Insomniac Games is one of the developers scooping up talent from the dissolution of The Walking Dead studio Telltale Games. Former Telltale lead writer Mary Kenney announced on social media that she is going to work for the Marvel’s Spider-Man company in 2019.
Kenney worked as lead writer on The Walking Dead: The Final Season at Telltale. She also did some narrative design for Batman: The Enemy Within. Now, she will take her skills to work on projects for Insomniac — although she likely won’t have time to contribute to Marvel’s Spider-Man. The webslinger’s final downloadable-content expansion already debuted earlier in December.
“I am over-the-moon thrilled to tell y’all that I’m joining Insomniac in the New Year,” Kenney wrote on Twitter.
Insomniac is coming off of its biggest hit ever. Spider-Man is the No. 4 best-selling game of 2018 so far. That puts it just behind Red Dead Redemption II and Far Cry 5 even though the superhero simulator is only on PlayStation 4. And one of the stand-out features of Insomniac’s Peter Park adventure is its writing. With Spider-Man, Insomniac embraced comic-book storytelling with good and evil, relationships and betrayal, and everything that has always made the character so appealing.
Kenney could end up working on a new Spider-Man game, which seems inevitable. Or she could end up writing on a completely different project. Insomniac usually has multiple games in development. But whatever the studio makes next, it will likely want to ensure that it has quality writing similar to Spider-Man.
The Telltale fallout
Kenney is just one of over 270 people who lost their jobs when Telltale collapsed starting in September. At the time, Telltale said it would keep some staff on, but it cut even some of those positions in October.
Since then, many have found work, but others are still looking. Most notably, The Walking Dead comics publisher and writer Robert Kirkman said his company Skybound would finish development on The Final Season. During the Kinda Funny Games Showcase earlier this month, Skybound revealed that Episode 3: Broken Toys would launch January 15.
To help finish the game, Skybound attempted to bring on as many of the original developers as it could. The company has about 40 ex-Telltale devs working on the game.
“We’re extremely thankful to the team working on this game to make sure the season is finished with the quality the game and the fans deserve,” read a Skybound statement. “We are #stillnotbitten.”
The gaming industry has grown 21 percent year-over-year in 2018 in the United States alone, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. With spending at such a fever pitch, demand for talent is high. And that is enabling a smoother transition for Telltale employees. That is especially important considering the studio did not pay any severance.
And while Telltale is done, it’s clear that it will continue to affect the industry with the people who are leaving the studio behind.
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