In news that possibly everyone saw coming, The Wolf Among Us 2 has been delayed beyond this year. In a post to Twitter yesterday evening, the newly-revived (minus most of its original staff (opens in new tab)) Telltale Games announced that it had “made the difficult decision to delay The Wolf Among Us 2 out of 2023”. But given that it’s been nearly a decade since the last episode of the first series released, I can probably stand to wait a little longer.
We’ve made the difficult decision to delay The Wolf Among Us 2 #TWAU2.To give more context, we spoke with IGN: https://t.co/afoCUHZwIy pic.twitter.com/KhrAfIrwYBMarch 1, 2023
Telltale says the delay is about “protecting the health of [its] team,” and in a chat with IGN (opens in new tab), studio boss Jamie Ottilie said it was about avoiding crunch. “Burning people out or grinding them down is the wrong thing to do long-term,” said Ottilie, “As an industry, if we’re going to continue to grow, we have to stop it. We just have to stop doing it and make better choices”. The only alternative to either delaying the game or crunching would have been shipping an unfinished game, which the studio apparently refuses to do. “If we put this game out and it’s not ready, we’re going to get torn to shreds,” said Ottilie.
The Wolf Among Us 2 was announced early in its development cycle in 2019, while Telltale was still staffing up for full production, and it’s been hindered by all the stuff you’d expect: Covid-19 and the tight labour market that followed it, but it’s also been impacted by a decision to switch the game from Unreal Engine 4 to 5. Ottilie says the change has been worth it, but it’s meant redoing work that was already done for the UE4 version of the game.
It’s not surprising that this new Telltale would be sensitive to crunch. The original studio was notorious for it, with staff working 80-hour weeks that the company’s co-founder defended (opens in new tab) as a necessary practice. “We tried to create an environment where you really had to [crunch] to survive at Telltale,” Kevin Bruner, the original Telltale’s co-founder, said in 2019. Given that this was almost certainly a terrible experience for its staff and the company eventually folded anyway (opens in new tab), it’s hardly a surprise that nu-Telltale is trying to adopt a more measured pace.
There’s no word on when The Wolf Among Us 2 has been delayed to, unfortunately, but I hold out hope it’s only been postponed to early(ish) next year. The original Wolf Among Us series was, alongside The Walking Dead, one of original Telltale’s more notable successes, and PCG’s Tyler Wilde praised it for its “ethical challenges, and the quality of the characters and writing” in his The Wolf Among Us review (opens in new tab) back in 2014. Until we get more news, I guess I’ll just keep rewatching that Wolf Among Us 2 trailer (opens in new tab) we got last year. It might have to tide us over for some time to come.