Tales from the Borderlands was an episodic game series from Telltale which saw the episodic developer adapt the popular Borderlands series. The first episode launched in late 2014 and both it and the rest of the series received a great reception from both gamers and critics.
However, despite being well reviewed, the game is apparently deem “a failure” by its publisher. In an oral history of the game, director Nick Herman revealed the game didn’t do well internally. “I had a hard time getting excited for the next thing,” he said. “Tales was my life for two years, and internally it was perceived as a failure. Critically it was a huge success, but from a sales and production standpoint, it wasn’t awesome.”
“I guess we already knew that stuff would be absent at the finish line,” he continued, “Pierre [Shorette] and I talk about how it’s hard enough to just make a shitty thing; that’s like 75% of the work. I guess it just seems crazy to not push for that last 25% and give yourself a shot at making something special.”
Many of the developers working on the game were taken off the project by the fifth episode. “About halfway through, we made a deal with the studio that if they let us go on, we would give up like 95% of our staff as long as they let us maintain a skeleton crew,” said Herman. “We had at least one person from every department working on the game. But that’s a very small team for an episode.” It sounds like the development was pretty difficult, but worth it given the great response it received.