to complete the game yet only offered a season pass.
Working a 40 hour full-time job, 225 employees for the eight weeks ahead of time which they should have been notified, Telltale stole 72,000 hours worth of labour. That's not even adding crunchtime into the mix. Estimating if they all worked at minimum wage Telltale owes at least $800,000 in wages. Of course we know from how they overwork their employees that it's way higher than that...
In The Mind of Kibara
* Telltale will remember this
James Kaplonek
Totally agree with your take on this. It's sad when this happens due to mismanagement.... but it's all too common unfortunately.\n\nI wonder how much pay the execs have taken/are taking? I hope the employees get their fair share, take it out of the bank accounts of the execs and CEO if needed.
Jamie J
Telltale behaved how capitalism encourages employers to behave. What they did is wrong, but if they didn't do it, someone else would be. We should probably put blame and pressure on the system instead of the individuals in it.
Jaydee OldBoy
The TellTale Devs should get together and launch a kickstarter campaign to fund a new game. I would, and i'm certain, many thousands of others, would also be more than willing to throw some money their way, to help them get the project running. With that type of talent, working to their own timescale, without the toxicity; I'm sure they could pull off an awesome game that somewhat resembles the types of work they did at TellTale.
Jeremiah Steele
They could easily have warned their employees at the very least that their continued employment was tentative on them getting this big injection of money.
Jinx Dragon
It is the most common version of wage theft, and so few people even realize they are suffering under it.\n\nI tend to use this explanation: \nThe boss has 10 hours of workload and you have 8 hours to complete this work in... Which of the following do you do: \n1) Complete 8 hours of work and call it a day, with your boss just accepting the consequences of leaving workload unfinished\nB) Complete 10 hours of work, and maybe get a bonus if you are working some-place that isn't exploiting overtime laws as well\n#) Push yourself to complete the 10 hours of work in less then 10 hours, as you want to get your arse home but still keep your job\n\nIf you selected #, congratulations you are like every other working stiff being screwed over by someone who knows the system. Even if you are getting a bonus, there is a good chance you are producing at least half an hours worth of work without being compensated for it. Multiply that action by a few hundred, representing every other working stiff in your company undergoing the same, and wonder just how many managers are counting on you doubling down on your workload just to get home in time to hug your child and eat a meal before passing out. Now consider how many people out there are relent on only their State Laws to get any overtime benefits and wonder just how much money your company *steals* by this phenomenon. \n\nIf you selected B, you are a braver then the majority and really are betting on your company being filled with good people who understand human limitations. Otherwise, expect to be overlooked for promotions and treated as some sort of problem worker by the people in management. As your work existence will be boiled down to a spread sheet, those long hours of over-time might be considered by some as a negative quality. They may not look it as an under-staffed department struggling to make the work-load, but as a single person within that department clocking in 3 times as much over-time as everyone else....\n\nIf you selected 1... guess what, your co-workers absolutely hate you as they have to pick up your slack but... they really wish they could join you, I know... they told me!
Joe M
Good. Someone needs to be held responsible for those 250 employees.
John Smith
Good they deserved to be sued considering what they did to the employees.
Joshua John Granada
I don't know much about US Labor and Corporate law, but dammit if Telltale doesn't deserve it.
Justin Z.
Jim Sterling will remember this.
This is why unions are important
This is why devs need to unionise. Well, everyone regardless of industry does, really. But artistic industries are especially prone to toxic, overwork cultures because of how badly people want to work in them.
Good dont know how they thought they could get away with doing that to there employees. Serves them right
This is not an accident, this is slash n burn evil strategy. Personalize gains socialize losses - right out of their play book. Follow the money and they will be easily found. Hold the robber baron execs accountable for their actions.
WHAT IT DID... to its workers\nI can't unhear it about the whole zhang he fiasco
Let go with no warning, no severance, in San Francisco - notoriously expensive city. Imagine living with that potential scenario hanging over your head every day. Game workers need to unionize.
Lucien Hicks
Lawsuit Among Us looks like it's coming along nicely
The game industry, no, the world needs more workers unionizing and fighting back when corporations pull this kind of bullshit. As someone who has lost their job to a sudden closure of my workplace I really feel for anyone being put in that position.
Lwando Madikizela
TellTale Games arrogance on the success on the Walking dead games has cost them. I hope their former employees win in court for their poor mismanagement and refusing to pay them during the layoff. No sympathy for TellTale on this one.
M. Wells
I don't really understand you all the sudden covering this... we've known TellTale had no idea what they were doing and were horribly mismanaged by the first release of Wolf Among Us. How everyone is acting like it's suddenly news that this happened is silly. Unless you haven't been paying attention the writing has been on the wall for them for quite a while. I'll always remember them for being a horribly mismanaged company because that's all I've really known them as for 5 of the 6 years I knew they existed.
If they can keep a shell company going to finish up another project, then they aren't in \
Mark Abrams
Telltale defending them self by saying the closure was not foreseeble?!\nIf you spend 10 years pumping out games that can be watched on youtube for bassicly the same experience as playing them(without having to fumble with the god damn QTEs)\n, that excuse should not fly with the judge.\nBut then again depending how tech/game savy the judge is, or better the lack of it, they could get through with this crap \u003c.\u003c
Martin Hare
Socialist Jim is a great Jim.
Max O'Byrne
You refused to pay your employees\n\n*they will remember that*
Melon Lord
bet management got their payouts.
