It's no secret that Telltale Games various titles over the past few years have been swimming in criticism due to the lackluster engine they run on. For fourteen years, ever since Telltale Games' founding, the studio has used the same game engine for every single title they put out: The Telltale Tool. In the early years of the company, and during the first seasons of many of its popular hits, Telltale Tool was a solid engine that got the job done. It provided the unique adventure gameplay Telltale became famous for, with a colorful comic book art style to match. Despite this, the engine has really shown its age over the past three or four years, with multiple new Telltale games being plagued by bugs, stuttering, and other issues. According to multiple sources speaking to Variety, and job listings for Telltale, that's all about to change; Telltale will be ditching Telltale Tool in favor of the Unity Engine.
All of this follows some troubles the company has been having as of late. A quarter of their staff were recently laid off in a company restructure, and just this past month, the former CEO of Telltale sued the company. With sales declining due to backlash at the poor engine and a need for something fresh, switching to a new one serves as a way for the company to get a fresh start. According to the reports, The Walking Dead: The Final Season will be the last Telltale game to use the Tool engine. Everything onwards will be made on Unity, which includes their upcoming Stranger Things game, as well as The Wolf Among Us: Season Two, which got pushed back to 2019 due to the engine switch.
The Unity Engine has been growing ever popular as the years go on, with a whole slew of updates refining it and making it a very solid base for all kinds of games. It's well known for being a completely free engine; anyone can download it and use it to start making games of their own, so it's seen use by many popular indie studios and even some Triple-A ones, though there are more feature-heavy paid versions of it. Chances are that with Unity, Telltale games will start to look and play a whole lot better. We'll be able to see this in action next year, 2019, with the two aforementioned projects being the first ones to utilize the engine. For the time being, the staff at Telltale are getting used to the engine, which has lengthened some processes.
To sum this all up simply, it's been a crazy time for Telltale Games. This all times up with their recent Netflix partnership too, which is precisely what has ushered in the creation of a Stranger Things game. For now, fans will be awaiting The Walking Dead: The Final Season. The first episode drops on August 14th this year, playable on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. It will also be playable on Nintendo Switch at an undisclosed date later this year. There will be four episodes in total, as opposed to the more common five. The Final Season sees the return of Clementine as the protagonist, older and taking care of an older AJ in their fight to survive. You can view the emotional E3 trailer for it below, or check out the full Variety report on the situation at Telltale Games!