Following the closure of Telltale Games and the shift between studios for the final season of The Walking Dead, Skybound Games aims to have the third (of four) chapters out the door soon. According to Skybound CEO Ian Howe, the aim is to keep the story rolling by the end of 2018.
I fully expect Episode 3 to be this year and I'll be very disappointed if we can't make that happen.
The above comes from a rather lengthy AMA hosted on The Walking Dead game's Reddit page. Howe was joined by Creative Director Kent Mudle and, if you're curious about how the final season is progressing, the communal interview is definitely worth a read.
Mudle's involvement is encouraging, as it shows that Skybound has brought talent from Telltale on-board to, bare minimum, finish the game they were working on before their previous employer went under. As noted in his profile at the top of the Reddit post, Mudle has been working on the game's final season from the start, as well as other Telltale games like Batman, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead: Michonne.
If all of this is a bit confusing, that's because a rather complicated series of events unfolded rather quickly about a month ago. In short, Telltale was getting ready to launch the second chapter of The Walking Dead: The Final Season when the studio laid off nearly 300 employees. With the third chapter due out in November and the fourth in December to wrap up the long-running storyline, the future of The Walking Dead became uncertain.
Telltale announced they were working to get the game into the hands of another team in the hopes of wrapping things up. The Walking Dead has been running for six years and, again, it was only a couple of months away from coming to a conclusion. In steps Skybound Games, which is owned by The Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman. Since much of the work on the final episodes was already finished, the hope is that the series will be completed in a way that's true to the vision of the men and women who were working so hard on the game only to have it unexpectedly evaporate.
To be clear, Howe stated that production on the third episode has not actually begun within Skybound at this point. He also made a joke that giving an estimate of "by the end of 2018" will likely cause a panic with his PR team, but it seems like a reasonable estimate. Again, it's a bizarre situation where the previous developer was already deep into the process of having the chapter ready to roll. Skybound hopes it won't take them more than a couple of months to finish the job and get it out to series fans, with the fourth chapter presumably to follow in early 2019.
The big takeaway here is that the series will be finished, and hopefully as close to what the original team was aiming for as humanly possible. It's a silver lining to an otherwise pretty dark cloud but, for Walking Dead diehards, it likely elicits a sigh of relief.