Telltale Games: Everything We Know About What Happened

Telltale Games made the announcement on Friday, September 21, that it was enacting a “majority studio closure. This resulted in hundreds of jobs being lost at the San Rafael, California-based studio behind adventure games in the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Batman universes.

It was a sad and shocking announcement that sent waves through the industry. How could this have happened and what happens next? We’ve put together a roundup and timeline to help you get up to speed on all the important developments so far. We’ll keep updating this post in the days and weeks ahead as new details and information comes to light.

March 2017:

Telltale CEO and founder Kevin Bruner announces he is leaving the company. It is later reported that Bruner was forced out as he clashed with the company’s board of directors. Telltale’s other co-founder, Dan Connors, takes over as CEO.

September 2017:

Telltale hires former Zynga executive Pete Hawley to become the company’s next CEO. Before Zynga, Hawley was a production lead at Fable studio Lionhead, working alongside Peter Molyneux on that series from 1993 to 2003. He then spent time with Sony (2003-2005), then EA (2005 to 2010).

November 2017:

One of Hawley’s first major moves as CEO of Telltale is enacting a huge round of layoffs in which the company cut 25 percent of its workforce, which amounted to around 90 people at the time. The layoffs impacted “all divisions” at Telltale, and were part of Telltale’s ambition to become “more competitive as a developer and publisher”

December 2017:

Telltale’s CEO Pete Hawley talks to GamesBeat about the layoffs and the future of Telltale. He rejects the idea that Telltale is in trouble, stating he feels the company is in “really good shape.” The layoffs were necessarily to help Telltale succeed in the future, Hawley said at the time.

March 2018:

A deeply sourced report from The Verge alleges that Telltale operates under a culture of heavy, expected crunch pushed by toxic management. Among the many shocking claims in the report is that employees worked as many as 18 hours per day for weeks on end.

September 20, 2018:

According to Variety, Telltale management informs employees that its negotiations with media giant AMC for more funding were “going well,” with the company expected to complete the funding process in the coming weeks. There was also reportedly a deal being negotiated with South Korean mobile game giant Smilegate for more funding.

Smilegate and AMC both apparently leave negotiations with Telltale on Thursday, just hours before an eventful Friday. The reports offered no explanation for why AMC and Smilegate left negotiations on the same day. Variety previously reported that movie studio Lionsgate also decided to pull out of a financial deal with Telltale.

September 21, 2018:

According to reports, Telltale Games holds a meeting where it informs more than 200 developers that they were losing their jobs right then and there. According to Variety, employees were given paper paychecks for pay through the end of the day. They reportedly were instructed to leave the building within 30 minutes (employees were allowed back in for a period of three hours on the following Monday to collect personal belongings). The affected staffers received no severance pay, and their health care cover reportedly only extended to the end of the month. Management told employees they should consider applying for unemployment benefits.

Former Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner writes a blog post on his personal website talking about how he clashed with Telltale’s board of directors about the future of the company. He shares no more information about what he and the board disagreed over. Telltale’s board of directors includes Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, and others.

Telltale’s official statement explains that the company is undergoing a “majority studio closure,” with only around 25 people remaining on board to “fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners.” CEO Pete Hawley, who joined Telltale in September 2017, says it was an “incredibly difficult year” filled with “insurmountable challenges” for Telltale. He says he is proud of Telltale’s efforts, but at the end of the day, its efforts “did not translate to sales.”

Dan Connors, Telltale’s co-founder, tells Variety that Telltale had “no choice but to stop production” after it failed to close another round of financing to keep the company afloat. “Sadly, everyone was so focused on doing what was required to keep the company going that when the last potential partner backed out, there were no other options,” he said.

September 24, 2018:

One former Telltale employee, Vernie Roberts Jr., files a class-action lawsuit against Telltale for unpaid wages and benefits that he claims Telltale owes him and other affected staffers. Roberts Jr. claims Telltale violated California’s WARN Act, which states that an employer must provide 60 days written notice about a mass layoff. There are some exceptions to the federal WARN Act. Attorney Richard Hoeg, who is not working on the case, tells GameDaily that Telltale may be able to deem the situation an “unforeseeable business circumstance” to remain in compliance with the WARN Act. However, California a version of the WARN Act unique to the state that does not include the “unforeseeable business circumstance” clause.

