We have known now since E3 that Netflix were teaming up with TellTale Games in order to bring over new licenses that will appear in upcoming games.
At the time, it was confirmed that Stranger Things would be one of those titles and that Minecraft: Story Mode would become available on Netflix; but in the same vein as previous interactive games on the platform, such as Puss in Book.
In an article from Variety, more information has come out about the interesting relationship between Netflix and TellTale Games and how the gaming giant is seemingly suffering from its own success. It appears to be a combination of an outdated engine, too many games to produce and less than stellar profits from a weary fanbase that seems to be the big issue for the company. Another factor is the alleged hostile work environment created by ex-CEO Kevin Bruner (who is now suing TellTale), which contributed to some poor decisions being taken within the company at the time.
Delving further into Bruner’s time as CEO makes it appear as though, if he hadn’t been ousted by the TellTale board, that we would never even see a Stranger Things game. Allegedly Bruner kept turning down any notion of partnering up with Netflix, “They thought it was just a bunch of kids on bikes,” a source told Variety, “They thought it was a terrible idea.”
Nonetheless, with new (-ish, he joined last September) CEO Pete Hawley the company appear to be scraping back some much needed credit and are trying to put themselves back on the right track. Hawley recognised the importance of this deal and pushed forward with it once more. This deal with Netflix and delivering a Stranger Things game appear to be the cornerstone to achieving a much needed boost for the company, as well as the chance to update the sorely outdated TellTale Tools engine. Rumour has it that The Walking Dead’s final season will be the last on Tools according to Variety, and that Stranger Things will be the first game to release on Unity.
Although, when you see job advertisements for Unity developers within TellTale Games, it kind of seals the deal that there’s some changeover going on there.
Not much else has been revealed about the Stranger Things game, only that if the rumours are true and there’s a switch to a new engine that it means there’s going to be a lot of relearning of systems. That in itself is going to take some time, but I reckon we may hear more once the final season drops for The Walking Dead…