Telltale Games Reviews | Glassdoor

Telltale Games Reviews

Updated April 15, 2018
75 reviews

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2.8
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Telltale Games CEO Pete Hawley
Pete Hawley
5 Ratings

75 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Some extremely talented people to learn from" (in 8 reviews)

  • "Unlimited PTO is nice, benefits are okay" (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • "Pay is terribly low for a studio based in the Bay Area or North Bay" (in 8 reviews)

  • "Last minute changes for quality are a double edged sword" (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good place to grow career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Telltale Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great IPs, good benefits, projects are cool, allowed to actually be creative, come up with ideas that actually get implemented in game.

    Cons

    Employees can bring dogs in to work and I'm allergic.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Good and Bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Telltale Games full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Talented story tellers
    Brand loyalty and awareness
    Best Cinematic artists in game industry

    Cons

    Underpay staff
    Inability of senior staff to trust developers

    Advice to Management

    Smaller company, better pay, higher quality, and don’t just say you trust your staff; trust your staff.

  3. Helpful (5)

    "Quality Assurance Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Analyst in San Rafael, CA
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Analyst in San Rafael, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Telltale Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Food was provided for employees whom opted to work overtime
    Company events were really enjoyable
    Dog friendly work environment
    Ability to customize desk to personal preference

    Cons

    - Really long hours (longest shift was 20 hours) -
    Overtime was never required but since most of the team were contract workers it was implied that you needed to stay

    -Toxic Upper Management
    Angry outbursts and extremely long hours coupled with high expectations created a harsh work environment that drove many to the breaking point. Specifically, my immediate manager resigned due to the pressure and deadlines that were placed upon him.
    Promises to offer permanent employment to make sure that production and efficiency rates stayed high , but with no follow up or concrete plan to permanence.

    - Unprofessional behavior
    Specifically, upon project completion bonuses were delivered to permanent employees right in front of contract workers, who did the same work on the same project, and were thanked for their hard work. Honestly, just a huge oversight by management to think that was acceptable

    - Poor project execution , budgeting and management
    In relation to the Quality Assurance Department, the issues that would be reported would sit on the developers for weeks before being addressed due to the constant workload placed upon the multiple departments.

    Advice to Management

    Offer a structured path to permanent opportunities or be clear with what is available. Allow rest periods after crunch time for employees to recuperate and recover. Be more proactive in addressing the needs of the Quality Assurance department so that over departments do not dump work a few days before the dead line which lead to long hours. Hire management that is focused on the people AND the results, not one or the other. Fair treatment for contract workers and on board employees.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Expect indifference, not growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Telltale Games full-time

    Pros

    Good content.
    Lots of work to be done.
    Guaranteed t-shirts.

    Cons

    The other posts reflect enough of my experience, so I'll just say this:

    If you can see how the following might be offensive to someone who was just laid off by this person, then you might want to reconsider working here:

    "Unfortunately that came down to a layoff of 25 percent of our workforce, but now we’re down to our best bets, our best games, and our BEST PEOPLE." (emphasis added)

    - Pete Hawley, CEO (article from VentureBeat)

    That indifference to the basic dignity of employees was there before Pete got there, so it seems it's not going away anytime soon. Just a fair warning: Don't be surprised if your experience ends up feeling rather cold and unfulfilling.

    Also see the "Toxic Management..." article at the Verge, which kindly reverses the "best people" narrative to be in favor of the employees who were burnt out and laid off.

    Advice to Management

    Spend less money on parties and more money on your employees' salaries and training.


  5. Helpful (7)

    "Do NOT work here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Telltale Games full-time

    Pros

    Telltale might be a nice place to work in three years, if it still exists and that’s a pretty big IF.

    Cons

    There really is no good reason to work here, unless you're desperate and can't find another job in video games.

    Telltale fatigue in the market place is real and the company doesn’t have a new direction yet. If you choose to work here, you risk damaging your reputation and putting yourself through a lot of drama over low-performing games.

