Main Article: Telltale Games
Telltale Games, Inc is an American independent digital developer and publisher founded in June 2004 as Telltale, Incorporated. Based in San Rafael, California, the studio includes designers formerly employed by LucasArts. Its business model revolves around episodic gaming and digital distribution, and it is best known for its various graphic adventure game series based on popular licensed properties.
Telltale Games was founded by Dan Connors, Kevin Bruner and Troy Molander a group of former LucasArts employees who had been working on Sam & Max: Freelance Police, a sequel to the 1993 game Sam & Max Hit the Road, prior to its cancellation on March 3, 2004. In an early press release the vocal public response to said cancellation was cited as a main reason the company was founded. The Telltale Games team has a large collective experience working on LucasArts' famed classics. Telltale Games was formed in San Rafael, California with the assistance of technology attorney Ira P. Rothken who provided initial seed capital, procured angel investments, and negotiated deals involving Bone, Sam & Max, GameTap, Ubisoft, and others which led to initial revenue, marketing, and development of the core episodic game technology.
The team of Telltale Games in 2007. From left: Chuck Jordan, Jake Rodkin, Dave Grossman, Daniel Farjam Herrera, Doug Tabacco and Emily Morganti, as well as a demo version of Sam & Max Save the World. On February 11, 2005, the company released their first game, Telltale Texas Hold'em, a poker card game simulator which was intended primarily to test the Telltale Tool, their in-house game engine. This was followed by two games based on Jeff Smith's Bone comic book series. More episodes were planned, but later aborted. They then developed CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder for Ubisoft, and although it was composed of several free-standing episodes, it was released exclusively at retail as a single package. The same is true for the follow ups, CSI: Hard Evidence, CSI: Deadly Intent, and CSI: Fatal Conspiracy. After securing two rounds of angel investment from San Francisco Bay Area angels including superangel Matthew Le Merle and members of angel group Keiretsu Forum, Telltale attempted to buy the rights to complete Sam & Max: Freelance Police from LucasArts, but when they were denied, they secured the rights to create new games from series creator Steve Purcell. Unlike their previous games, Sam & Max: Season One (published in collaboration with GameTap) was their first episodic series released on a tight monthly schedule—a landmark for the game industry. The series proved successful, and Telltale went on to produce two additional Sam & Max seasons. Since then, they have continued to produce series based on popular licenses released in monthly, and more recently in bi-monthly, episodes. Several series that Telltale went on to work with were largely comedic, including games based on Wallace & Gromit (until 2014 when their distribution rights for Wallace & Gromit games expired) and Homestar Runner. Tales of Monkey Island, based on the popular LucasArts series, marked one of their most successful series to date, owing in part to the history many of its developers had with LucasArts adventure game.
To supplement their normal episodic games, Telltale created a pilot program in early 2010 to explore one-off games that would explore other gameplay and storytelling approaches that could eventually be incorporated into their episodic games. The first game, Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, a puzzle-solving game in collaboration with Graham Annable, was released in the middle of June 2010, while Poker Night at the Inventory, a crossover poker game featuring characters from Sam and Max, Homestar Runner, Valve's Team Fortress 2, and the webcomic Penny Arcade, was released late in 2010. Telltale later went on to follow up Puzzle Agent with a sequel, Puzzle Agent 2, in 2011. Additionally, in 2013, Telltale continued the Poker Night series with Poker Night 2. The Pilot Program is also utilized by Telltale Games to develop new game play ideas that are then adapted to their normal episodic game series. The Walking Dead started out as a Pilot Program title that was known internally as the "zombie prototype".
Growth and franchise acquisitionsEdit
Having established themselves as working with comedy franchises, Telltale later chose to work with dramatic franchises as well in addition to comedy series. In June 2010, Telltale announced that they had secured licences with NBC Universal to develop two episodic series based on Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. Further series based on licensed properties were announced in February 2011, including series based on the comic book series The Walking Dead and Fables in association with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and a series based on the King's Quest adventure games by Sierra. Telltale's King's Quest was confirmed to be cancelled on April 3, 2013. By 2010, Telltale has proven itself successful, with yearly revenues of $10 million, 90% greater than the previous year. Part of this is attributed to Back to the Future: The Game, which Steve Allison, the senior vice president of marketing, called in 2011 their "most successful franchise to date". Allison states that for most of their games, they only need to sell 100,000 copies to break even, but many of their recent releases have seen twice that number or more; Allison anticipated that The Walking Dead series could be a $20 to $30 million franchise. Telltale expects with the additional licensed franchises, the studio and its revenues will continue to grow at a similar pace. They announced expectations of the studio to expand from their 90 employees to 140. In April 2011, Telltale announced another licensed episodic series, based on Law & Order: Los Angeles, which later changed to encompass multiple Law and Order shows. In 2012, Telltale had its biggest success yet with The Walking Dead, which sold one million copies in 20 days, and topped the sales charts on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Steam. Due to the success of the first game, Telltale announced a sequel in July 2012. Telltale announced intentions to move to a new location and expand from 125 to 160 in Spring 2013, after The Walking Dead sold 8.5 million episodes. Telltale announced two additional series, Tales from the Borderlands, based on the Borderlands series from Gearbox Software, and Game of Thrones, based on the HBO television show adaption of the books, at the 2013 Spike VGX video game awards program. Tales from the Borderlands came out of ideas discussed during the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards between Telltale and Gearbox who were sitting at adjacent tables, noting the narration and unique characters of the Borderlands series. Sometime afterwards, Telltale approached Gearbox with their game concept and Gearbox readily welcomed the project. The Game of Thrones game arose from internal discussions within Telltale of what other popular franchises they would write games around, with much support given for Game of Thrones, considering it emotionally equivalent to their The Walking Dead game. They approached HBO with the concept, and after a year of negotiations, were able to secure the license. In December 2014, Telltale Games and Mojang announced Minecraft: Story Mode a standalone episodic title from the Minecraft game, to be released episodically in 2015. The title will be developed by Telltale but will use input from the Minecraft community to help fashion its story, though will not attempt to fix any of the lore for Minecraft. The title was inspired in part by many of Telltale's developers being fans of Minecraft, as well as from awareness of published narrative content developed around the game. Discussions with Mojang towards a Telltale game began before Microsoft's acquisition of the company, though Telltale's existing relationship with Microsoft allowed the development to continue without difficulties afterwards. Patton Oswalt will perform voice work for the game. In February 2015, Lions Gate Entertainment announced an investment within Telltale Games to produce a number of "Super Shows" - a hybrid interactive work combining television and video game elements, which can be distributed through non-traditional channels such as through streaming services. The first Super Show planned is an original IP that Telltale has been developing that is said to be able to take advantage of this format. In addition to this, Telltale announced that Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer and Unity Technologies' CEO John Riccitiello have joined Telltale's board of directors. Telltale announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment to develop at least one game based on a Marvel Comics property in 2017. Telltale entered into a publishing deal with Jackbox Games to bring the console versions of the Jackbox Party Pack to retail markets.
Contact Telltale GamesEdit
Telltale Games P.O. Box 9737 San Rafael, CA 94912-9737
For technical support or compatibility issues with any of our games or assistance with product activation or purchases.
For press inquiries and review code requests.
For sending feedback on current games.
For any other inquiries not covered by the addresses above.