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Ousted Former CEO Sues Telltale Games

Former Telltale Games CEO Kevin Bruner recently filed a breach-of-contract complaint against the studio he co-founded in 2004.

According to Marin County, Calif. court documents, Bruner asserts that he is owed compensatory damages following his premature expulsion from the company’s board. After an investment by Lionsgate in 2015, the Telltale board restructured its leadership, gradually pushing out Bruner and Dan Connors, another co-founder. Bruner said his contract entitled him to informational support while he prepared to sell his shares in the company, but alleges that Telltale cut him off from communication with the board, delaying his stock offering.

“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,” according to the lawsuit first reported on by the Marin Independent Journal.

Bruner became CEO of Telltale in 2015, having served as the company’s chief technology officer for more than a decade. During his time with the developer, Telltale Games released video games based on “Back to the Future,” “Batman,” “Game of Thrones,” “Jurassic Park,” “Minecraft,” and “The Walking Dead,” many selling tens of millions of units and earning widespread critical acclaim.

His tenure as chief executive at the company, however, has been the subject of much criticism. Two separate investigations — one published by USgamer and one by The Verge — found that Bruner’s stewardship saw the studio becoming increasingly reliant on harmful “crunch” practices, leading to poor labor conditions and a toxic environment.

Bruner filed the lawsuit in February; a pre-trial conference is scheduled for July 17.

On Wednesday, Netflix confirmed that it had recently partnered with Telltale Games to launch an interactive TV series based on “Minecraft: Story Mode,” slated to release this fall on the streaming platform. Telltale, meanwhile, is developing a new game based on the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things,” which will eventually come to PC and consoles.

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