    I want to echo some of the criticisms others have had about the studio and add a few of my own: Radio-active toxic politics, tribalism, poor creative development process, stunted innovation and technological advancement, no original IP, high creative churn, low pay for the industry and area, inexperienced managers, disrespectful coworkers, declining quality caused by a dearth of creative leadership, and a very uncertain future all make Telltale a hard pass in terms of employment prospects.

    There are some exceptionally nice, talented and collaborative people here. That's not the problem. The problem is that they're not supported by studio management. Their empathy for others and willingness to collaborate and take and give feedback are looked down upon and seen as weaknesses by a culture that takes its cues from toxic Hollywood.

    In order to advance here, you'll have to adapt some pretty rotten behaviors. It's almost like a 'Swimming with Sharks' hazing ritual, where leadership material is measured by you're willingness and ability to intimidate and sabotage others.

    So, for every collaborative, non-toxic employee, there's three who will make your life miserable if they get the chance and they will probably be managing you in some capacity. For most of them, Telltale may have been the only place they've ever worked. They learned how to act from the former CEO and literally do not know better. For others, they are damage goods from other studios who were able to get a job here, because Telltale does not do background checks.

    Studio managers keep saying they're going to change things for the better, but because they're unwilling to discipline some of these bad practices, little progress has been made.

    Come on, guys. The former CEO has been gone for over a year now. There's no excuse to promote this kind of behavior anymore. If you're still acting this way at this point, that's completely your choice.

    Advice to Management

    I'm addressing this directly to the new CEO: Don't know if you're here to truly turn the company around or sell it, but I'm going to pretend its the former. I know you're fairly new and still learning about Telltale and the people who are running things. Don't trust them. They either have no idea what they're doing or they're pulling the wool over your eyes so they can hide their own incompetence and unprofessionalism.

    Do some of your own digging and find out how Telltale got to this point for yourself. It wasn’t all the prior CEO’s fault. He certainly set the tone, but some people inside the studio STILL shuffle down and imitate his abusive behavior. You need to have a zero-tolerance policy about employees being verbally hostile or disrespectful to their coworkers, especially if they're placed in management positions.

    Also, if you want to stop bleeding employees, make sure they feel appreciated. One way to drive them out is to continually make bad staffing decisions that disenfranchise people of their hard work and hopes of promotion. Telltale should not be a place where plebs do the work for a small in-crowd to get credit for, but it is.

    You still have some really good people here. Don't lose them too.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Going to be a nice place to work in 3 years"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Telltale Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Great people to work with for the most part
    - Unlimited PTO

    Cons

    - Lots of creative churn
    - Company still trying to find out direction its going, going to take a bit to get that right


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good place to get experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Telltale Games full-time

    Pros

    Great team, people, talent. Projects are very cool and will add value to resume.

    Cons

    Stuck to an ancient game technology that limits talent and quality of art and gaming experience

    Advice to Management

    Move on to a mainstream technology like Unreal 4 or Unity instead of spending resources patching up the limitations of the old engine.

  8. "Fun, but Flawed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Telltale Games full-time

    Pros

    I regularly worked with great people in great teams on the ground floor. Most people cared about doing the best they could, even when held back by constraints.

    Cons

    Too much, too fast, not enough forethought.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Incredible and Unique Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Telltale Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    It's super fun to be able to associate with kind workers that are creative and willing to help me with any given task.

    Cons

    It may get a bit tiring after a while and the pacing of the work environment should slow down, which is their main goal right now.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Good place to start, but you won't want to stay long"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Rafael, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Rafael, CA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Telltale Games full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - cool people to work with; felt like a family at times
    - IPs could be exciting to the right people
    - flexibility with PTO
    - good place to get your start and learn about the ins and outs of making games very quickly

    Cons

    - felt like constant crunch; no downtime during the year to just take it easy and work on the finer details of the product
    - pay was way too low for the location and raises only came with promotions or yearly review (capped at 4%)
    - some teams are overworked and end up burnt out constantly (QA, Chore, Build/D+R, Production)


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