We rarely hear developers share their honest stories about developing video games with the public, but a few developers that used to work for Telltale Games have decided to do just that in the latest Campo Santo Quarterly Review
Nick Herman, who was the season director of Tales from the Borderlands, reveals that the series was very close to having a very different ending. He had this to say about developing the final episode:
"At that point, the sales for Tales from the Borderlands weren't great. They were decent, it's not like we were losing money, but compared to something like The Walking Dead, it wasn't on the same level...Tales was my life for two years, and internally it was perceived as a failure. Critically it was a huge success, but from a sales and production standpoint, it wasn't awesome".
This led to 2K asking them to wrap up things very quickly, so they could move on to other, more profitable, projects. Herman, who had been working on the series for two years by then, didn't want to sacrifice his vision, so he made an interesting move:
"About halfway through, we made a deal with the studio that if they let us go on, we would give up like 95% of our staff as long as they let us maintain a skeleton crew. We had at least one person from every department working on the game. But that's a very small team for an episode".
They had to compensate for this by spending quite a few late nights at the office, but Herman likes to look at the bright side of things: "If there's a silver lining here, it's that everyone on it, it was a voluntary choice. They said, "I'm really proud of this, I want to stick it out, I want to see it to its conclusion." Everyone who was putting in the work wanted to."
It's very interesting to be reminded of the fact that the majority of us can't even fathom just how complicated and challenging it is to develop a video game, and that there are a lot of factors at play. We definitely didn't notice the cut-downs in the final, though. Did you?