Telltale Games has delayed The Wolf Among Us 2 out of its 2023 launch window and into 2024, in order to avoid burnout and crunch at the studio.
The Wolf Among Us 2 - the sequel to Telltale's acclaimed 2013 narrative adventure based on Bill Willingham's Fables comic books - has had an eventful development. It was first announced in 2017, but progress halted after the studio shut its doors the following year. It was then unexpectedly re-announced in 2019, after Telltale was resurrected under new management.
This new version - which is being co-developed by AdHoc Studio, co-founded by original Wolf Among Us co-director Nick Herman, and made up of almost 50-percent former Telltale employees - was initially expected to launch in 2023, but Telltale has now pushed the game's release into next year, as detailed in a statement shared on Twitter.
"We started work on this in 2020 and we're still determined to tell the ongoing story of Big and the rest of the Fabletown gang," it wrote. "However, it is going to require more time. As disappointed as you are hearing this, we feel worse having to say it. But the work continues."
"We're committed to delivering the sequel fans deserve," the studio continued, "and doing what's right for the game while protecting the health of our team".
Telltale Games CEO Jamie Ottilie, who helped resurrect the studio in 2019, expanded on the statement in a short interview with IGN, explaining a number of factors have impacted The Wolf Among Us 2's development - including difficulties staffing up during the pandemic and the development team's desire to switch to Unreal Engine 5.
While work is said to be "proceeding well", the engine switch - which is happening as "many on [the] team, specifically engineers and artists, feel [the new features] are worth the effort" - will mean redoing "quite a bit of work" already done in Unreal Engine 4.
All this means Telltale would have either had to ship an unfinished game or crunch to meet its originally announced 2023 release - neither being an option in Ottilie's eyes. "If we put this game out and it's not ready, we're going to get torn to shreds," he said. "The expectations are pretty high, and we want time to meet those and we want to be proud of it and know that, 'Hey, this is the best game we could have made.'"
And as for crunch, Ottilie told IGN, "I've done [crunch], and I don't want to do it again, and it's not fair to ask it...We don't want to burn out our good people...It's not how you build a business. And as an industry, we're terrible about it. We burn our people out. We burn our best people out faster. And as an industry, if we're going to continue to grow...we just have to stop doing it and make better choices."
Telltale's second announced game, a prequel to Amazon's acclaimed sci-fi show The Expanse that's being made in partnership with Life is Strange: True Colors developer Deck Nine Games, is still scheduled to launch this year.