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"Developers deserve a lot better than what this industry is giving us right now" says ex-Telltale dev

"Developers deserve a lot better than what this industry is giving us right now" says ex-Telltale dev

Ex-Telltale Games staffer Emily Grace Buck has accused the company of gambling with the livelihoods of it employees.

Speaking at Sweden Game Conference - as reported by - the former narrative designer gave a post-mortem about the studio's implosion saying that developers need protections, especially in the United States where utilities such as healthcare are governed by someone's job.

"How do we start holding leadership accountable to the people who work for their company?" she said.

"How do we convince them to stop gambling with our livelihoods in an attempt to get more funding? Because quite frankly... at Telltale that's kind of what happened. Those weren't done deals. It was always possible that they could fall through. That's how deals work...

"So I'm not going to say this is the only answer, or even necessarily the best answer, but especially in the United States, where your work is tied to your healthcare, I think we need to have a really serious conversation about potentially starting a union."

She continued: "Something needs to shift in the way that companies in the US are treating their workers," she continued. "I mean not just in games, but definitely in games."

Buck referred to the recent SAG-AFTRA voice actors strike, which resulted in workers getting better deals for their labour, and the need for unions to provide a safety net for staff.

"It would at least be nice to have some sort of safety network to rely on if you end up out in the cold unable to pay rent," she said.

"We need to have a conversation. We need to talk about what our options are. We deserve a lot better than what happened at Telltale. Not just the Telltale devs, but everyone in the gaming community.

"We deserve a lot better than what this industry is giving us right now, and I hope that by listening to this talk, you're thinking about what's going on at your own company. If you know the finances, are you confident that you can take care of everyone? Are you someone who mandates extra long hours? Are you someone who voluntarily works extra long hours to show that you're passionate, and might be accidentally creating a culture of overwork at your company? Are you someone who might want to start to form a union?"

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.