On Friday, Sept. 21, video game company Telltale Games, known for their episodic point-and-click adventures, announced that following a series of poor management choices, and declining sales, that they would be shutting down, and that all future projects would be cancelled, except for the second episode of “The Walking Dead: The Final Season,” and their port of “Minecraft Story Mode” to Netflix, which left many on the Internet unreasonably upset about whether or not they will be able to get refunds, rather than being upset about the nearly 300 people out of work.
Now, while it is unfair that some folk are out 30 bucks for a game that sits in limbo, it happens, and people lose more than 30 dollars, on more important necessities. Plus, Skybound, the company founded by “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman has annouced its plans to finish the game with a small number of members from the original staff.
The news of the completion of the game came nearly two weeks after the closing of Telltale Games and was able to stop the refund debacle. However, even after the refund debacle ended very few people are still showing much sympathy for Telltale employees.
None of the employees receive severance, and their medical benefits didn’t even get through the end of September. But the worst part of it, is that Telltale’s method of termination for these employees, was in direct violation of California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which states employers, if they employee over 75 full or part-time employees, must warn all employees who will be affected, as well as local and state representatives of a mass layoff, sixty days before it happens.
Telltale employees were notified of their terminations the same day the company shut down. Now, because of this violation, a former employee named Vernie Roberts has filed a class action lawsuit.
Yet, this detail seems to have gone on unnoticed like the employees affected by this detail. People demanded that they got to see the end of the series, and now that the ending has been secured, they have completely forgotten about the 250 people who lost their jobs.
Now while many companies including PlayerUknown, Naughty Dog, Santa Monica Studio, and Ubisoft San Francisco have offered jobs to those who were laid off, there is not enough to go around. A fair sum of the jobs are only temporary, especially at Naughty Dog.
That’s not to knock any of these companies, the fact that they immediately put out the news that they were hiring was a great thing, and those temporary jobs may even lead to permanent ones.
The issue is, that nobody really cares that 250 people are out of work, except for people who work in the same industry, and also sit just a few disastrous decisions away from unemployment.
The people complaining have no clue the feelings of being blindsided by the people who you work for to the extent at which Telltale’s employees do. If they did, they would be reaching out with sympathy to any former employees who now sit in a dangerous seat.
People need to realize that employees and their families have more value and importance than a fictional character, iconic and important as she may be. There is a time and a place to demand money back. But on Twitter and immediately after the closure of the company was neither.