Later that day….

Telltale Games announces that “multiple potential partners” expressed some level of interest in helping Telltale to complete and release The Walking Dead: The Final Season. The company shared no information about who these potential partners might be. Additionally, Telltale says it can make no promises about ever releasing Episodes Three and Four. Even if they are released, Telltale warns fans that they might only come out “in some form.”

Also on September 24, Netflix announced that it is evaluating its options to continue production on Telltale’s Stranger Things game with a different partner. The streaming giant also confirmed that it plans to go ahead with releasing Minecraft: Story Mode on Netflix as planned.

September 25, 2018:

The Walking Dead: The Final Season’s second episode launches as planned, but it’s not the only major development this day. The game’s $20 season pass, which provides access to episodes 1-4, was removed from sale on all major digital storefronts including PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A statement from Telltale says the company is pausing sales until further notice.

Some other notes and notable facts

  • Telltale was founded in 2004 by former LucasArts developers Kevin Bruner, Dan Connors, and Troy Molander.
  • Telltale’s publicly disclosed funding partners included the venture capital firms IDG Ventures and Granite Ventures, along with the film company Lionsgate.
  • Of the seven named executives on Telltale’s management website, four, including Hawley, are former Zynga higher-ups.
  • Telltale has not filed for bankruptcy.
  • There is no word yet as to what will happen with the previously announced second season of Telltale’s Wolf Among Us.
  • Telltale also operates a publishing division that is behind the upcoming adventure game Stranded Deep from a two-person studio in Australia. The developer, Beam Team Games, does not know if it will be able to release the game on console in October as planned.
  • Telltale plans to provide a deeper update on its portfolio in the coming weeks.

Go to Source
Author: Eddie Makuch

Powered by WPeMatico

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Revamps Squad System In New Update; Here Are The Full Patch Notes

A new update for Star Wars Battlefront 2 has addressed some of the game’s multiplayer concerns. The most notable change patches the Squad System, but the update addresses a few other concerns and also adds new content.

If you’re playing with a group of friends, you will be automatically placed in a squad together. The new Squad System promises to load you back into your group more quickly after your soldier is killed. Upon death, you will be able to toggle between all your surviving squad members to decide who you want to respawn on. If you’re playing solo, you’ll just be thrown into a random squad, but you’ll still be able to choose who you spawn on between each death. The new Squad System also allows you and a friend to play in private two vs. two Hero Showdown matches.

More Clone Wars-themed content has been added to Battlefront 2 as well. You can now change your Republic Army soldiers to appear as the Jedi Master Windu’s 91st Mobile Reconnaissance Corps or Jedi Master Plo Koon’s 104th “Wolf Pack” Battalion. The former was first seen in Star Wars The Clone Wars animated series, while the latter first appeared in Revenge of the Sith before also appearing in The Clone Wars. Wolf Pack’s leader, Commander Wolffe, also appeared in Star Wars Rebels.

Additional details about changes to the Squad System and new Clone Wars content can be found on Battlefront 2’s blog, including how the game will handle ping site connections going forward. We’ve outlined the major bug fixes included in the new update below.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Battlefront 2 September Update Patch Notes

Features

  • Added ability to get into squads and spawn on squad members on Galactic Assault and Strike
  • Improved screen flow for quicker spawning in all modes where Squad Spawn is not present

Quality of Life

  • More dynamic change of characters shown on the Home and Career screens, due to implementation of backend ability to change those in a live environment
  • Implemented various stability fixes for the End of Round (EOR) Matchmaking
  • Improved the way the game client looks for an online game, by adding an automated Default option for the best Ping site, as well as simplifying the choice of sites in the menu.

