Protect game developers

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Telltale closing shows error in how companies treat developers

by Christian Hollis, Editor-in-Chief

Legendary story-telling game developer Telltale Games held a mass layoff of over 250 people on Sept. 21. These employees were laid off with one week of health care and no severance. This happened in midst of production of the last season of “The Walking Dead.” Thousands of the series’ fans bought the season pass, and they will never get the rest of the product they paid for. As of today, Telltale games have not issued a statement on whether or not these customers will be refunded for the last two episodes. However, there is some hope for the series.

“Multiple potential partners have stepped forward to express interest in helping to the final season through to completion,” wrote a Telltale representative on a social media post. “While we can’t make any promises today, we are actively working towards a solution that will allow episodes three and four to completed and released in some form.”

No way fam.

Gamers don’t want to see your half-baked version of a “finished” season. We’d rather see you pay your employees severance, offer them health care for an extended period of time and a refund for those who paid for a finished product and not something dug up from a garbage can.

This situation puts to question how we should treat game developers.

These people are artists, and it’s not as easy to get a new job or contracted work. Many creators move across the country for these gigs, and for them to be laid off without notice, only three hours to clean their desk and no severance is unacceptable.

These artists should unionize to put protections in place for workers in the gaming industry. Publishers and developers should provide at least 30 days’ notice before mass layoffs. Additionally, these employees, whether contracted or salary based, should be given severance. Publishers should also recommend employees to sister-developers via job fairs.

Creators should never worry about losing their jobs without notice for things that are out of their hands, and protections through unions seem to be the only way to prevent those nightmares.