Some top Telltale staffers have cast some light on Tales from the Borderlands – and it’s raised some questions about the culture at the company. Many of you may remember that it took ages for episodes in the critically acclaimed series to deploy, and that’s because after less-than-stellar sales the development was reduced to a “skeleton crew”.
“About halfway through, we made a deal with the studio that if they let us go on, we would give up like 95 per cent of our staff as long as they let us maintain a skeleton crew,” one of the series’ directors Nick Herman revealed in an oral history with the Campo Santo Quarterly Review. “We had at least one person from every department working on the game. But that's a very small team for an episode.”
While it’s a testament to the staff’s commitment to the project – almost everyone worked a ton of extra hours to see it through, apparently – it’s frightening to us that Telltale was seemingly ready to pull the plug on the project after Season Passes had been sold. What would have happened if it weren’t for the dedication of those remaining few?
As it turns out Tales from the Borderlands is one of Telltale’s best series – despite it being one of its poorest commercial performers. “It's not like we were losing money, but compared to something like The Walking Dead, it wasn't on the same level,” Herman added, and so staff were presumably pulled onto Game of Thrones and Minecraft: Story Mode instead. That went well, eh?
[source quarterly.camposanto.com, via eurogamer.net]
Top 3 for me along with Walking Dead Season 1 and Wolf Among Us.
It concerns me that the team had to convince management to let them continue development on a series people had already paid for.
I think this was easily Telltale's finest title. Certainly not as emotionally poignant as Walking Dead Season 1, it still felt like their most complete title. It had clever humor, which I can't really say about the actual main Borderlands games. And despite not actually caring about the Borderlands, I still loved this game.
And the ethics behind having actually considered pulling the plug on the game after they sold it already are questionable at best.
@get2sammyb Yes! Exactly!
@get2sammyb The only Telltale series I bought before all episodes had been released, and this very fact has me thinking that waiting for the entire package is probably the safest bet. Never expected to hear that buying the entire season up front could leave you without the whole product.
Surprised they were basically thinking of canning it so early, not surprised it didn't sell well I picked it up for peanuts should probably give it a shot
Arguably the best of them! And I only started played borderlands 2 like last month and I had finished Tales like last year lol
I loved it
Yeah this was one of their best. The Batman season 1 wasn't that great but got a season 2. I played Tales from the Borderlands when it was free for Plus so i might be part of the problem.
This is one of the only telltale games I speak very highly of. Really enjoyed it and they did an amazing job converting the borderlands series. Sad that this series may be done.
2nd best TellTales game ever!!
Same could be said with the decision to add extra episodes to Minecraft after people had bought the season pass. Their games are great, but it seems like the management style needs work.
Only thing I enjoyed was hearing patrick warburton, love that guy, the rest was painfully unfunny.
Sucks. Tales of the Borderlands was my favorite TellTale game.Won't hold my breath for season 2 then .
This was the best of the Tale Tales games and yet it didn't sell well
Borderlands was good, along with Wolf among us and Walking dead, the rest of their stuff is a bit rubbish, Game of thrones was absolute crap.
That's terrible. It's such a great game as well, I really loved it. Was faintly hoping for a season 2 but I'm guessing that's completely off the table now.
Tales from the Borderlands is the only Telltale series I've played, so I can't say whether I think it's the best one, but I certainly enjoyed it. Really good fun. It's a shame that the skeleton staff development had to happen. Just imagine the outrage if the higher ups had said no, and the remaining chapters were cancelled! Not a good way to win more sales, that's for sure.
I dont like the new Telltale company strategy with a waste of retail discs with a episode and the rest is a DLC code. (I hate complete and GOTY with downloads just as much)But respect for the crew who put their hearts in the product. But WTF people pay and then they try to put the game in the ground after people payed for the product? Shows what kind of scum these companies can be again nothing against the development team.
So would telltale have offered refunds to those who had bought the season pass if they decided to can the series half way through?
I very much doubt it. If true this is shocking really. I expect telltale will publish a refutal of this in the next couple of days because they do really need to address this. It certainly doesnt encourage me to buy season passes until all of the episodes are out (and on sale - which admittedly is what I always do with TT games)
Tales of the borderlands was brilliant. If anything this suggests that the game was so good because of the dedication and hard work of a few, rather than the design by committee feel of some if the other titles (I still cant get over how dull and poorly optimised game of thrones was. It was like watching a power point presentation on my ps3)
Eh, Borderland's humor is grating to a lot of people so that doesn't really surprise me. Out of everything they've made, Wolf Among Us is my favortie. Back to the Future is alright too.
Just recently played it thanks to PS plus and I have to it's arguably the best episodic series they've made. Shame we wont see another one.
That's depressing. Its easily their best series.
That's sad. It's my least favourite, but by all means a great game (8.5 for me).
Wish we could find out how the rest have done.
Tales of Monkey island is telltales best. Such a shame they moved away from making proper point and click adventures ; but of course I understand why given the monster hit that the walking dead became
It wouldn't hit their TV based titles in terms of sales but I thought it did okay?
Did this release when the began pumping out more and more series?
A shame because I personally thought it was better than their darling, The Walking Dead.
I enjoyed the story to this one, but the entire TTG adventure system is becoming tired at this point as people are cottoning on to the fact it is just a few meaningless choices stuck together with QTEs as the entire game system. Dragon's Lair got slated in reviews for doing this in the 80s (although I accept it was more of a game of luck than a story), and other games manage to put across strong stories while still having fun gameplay, so I kind of have to lean towards the lack of innovation harming the game(s) now.
It would have been a horrible (read morally reprehensible) decision if the game had been cancelled mid-season though (and leaving it open for a sequel knowing that ship had sailed was a pretty bad call too). Despite things like this (and, for instance, the Arkham Knjight Season pass) it is still shocking how many people pre-order games.
One last thing, I think that episodic games like this shouldn't be reviewed until they are finished. My reasoning behind this is that the scores make little sense when taken as a slice of the story, quite often I see an episode being praised for the exciting situations it sets up and then the next month the following episode get a lukewarm score because those situation didn't really amount to much. The problem is that previous episode is as much to blame for setting up paths that lead nowhere and it becomes as incohesive as reviewing a book chapter by chapter. The story segments are too short to be reviewed on their own merits and I'd much prefer some sort of editorial on the episode than a full scored review and then a full season review at the end which can talk about how the story does (and doesn't) work throughout the ~10 hour playthrough. Anyway, went off subject a bit there so sorry for that and I'll get my hat
I wonder if through their dealings with Gearbox to acquire the license, they picked up some tips from the development of Colonial Marines?
@RPE83 Haha, wouldn't surprise me.
Definitely a shame. I am a huge Borderlands fan and this was the only Telltale game I've ever played when it came to plus a couple months back. Thought it was absolutely stellar. Was actually shocked by how much I enjoyed it.
That's a shame. I thought it was some of their best work.
I loved the series when it came on to plus but I am a fan of all the TellTale games.
I know they aren't to everyones taste but they are great relaxing way if gaming without all the rushing around.
My daughter loved Minecraft story mode and i loved GoT so hope there are more to come
@Bad-MuthaAdebisi totally disagree, i think they hit their height with the whole decision making process of that game. I genuinely felt remorse when characters died because of my actions.
@gbanas92 Couldn't agree more!
It's probably Telltale fatigue. I mean, come on, they're almost like Lego games by now! Also, the fact that Randy Pitchford can go suck the chrome off of a hitching post after what he pulled with Aliens Colonial Marines might have hurt the Gearbox name (and subsequently, its ip's). Deservedly so, by the way, but still, sad for the people who worked hard on this.
Tap here to load 34 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...