The final season of The Walking Dead appears unlikely be completed following severe layoffs at its developer, Telltale Games.
Melissa Hutchison, the actor who voices the series' protagonist Clementine, released a statement on Twitter over the weekend, one charged with emotion and regret about the studio's dire position. It also contained a troubling insight for fans of the episodic series that pushed Telltale to new heights of success back in 2012.
"To my knowledge," Hutchison said, "they will release Episode 2 [of the final season] and that will be it. It hurts me that you, the fans, will not get to see Clem's journey through to the end."
Hutchison also paid tribute to the "insanely talented people" who worked on The Walking Dead - both developers and voice actors - and the other Telltale series that are now unlikely to be concluded, specifically The Wolf Among Us, in which her voice-work also appeared.
While Telltale hasn't been entirely closed, the narrative game developer's future seems very much in the balance. Last Friday, it laid off all but 25 of its employees, around 90 per cent of the entire workforce.
"It hurts me that you, the fans, will not get to see Clem's journey through to the end"
"It's been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course," said CEO Pete Hawley in a statement. "Unfortunately, we ran out of time trying to get there.
"We released some of our best content this year and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, but ultimately, that did not translate to sales. With a heavy heart, we watch our friends leave today to spread our brand of storytelling across the games industry."
That final sentiment was echoed by former Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner, who left the company in March 2017. Bruner has issued a statement that focused on his positive memories of Telltale, as a studio that, "pursued projects that no one else would consider."
"We chose to venture where others dared not go, and we found some success along the way," he said. "It took a lot of vision, luck, will power, teamwork, talent, and very long days and nights to get there, but it will forever have been worth it."
He added: "I'm comforted a bit knowing there are now so many new talented people and studios creating games in the evolving narrative genre."
However, the circumstances of Bruner's departure were far from perfect. Bruner said that Telltale's board of directors had "very different visions of Telltale's future and how we might get there" to his own. He also admitted that, before his departure, Telltale was, "able to avoid sweeping layoffs and (somehow) managed to ensure that we always had work for everyone."