Hero Changes

Leia Organa

  • Fixed an issue where Leia’s Alternate Fire ability could damage a player piloting the AT-ST

Vehicle Changes

U-Wing

  • Fixed an issue where the “Repair” ability would not properly activate

Lando’s Millennium Falcon

  • Fixed an issue where the Tactical Jammer ability would have no effect on Lando’s Millennium Falcon

Classes & Special Units Changes

Officer

  • Fixed an issue that would prevent the Disruption ability to trigger in sync with the animation

Heavy

  • Removed the ability of Ion Turrets to lock and fire on troopers, as requested by the community
  • Reduced the damage done by the Ion Torpedo for better balancing

Game Mode Changes

Galactic Assault

  • Implemented backend timers that allow tweaking of the objective duration on Galactic Assault in a live environment

Hero Starfighters

  • Added animations to further enhance the look and feel of the game mode’s widget

Strike

  • Fixed a spelling issue in one of the objective texts

Map Changes

Jakku

  • Fixed an issue where heroes could hide or get stuck behind metal barriers on Jakku

Endor

  • Fixed an issue that would leave players stuck between tree and mountain assets

Takodana

  • Fixed an issue where the chicken near the East Turbolaser would not be fleeing from the player

General Changes

  • Added Ewok Hunt and Extraction-based challenges to the list of Daily Challenges
  • Removed Hero Showdown-based challenges “Perfect Together” and “Vader and Kylo”, based on player feedback that they are too hard to achieve in an online environment
  • Fixed an issue where Iden’s character and description text would be missing from the Campaign’s spawn and customization screen
  • Fixed an issue where players would not be able to change their Clone Trooper appearances during the pre-round screens on games taking place on Kashyyyk and Kamino
  • Added additional UI effects when unlocking an Emote, Victory Pose or Appearance from the menu
  • Increased the maximum numbers of players in a group to 20, and the maximum number of players who can play together to 8
  • Fixed an issue where the button to get more Crystals would not show up in the Emotes and Victory Poses screens
  • Adjusted the “Saviour Kill” stat, so that it tracks relevant kills from the whole team and not just the squad members
  • This update will automatically disable CrossFire functionality for players with AMD Graphics Cards running on Windows 8 / 8.1, due to lack of support for multi-GPU with the specified operating system and GPU vendor.
  • Fixed an issue where the Resourceful Star Card wouldn’t correctly lower the ability cooldown when used.

Go to Source
Author: Jordan Ramée

Powered by WPeMatico

Hackers Already Added More Games To Switch Online’s NES Lineup

Apparently, hacking into Nintendo Switch Online and adding your own ROMs isn’t as hard as you might think. In fact, it’s easy enough that most people would be able to do it.

According to Polygon, Switch Online is so exploitable because the service is using the same type of easily hackable emulation software that Nintendo implemented in the NES Classic and SNES Classic consoles. One of the hackers who’s already added their own ROMs to Nintendo Switch Online, kapu, told Polygon that setting everything up takes a bit of work, but is manageable with instructions. After that setup, it’s “insanely easy to swap out ROMs and add entirely new ones.”

“I have serious doubts that it points to any vulnerabilities,” he added, “I’d say it’s just a side-effect of making it easy on [Nintendo] to add more games as they officially release more, thus making it easy for modders as well.” As he considers this exploit to be nothing more than a simple oversight on Nintendo’s part, kapu advises against trying the hack yourself. Nintendo might patch Switch Online in the future, and possibly even ban players who utilize the hack from being able to play online. For now, the ball is in Nintendo’s court, and everyone will have to wait and see how the company addresses this development.

Until then, there are 20 NES games on Switch Online already, with another nine scheduled to launch on the service before the end of 2018. Pre-orders for Nintendo’s NES-style Joy-Con controllers are also available if you want to fully capture the nostalgic experience of playing these classic games. The controllers are expected to ship in mid-December 2018.

Go to Source
Author: Jordan Ramée

Powered by WPeMatico

Xbox One Gaining Mouse And Keyboard Support

Microsoft has announced that Xbox One consoles will soon enable mouse and keyboard support. The company followed up with another announcement that it would be partnering with Razer to bring players additional mouse and keyboard options.

In the announcement, Microsoft added that mouse and keyboard support would be case-by-case with the choice of implementing it completely up the developers. No update is going to add mouse and keyboard support to every existing title on Xbox One. Developers will either need to patch in an update or include it in future games.

Warframe has already been confirmed as one of the first games on Xbox One to receive a patch that will allow you to play with a mouse and keyboard. Microsoft hasn’t announced when the patch will be ready, just that it’s arriving “in the coming weeks.”

