When episodic champions Telltale Games went bust, it did so leaving The Walking Dead unfinished (another studio has since wrapped things up) and with projects cancelled. Forgetting the human cost of losing such a well-established studio for one moment, the victims of the closure included a second series of The Wolf Among Us and a Stranger Things title.
The Stranger Things spin-off was designed to complement the popular TV show, but it wasn't the only Stranger Things game under Telltale's banner that was affected by the studio's closure. Night School Studio, the team behind Oxenfree and the upcoming devilish drinking game Afterparty, had been commissioned by the studio to create a second title that would have loose links to the main episodic series being worked on over at Telltale.
According to unnamed sources who spoke to The Verge, Telltale was looking to reposition itself as a publisher, and we've got evidence of that as the studio had published games over the years, helping out with the likes of 7 Days to Die. It wasn't fully established as a publisher, but there was intent.
And it seems that one of the studios that Telltale had been working with was Night School, which took the "dream" job of working on Stranger Things, as it gelled nicely with the vibe of the team's previous effort, a spooky teen-adventure by the name of Oxenfree.
However, with the new game well into development, Telltale went bankrupt and closed down, leaving the unannounced Stranger Things spinoff in trouble. According to the report, the game just "evaporated" - as it hadn't been announced, it wasn't really cancelled either. It just ceased to be, apparently with Night School left holding the bill with Telltale late on previous payments to the studio.
The report also paints a picture of a development process that was already strained by communication issues, between both studios and Netflix as well. Then Telltale went under, and the project was cancelled.
"It was a very difficult three months," the unnamed source told the site. At least the team had something else to get stuck into: "Afterparty got to benefit from some of this because we had people that are talented and could focus on making that game better."
Speaking of which, we caught up with Night School at GDC just a few weeks ago, and you can find out more about its next game by pointing and clicking in this direction.