I guess you can say treating your workers badly is...\n*puts on shades*\na telltale sign of failure
MissingNO 000
Game Devs should unionize, this shit is unacceptable!
Nefera Cronia
Oblivious Reviews
I was actually really enjoying the final season and how it was coming along- the small scale of the conflict yet the feeling of higher stakes, the character interactions between AJ and Clementine, the larger variety of choice in interacting with your allies, the new combat system...\nBut I'll throw all that away if it means not allowing TellTale to act like this. Laying off your employees without severance pay then considering funding from outside companies is a terrible moral decision that Lilly probably would have made.
OnlyHereFor TheWaifus
Good stop being shitheads to your employees
Ooo Datsgottahurt
Look Jim, you can't afford to pay for upper managements golden parachutes, severance pay for it's employees AND the costs of finishing the projects left over to fulfill their contractual obligations /s
Ophir Klainman
You are the first and only person I've heard taking the management and leadership of Telltale to task - they are the ones purely to blame the company going down and they absolutely owe the back-pay and benefits to the employees they screwed over. Thank you for this video and your perspective - it needs to be brought up more.
Developers across the industry need to unionize to prevent companies from taking such advantage of them again. Extreme overtime hours on a consistent basis, toxic work environments and layoffs as soon as a game goes gold isn’t how a multi-billion dollar industry should be run.
I completely disagree with how TellTale Games has handled this situation. It’s highly unethical; however, severance pay is on a case to case basis; meaning how large your company is, state laws, etc. Now, legally I believe companies are required to provide 60 days notice for layoffs. Also, not paying non-exempt employees for overtime is illegal.
Game devs need to unionize. Crunch time is unethical, and if a game sells gangbusters none of them receive their share
Even if the employees can't get the money back (I hope they do!) it's still very important they get a positive ruling, to at least serve as a warning to other studios thinking of doing things the same way.
Gamers will remember that...
Rodney Jones
But I'm sure the CEO got a pretty big severence check.
Romantic Outlaw
jeez, what did they do with all the walking dead profits? Hookers and blow?
Sadly, I like to think of the company as the workers. I like to think of the employees as the creators of the games. So they were treated badly and had *their* legacies tarnished essentially. Yes the individuals can move on, but thats salt in the wound.
Capitalism is the enemy of art.
Shane Gibson
I requested a refund through microsoft for the complete season. After two emails that the representative claimed that the developer was responsible for the refund. I called microsoft and explained that in the UK the retailer is responsible in this situation. After 3 calls someone understood what I was telling him. However, apparently the \
Good, I hope TTG loses... the way they treated their employees is disgusting...
Stanley Chaney
Free labor. Welcome to America!
Storm Blessed
The higher ups knew that things were not looking good at all when they announced that they were going to start working on Wolf Among Us 2, that’s what really pisses me off.
I love the Dynasty Warrior’s background music ❤️
T Timeler
Telltale... You know what it's called when people work for you and you don't compensate them? It's called slavery. Even if it is 30 minutes of unpaid work, it is a mild form of slavery.
Tab'd 42
They paying the CEO/top management out?\nIf Telltale doesn't have the money, those are the people responsible. Go after them. ESPECIALLY if they are giving themselves severance (or some golden parachute type shit)
The Adventures of Baron Von Hardcharger
Gotta make a union BEFORE they screw you. I don't think this lawsuit will get far in Trump's America....
The Atomic Dom
The video game industry, ladies and gentlemen.
The Living Flame
Ouch. Well... are we surprised here? I hope the employees get what they need and move forward, aint their fault.
it's the classic tale of a runaway double suicide a'la Romeo and Juliet.\nNeither games nor company had to go under, no one wanted them to go under. Yet here we are, both of them dead, and only a vial of poison between them
Troy Adams
Maybe if CEOs were actually held financially responsible for their crimes they'd stop stealing from their workers.
Vasilijan Nikolovski
A reminder why labor-laws are necessary, and Capitalism isn't what's so cracked up to be.
Vokul Marcus
Lmao glad you mentioned where the money would come from. 👌🏼👌🏼 cause TT doesn't have any.
Dead men tell no tale.
Yeah well,that's just, like, your opinion, man
Tales from the Courtroom.
Telltale Bankruptcy Ace Attorney: Walking Simulator coming soon.
Ib4 fans of The Walking Dead Telltale series start insulting the employees because their search for a just treatment and severance compensation is \
Toxic for both the employees and the customers, it's so strange that almost no one is talking about the period of their employees all over twitter attacking fans with the same old \
guy smiley
Conservatives defending companies over workers in 3...2...1...MAGA!
Bybye sammunmaks, Bones, MI5, Strongbad and other of my favourites :,-) Telltale ended for me at Jurassic Park. I loved Walking Dead but it wasn't \
*Your story is tailored by the choices you make*
no, severance is not guaranteed and in fact is actually a function of non-compete clauses is as long as the company is \
Video games, animation, cinema… many \
Wait, the US actually has some labour laws that benefit the workers?
Poor people. I hope they get what they’re owed.
The funniest thing was that Clementine's voice actress was like: What?! They just talked to me about coming in to do lines!\nEdit: Funny weird not funny Haha. Nothing to laugh about all the people losing work.
lets hope the shitty managers get all they deserve, but unfortunately they will just go to some other company and try the same shit again...
【Vocaloid English】
I doubt the CEO is losing any sleep over this closure.