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Why Telltale's Game Of Thrones Never Got A Sequel

Perhaps best known for its "The Walking Dead" series, Telltale Game has worked with all sorts of franchises, from "Batman" to "Borderlands." The developer's unique blend of QTE gameplay and narrated visual novel storytelling lends itself well to a variety of tales and settings.


Telltale also created an official game based on the "Game of Thrones" TV series. It features performances from several of the more prominent actors from the show, such as Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Iwan Rheon, Emilia Clarke, and Natalie Dormer. Rather than following more established characters, however, the Telltale "Game of Thrones" plot centers on House Forrester, a lesser known noble family from the North who were loyal to the Starks and found themselves surrounded by enemies after Rob Stark was killed during the Red Wedding.

Like other Telltale titles, "Game of Thrones" is full of difficult decisions with dire consequences. It has four different potential endings depending on the choices players make along the way, but the story never fully resolves. So, why didn't Telltale release a sequel?


Telltale had plans for a second season

Telltale released "Game of Thrones" in a series of six episodes. The first arrived on December 2, 2014 and the final episode released November 17, 2015. Players could either purchase episodes individually or buy a season pass that allowed them to download the episodes as they launched. The season received moderately positive critical reviews, but the unique purchasing model makes it difficult to determine how the game performed financially for Telltale. It seems that it must have done well enough, because Telltale was planning a second season.


In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter from shortly after the last episode of Telltale's "Game of Thrones" debuted, CEO and co-founder Kevin Bruner revealed that not only was a second season planned, it was already in development. "We've been planning the second season all along," he said, "but I really shouldn't be revealing more than that." When questioned about how far along the development team was on the project, Bruner insisted that he couldn't give specifics. He did mention that Telltale titles are developed "more like television" than traditional video games, with more time spent "in the writer's room" on pre-production than in actual production.

A challenging follow-up

A primary criticism levied against Telltale's "Game of Thrones" was that it didn't offer enough variance based on the player's choices (per Shacknews). Even the best outcomes in the game are rife with brutality, death, and despair. Some of the Forresters always die and their ancestral home is inevitably left in ruins. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Brunner promised that the next season would reward these decisions. "What may seem like small victories after the downfall of Ironrath are important ones," he said. "The choices players make in season one set the stage for what's to come."


Other critics were more concerned that, even if there is a sequel on the way that would address the numerous cliffhangers from the final episode, there would be no easy way for the writers to create a satisfying ending that rewarded players while simultaneously making all of their choices feel like they actually meant something. Unfortunately, the second season was never completed, and so fans may never know.

Telltale laid off 90% of its workforce

Whether or not Telltale had the writing chops to pull off a second season of "Game of Thrones" that adequately addressed the issues from the first is ultimately a moot point. In September 2018, Telltale Games laid off 225 employees (approximately 90% of its workforce,) in what it referred to as a "majority studio closure" and the remaining staff was merely kept on to finish Netflix's "Minecraft: Story Mode" (per Variety). The fourth and final season of "Telltale's The Walking Dead" was left unfinished after releasing only two episodes (with the final two episodes later completed by Skybound Games) and numerous other projects never made it out of production – including the second season of "Game of Thrones."


This closure was devastating to fans of the studio's games, but it was even worse for the employees who were given no notice before suddenly finding themselves out of work. Sources told The Verge that employees were informed of the closure and then given only 30 minutes to collect their things and vacate the premises. They also didn't receive severance pay.

Telltale returns

Telltale disappeared for a while, but it announced in 2019 that it was back with a "new management team." Since then, the developer has been hard at work developing new games, such as a sequel to "The Wolf Among Us" and a title based on the Amazon sci-fi series "The Expanse." Unfortunately, there has been no mention of returning to Westeros to complete the Forresters' story. It doesn't seem likely that the studio will ever return to this particular "Game of Thrones" plotline at this point.


HBO's "House of the Dragon" spin off may be quite popular, but the fervor for "GoT" content has diminished significantly in the years since the first episode of Telltale's game was released. The show ended in 2019 and the events that the game was meant to coincide with ended years before that, which is to say nothing of whether the actors would be willing to return to their former roles. So, at least for now, it seems that the Forresters' tenuous fates will remain uncertain.