The gaming world was rocked in September of last year when Telltale Games, a studio responsible in part for the modern resurgence of narrative-focused, choice-based experiences, announced that it would be closing its doors. It was a move that nobody at the time saw coming, but ex-Telltale devs have banned together to reignite fan interest in that uniquely-engaging style of play.
Recently, a group of four Telltale veterans announced the founding of a new development house. Appropriately named AdHoc Studio, extricated writers Michael Choung, Nick Herman, Dennis Lenart, and Pierre Shorette will be returning to the surprisingly popular narrative video game niche. Three of these four exited Telltale in February of 2017 to join Ubisoft, while Michael Choung worked briefly with Oxenfree developers Night School Games after jumping ship in 2016.
Given how recent this news is, it’s hard to discern exactly what sort of experience this new studio will be focused on producing, but it’s safe to say that whatever they release will help to fill the void created by Telltale’s collapse. From outlandish noir titles like The Wolf Among Us to the ultra-gritty, occasionally gut-wrenching The Walking Dead series, Telltale has been responsible for some of the most captivating digital undertakings of this generation, and it would be great to see these devs pick up where they left off.
Though Telltale ultimately had to throw in the towel as a result of a year of underwhelming sales, the developer was rumored to have been struggling to stay afloat for some time before their demise in 2018. Reports of unfair deadlines, stifling corporate conditions, and work weeks in excess of seventy hours hinted that all was far from well for the California based studio. Still, in a world now dominated by multiplayer-centric live service franchises, many of their releases felt like a breath of fresh air.
Yet, some aren’t sure if the new AdHoc group will even be in the business of developing video games at all. The team cited an interest in creating experiences similar to Netflix’s interactive hit Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and Telltale even flirted with the a partnership with the streaming service before that petered out into an unmemorable streamable version of Minecraft: Story Mode.
That said, Telltale’s closure has left a bitter taste in the mouths of everyone involved, and many are hoping that AdHoc Studios can serve as a spiritual successor to the once-great developer. 2005 saw the start of a revolution with the release of TTG’s Sam & Max Save the World, and here’s hoping that this new development house can deliver something equally wonderful in the coming years.