Statement on the Telltale Layoffs
As many of you are aware, Telltale has recently laid off approximately 250 workers, retaining only 25 staff to ‘fulfill the company's obligations to the board and partners.’ The situation is heartbreaking, but not unfamiliar – this is a problem endemic in the industry. Hundreds of workers are being denied pay and healthcare without notice or severance, left vulnerable in an area with an extremely high cost of living. Some of those workers were just recently hired.
Let us be clear. The executives at Telltale are incompetent. They are exploitative. They knew that this was coming and failed to warn anybody. We know that the management disregards their workers. Several reports have continually highlighted the working conditions at Telltale, demonstrating that this is more of the ongoing prioritization of board members and shareholders that has existed since the studio’s founding - always to the detriment of their employees.
To the workers who have been affected - We see you. We are you. We stand together with you. We are here to talk, to listen, to offer whatever support we can, to unite with you. Take the time you need to rest and recover, but know that we are here for you when you need the support. We as workers can forge a better industry with sustainable, fair, and dignified working conditions. An industry that provides safety nets and holds our companies accountable. An industry where no worker lives in fear of being exploited by the executives of the company.
To Telltale’s fans and players - Learn to see the difference between the companies and the workers who make the games. See through the lies created by upper management and know that the workers are being exploited and disregarded. We are as upset about our games being cancelled as you are. Direct your anger at the executives grinding our medium into the ground for profit.
This problem is not isolated to only Telltale or the executives there - this is a problem that we see time and time again throughout the industry; and we will continue to see as long as management is able to take advantage of workers. Just within the past month we’ve seen three major studio closures. The system for creating games is broken, and it will result in the collapse of many other beloved studios in the future.
Unionization can’t fix Telltale after the fact, but it could have prevented so much of the damage to countless workers’ lives by ensuring benefits like severance pay and healthcare that lasts from job to job. We cannot continue to just be reactive to these events, it is a losing battle. We can’t just send out job lists after every major studio closure. We have to be proactive. We have to be unionized before these disasters escalate too far. Please, get involved, start organizing your coworkers and reach out to us for help and support.
As long as workers are isolated from each other when standing up against exploitative patterns within management, we as an industry will suffer. We are here to unite workers - to leverage our collective strength to make a difference in the industry. We stand with the staff who have been thrown aside by Telltale’s management and are here to help in any way that we can. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Twitter - we want to hear your story. In solidarity, Game Workers Unite