For now, mouse and keyboard functionality on Xbox One is only available for players who are a part of the Xbox Insider program. Xbox Insider allows you to test out new system updates for Xbox One consoles before they officially release for the public. Occasionally, Insiders will be able to test new features and games that are coming to Xbox One or Windows 10 PCs as well. You can head to Microsoft’s website to join Xbox Insider.

Microsoft has also announced a global Xbox celebration event, called X018, will be taking place in Mexico City on November 10-11. There aren’t many details about the event yet, but Microsoft said it will feature the “largest live Inside Xbox episode ever.”

Go to Source
Author: Jordan Ramée

Powered by WPeMatico

The end of Instagram as we know it is here

Some time on Monday, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger appear to have snapped.

Tensions between the Instagram founders and their parent company had been simmering for months. But tensions are the default state at any company that has been acquired, and Systrom and Krieger had navigated those waters ably for six years.

High-level corporate executive departures generally — and Facebook departures in particular — are stage-managed to minimize drama. A replacement leader is identified and named internally. A public-relations plan is developed and put into action. An anodyne blog post announces the news. At Facebook, the executive’s departure is accompanied by well wishes, posted as status updates from Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and…

Continue reading…

Go to Source
Author: Casey Newton

Powered by WPeMatico

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes Review: Does The My Hero Movie Go Plus Ultra?

My Hero Academia has made a name for itself within the shonen genre–the young adult focused anime and manga which tend to have lots of action–cementing itself as one of the top shonen manga and anime resonating with both Eastern and Western audiences. So, it’s about time that My Hero would get the feature film treatment. Most of the film takes place in between Seasons 2 and 3 of the anime, while the U.A. students are on Summer Break. While it offers a fun adventure, ultimately it suffers from the same issue as many anime films based on an ongoing shonen property: The characters aren’t allowed to grow, the story is self-contained and never expands on the full narrative of the show, and it all ends up feeling like an expanded filler episode of the show.

My Hero focuses on the hero-in-training Izuku Midoriya, whose dream is to grow up and be just like the hero he idolizes, All Might. However, at a young age, Midoriya discovers he lacks any “quirks,” My Hero’s term for superhero powers, and thus his dream is dashed. That is, however, until on a chance encounter with All Might, the hero passes his powers along to Midoriya, and Midoriya is given the opportunity to enroll at the elite hero training high school, U.A. The show then follows him and his classmates as they train their skills to enter into the professional world of heroes.

The film starts strong, showing a flashback to All Might’s past, which, while well known to heroes of My Hero’s Universe, is almost entirely unknown to the audience. Here we see him working side-by-side with the American student and scientist David Shield, as All Might is studying as an exchange student in California. In fact, it’s the same sequence we saw teased at the beginning of Episode 58 of Season 3, when the U.A. teachers catch a special about All Might’s “Young Age Period” on TV.

It’s also worth noting that — thanks to a translated interview from “Toho Cinema T. Magazine” by twitter user @aitaikimochii — My Hero creator Kohei Horikoshi has confirmed that this is all canon, stating he always wanted to include a chapter about All Might’s past, but wasn’t sure how to bring it up in the Manga, and this was the perfect opportunity to showcase it.

After this intro, the film returns to the present day immediately after the end of Episode 58, with All Might dragging Midoriya to I-Island, a mobile man-made island where the world’s best scientists develop life-changing products. Unlike mainland Japan, here people are freely allowed to use their quirks in public without any type of license.

Midoriya and All Might meet up with David Shield and his daughter, Melissa, who just like Midoriya was born quirkless. Of course, somehow all of Midoriya’s U.A. classmates make it there as well, and the group enjoys the delights of the island until villains inevitably appear.

No Caption Provided

It’s during this portion the film falls into a classic trap shonen films tend to have. Because the film is set in between Seasons 2 and 3, as an audience member I already know nothing is allowed to happen. None of the characters will have any true character development throughout the 96 minute run, nothing a character gains will last, and no major story elements can possibly take place. There were certain important items the characters received in the movie that I immediately knew would somehow have to disappear by the end, as they don’t show up in Season 3. Sadly, this ends up making the movie predictable.

