After the awful demise of Telltale Games last year, the majority of the staff was left out in the cold, and the fate of the current season of The Walking Dead was up in the air. Many months later, this last season is back on track at a different company, and some ex-Telltalers are ready to finish what they started. Episode 3: Broken Toys will launch on January 15th on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.
When the closure announcement was made in September, only a single episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season had been released. The second episode had been completed before the team was tossed out, but there was a chance that the remaining two episodes would never see the light of day. And since some of us had already paid for the entire season, that was more than a little concerning.
Thankfully, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Games was able to acquire the tools, assets, and rights to finish the last two episodes of the season. Even better, some of the game’s original developers were able to land jobs on this new team. The story that started nearly seven years ago will get to be wrapped up properly instead of being left to flap in the breeze.
Our sister site IGN has been particularly critical of the first two episodes with one earning an Okay 6.5/10 and the other receiving a Mediocre 5/10. Reviewer Cassidee Moser simply isn’t much of a fan of this season – citing a dull plot and a formulaic structure.
However, the metascore for the first episode on PC is 76/100, and the second episode is sitting at 69/100. Outlets like Gaming Age and DualShockers were much more positive overall. It seems that those reviewers resonated much more with the suspenseful aspects, so it’s hard to assemble much of a real critical consensus.
I’ve played Telltale’s Walking Dead games over the better part of the 2010s, and I ended up enjoying the first half of the Final Season much more than I anticipated. After Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman left to form Campo Santo, the series fell into a kind of slump, but the phrase “Return to form” is a go-to when describing the tail end of Telltale’s output. Sadly, it makes me yearn for what might have been.
However, it’s worth clarifying here that the wellbeing of the employees impacted by the Telltale debacle is far more important than the continuation of this episodic video game. It’s nice that Skybound is able to make good on the rest of the season, but we should never lose track of how devastating it has been for the staff to abruptly lose their income and their medical coverage. Hopefully, the industry takes steps to ensure more protections for workers in the years ahead.
[Image credit: Telltale/Skybound]
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