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Former Telltale CEO sues studio, alleges breach of contract

Kevin Bruner, former head of Telltale Games, claims the developer has denied its contractual obligations to him.

When you look at a studio making as many exciting, critically-acclaimed games as Telltale, it's easy to assume everything's rosy at the company. That changed when founder and CEO Kevin Bruner left last year, exposing conflicts and issues within the studio.

Telltale has focused on new projects since, but a new complication has arrived: Bruner is suing the company for alleged breach of contract.

According to the Marin Independent Journal (via GameIndustry.biz), Bruner filed a lawsuit in February alleging that Telltale was contractually required to support him in selling holdings. It goes on to claim that Telltale cut off communication with Bruner shortly afterwards, denying these obligations.

Specifics may be hard to come by. In this case, confidentiality and financial privacy overrides public access of court records, so many details in the filing have been heavily redacted. "The net effect of Bruner's alleged removal from the board of directors was that Bruner was deprived of relevant insight into the management and financial state of Telltale and the value of its shares," the lawsuit claims.

Telltale's lawyers have responded by saying the claim is "meritless" and "an apparent means of extracting revenge on a company already under financial strain."

Back in March, GamesIndustry.biz published a report that Telltale employees felt Brenner contributed to toxicity in the workplace. "It often felt like we were building games specifically for [Bruner]," the report reads. "We were tailoring the type of content we were building - not just gameplay mechanics, but tone, the types of characters we chose to use - to his taste. This was one of the biggest issues with him as a CEO: he was pretty convinced that his taste was everyone's taste."

The lawsuit returns to court on July 17, 2018. It's possible more details will emerge at that time.

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