What you end up with feels like a 96 minute long filler episode. That’s not to say the film is bad–the story is still by Kohei Horikoshi, and it’s written by Yosuke Kuroda, who’s the writer of the anime adaptation. But in some ways it feels more like a generic template for a story than one that’s been fleshed out with nuance and details. The show normally charges forward with constant surprises and major character defining moments, but every character in the movie acts exactly as you would expect them to.

Two Heroes is a missed opportunity. It could have been used to showcase All Might’s past, or even some of the other major heroes such as Endeavor or Midnight during their glory days. I would love to have seen what the world looked like when All For One was fully at power, and the kind of crimes the heroes had to stop.

But these are still fun characters to spend time with. So while I can complain about the lack of character growth, or how meaningless the adventure might feel in the grand scheme of the show, it’s still a chance to spend more time with Midoriya, Bakugo, and the crew–and that’s always a plus. Both David and Melissa Shield are likable new characters whose motivations we can quickly understand and empathize with. In fact, I would love to see them introduced into the show and manga at some point. We also get a few more moments from my boy Denki Kaminari. He’s not the most popular character, but I’ll take what I can get.

All of this culminates in a series of spectacular battles with the finale in particular showcasing a top-notch use of colors and animation techniques to create incredibly fluid action set pieces. While the animation is generally on par with the show, that’s certainly not a bad thing, and all of the battles are an absolute blast to watch.

While My Hero Academia: Two Heroes may not hit “Plus Ultra” levels of excitement, and it never matches the highest moments of the show, if you’re looking for a fun extra dose of My Hero, Two Heroes is certain to satisfy that craving.

The Good The Bad
Animation and action are on par with the show No major character moments or important story elements
Most of your favorite characters are back Character writing feels like it was lifted from a template
The new characters are likable and well developed The story is predictable
It’s more My Hero Feels like a long filler episode from the show

Go to Source
Author: Dave Klein

Powered by WPeMatico

Microsoft Announces Big Xbox X018 Event This November

Microsoft is hosting a big Xbox event later this fall. During the latest episode of Inside Xbox, the company announced a new fan event dubbed X018–a “global celebration of all things Xbox” scheduled to take place in Mexico City on November 10-11.

Microsoft hasn’t announced many details about what fans can expect from X018 yet, but the publisher says it will feature the “largest live Inside Xbox episode ever.” The event will be broadcast online and will provide news, first looks, and surprises, although the publisher didn’t delve into any specifics as to what those could be.

Fans who can’t attend X018 in-person will be able to follow along with the event live via the company’s Mixer streaming service. The aforementioned episode of Inside Xbox is scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 10, running from 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET to 3 PM PT / 6 PM ET. You can read more about X018 on Microsoft’s official website.

This marks the first big Xbox event Microsoft has hosted since the company’s E3 2018 press conference. This year, the publisher took a different approach than it traditionally has, moving almost the entirety of its showing out of the Los Angeles Convention Center–where E3 is traditionally hosted–to the nearby Microsoft Theater in LA Live. Microsoft also held Xbox FanFest events throughout E3 that gave fans the chance to go hands-on with game demos and more. The use of the X018 name hearkens to a series of events the company hasn’t held in years.

Go to Source
Author: Kevin Knezevic

Powered by WPeMatico

Exclusive Fortnite skin for new Xbox bundle makes makes you look like an Xbox

Microsoft is following Nintendo with its very own Fortnite console bundle that comes with a 1TB white Xbox One S, some free in-game currency, and a full-game download of Epic Games’ battle royale hit. (Of course, the game is free for everyone, but Microsoft is still touting the game download as a bundle perk.) The more rewarding aspects of the bundle, however, are the exclusive skin, pickaxe, and glider.

It’s called the Eon skin, and it comes with a Epic Aurora glider, and Rare Resonator pickaxe. Visually, it makes you look like a giant humanoid Xbox controller pretty much. Or a silver Master Chief, if you’re being a bit more generous. The whole bundle goes for $299.99, so a solid deal for a 1TB Xbox One S.

Since Samsung tied its Galaxy…

Continue reading…

Go to Source
Author: Nick Statt

Powered by WPeMatico