Last week, fans and the wider games industry were shocked by Telltale Games’ announcement that it would be reducing its staff size by 90%, effectively shutting the studio down. Questions were raised such as how the developer got to this point and what would happen to its employees. Another question asked by many is what would happen to the games Telltale had in development.
While the future of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is currently unclear, one game that does have some sort of future is Telltale’s Stranger Things game. Details were scarce about the game, which is based on Netflix’s hit sci-fi television show, but many fans of both the show and Telltale titles had been looking forward to it. Telltale’s closure had cast doubt on the project but in a statement, Netflix says that it is “in the process of evaluating other options for bringing the Stranger Things universe to life in an interactive medium.”
At this point, it’s unclear exactly what that means. Netflix is no stranger to having worked on Stranger Things video games. In addition to the virtual reality title for PlayStation VR, there was also a retro-themed game which released on iOS and Android devices last year. However, it is not yet known whether Netflix plans to make this game in-house, hiring its own development staff, or whether it will seek other game development partners to replace Telltale.
It’s also unknown whether Netflix will keep Telltale’s progress on the Stranger Things game or whether it will scrap it and start over. Telltale had put a significant amount of work into the game, having chosen to replace its old game engine for the project. But of course, if the project is changing hands, other teams may want to use their own game development engines, meaning they will have to start over or make some major changes.
Another point for consideration is the leaked gameplay footage of Telltale’s Stranger Things that is now doing the rounds online. Fans seem to be responding positively to leaked footage, saying that it would have been nice for Telltale to complete its work and release the game.
This may force Netflix’s hand to use the existing assets as a foundation for the project. A dramatic shift in development risks disappointing fans eager to take on the world of Stranger Things in Telltale’s vision, so the media company may be inclined to keep working on what’s already been made. The Stranger Things game saga is far from over in any case, so fingers crossed Netflix will share more about its plans soon.