Telltale Games had an innovative zombie game in the works that was cancelled last year, a former employee said.
VG247 shared a story on Monday that discussed the unreleased zombie game that was allegedly cancelled in March. Citing an interview with game creator and writer Alexis Kennedy who was responsible for Cultist Simulator and did freelance work on Dragon Age 4, the article said that Kennedy was asked by Telltale Games for "consultancy on a specific narrative, procedurally generated thing." Referring to it as a project that had been years in the making with people coming and going to work on the project, Kennedy said that workers were looking for "a way to do something different to the usual Telltale approach."
Saying that the game was planned for a mobile release while also being considered for other platforms, Kennedy said that it would've included m ore gameplay and "wouldn't require a narrative designer and a writer to fine-tune every single scene." It also would've stuck to Telltale's signature art style that's seen in the rest of the studio's games.
Two days after the story was published, former Telltale employee Stacey Mason who worked with on research and development with the studio said that some parts of the article were correct, but said that there was "a lot" wrong. She said that the project was scrapped not in March but last year when the R&D team was cut and discussed some of the changes happened when "Pete" stepped in, an apparent reference to Pete Hawley, the former Zynga executive who took over as Telltale's CEO in September 2017. Criticism levied against Telltale Games sometimes include suggestions that the studio wasn't being innovative and was relying on the same formula with different IPs, a claim that she said was frustrating to hear since Telltale did have projects in motion like the unreleased zombie game.
So this story is partly right but gets a lot wrong. The project was cancelled when the R&D dept was cut last year. We were in production. I was the creative lead and a lot of talented people were working on it. //t.co/o7u7YblUjm— 𝚂𝚝𝚊𝚌𝚎𝚢 𝙼𝚊𝚜𝚘𝚗 @ #ghc18 (@stcymsn) September 26, 2018
But this is why it frustrates me so much to hear all of the “Telltale wasn’t innovating” takes. We were, actually. Radically. But Pete had hard decisions to make when he came in.— 𝚂𝚝𝚊𝚌𝚎𝚢 𝙼𝚊𝚜𝚘𝚗 @ #ghc18 (@stcymsn) September 26, 2018
Telltale Games is currently facing a class-action lawsuit for the mass layoffs that saw approximately 275 people lose their jobs, but the studio says that it's still exploring options to have the rest of The Walking Dead: The Final Season completed.