Bethesda parent acquires id Software

Quake, Doom, Fallout, Oblivion come under one roof as ZeniMax Media purchases developer of Rage; [UPDATE] co-founder John Romero voices disapproval.


One of the longest-tenured independent developers in the gaming industry has been acquired. Today ZeniMax Media announced that it has purchased id Software. Best known to gamers as the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax will add id properties like Doom, Quake, and the upcoming Rage to a library that already includes blockbusters like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3.

ZeniMax just became a major player in the first-person shooter category.
ZeniMax just became a major player in the first-person shooter category.

While id Software will become a part of ZeniMax, the developer will retain a certain amount of autonomy. ZeniMax confirmed that id founder John Carmack will continue serving as id's technical director, with no changes to be made in the company's day-to-day operations or development process. Additionally, ZeniMax noted that "all the principals at id Software have signed long-term employment contracts."

"This puts id Software in a wonderful position going forward," Carmack said in a statement. "We will now be able to grow and extend all of our franchises under one roof, leveraging our capabilities across multiple teams while enabling forward looking research to be done in the service of all of them. We will be bigger and stronger, as we recruit the best talent to help us build the landmark games of the future."

While the focus of the news is on the newly related Bethesda and id Software, a third ZeniMax property offers perhaps further possibilities for extending franchises. In 2007, ZeniMax secured $300 million in funding to establish ZeniMax Online, a developer focused on massively multiplayer online games.

The move bolsters ZeniMax's upcoming release schedule with the addition of id projects like Rage and Doom 4. While the latter title does not have an announced publisher, Rage was confirmed as an EA Partners project at Electronic Arts' 2008 Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing. The acquisition apparently won't affect the EA Partners deal. EA corporate communications head Jeff Brown told GameSpot, "At EA, we wish both ZeniMax and id the best of luck on their new relationship. We’re still very excited about publishing Rage, which we think is going to be one of the best games of 2010."

[UPDATE] However, such enthusiasm was not shared by id Software co-founder John Romero, who left the company in 1996 to develop Daikanta at Ion Storm. "ZENIMAX??????? Disgusting," he declared on his Twitter page, before going on to muse, "Fallout 3 bought DOOM. Wow."

The privately held ZeniMax was founded in 1999 and based in Rockville, Maryland. The firm's board of directors includes a number of notable figures, including filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer, Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken Jr., and Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of GameSpot parent company CBS.

No purchase price for the acquisition was disclosed.

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Avatar image for mhaneline

This is fantastic. John Carmack is my hero. Quake 2 totally changed video games forever. I want to see leaps like that again in the future.

Avatar image for ymarkman

Huh. Sounds like someone doesn't like evolution. Oh well. Zenimax is a good company; they got excellent developers like Bethesda on their side.

Avatar image for quincy45cs

iD is one of the three personalities a person possess according to the psychologist sigmund freud. It's the "evil" or better, dark and animalistic part of your personality. It's counterparts are you ego and super-ego. Of course it's all just theory and psychobabble

Avatar image for Sonz0fthunda

I don't mean to sound stupid but what does id mean?

Avatar image for JakeYourself

I respect John Romero for his movies. Daikatana....not so much. He left 13 years ago wtf does he care who buys his old company, it's in more capable hands now, and with a collaboration between these two great companies we can probably expect to see some pretty exciting stuff over the next few years.

Avatar image for heinzsteinhoff

After Fallout 3, ZeniMax should not be allowed to buy great franchises, since the probability that they will destroy the game is high

Avatar image for mikeherb

I think this is a good move for id software. Their team needs some size to compete with the new gaming generation. Nowadays you can't make a game the size of Fallout or Killzone with 10 people. You'll still see Carmack at the helm but they can fill a lot of extra things in-house which is good. Why is John Romero even mentioned on here? He hasn't worked for id in 13 years and Daikatana wasn't very good either. It's like not getting over your ex girlfriend. We care about John Carmack's opinion, not John Romero.

Avatar image for hsvwa

As long as they don't make a Fallout movie that turns out to be a Doom movie clone, ie they butcher the storyline.

Avatar image for jrf773

After Daikatana, John Romero is not allowed an opinion.

Avatar image for Lone_Wolf94

I can't wait to see all the new and improved games there going to make! But for all the FO3 fans that have a ps3, the add-ons will be around mid to late September, it will start out with broken steel

Avatar image for PaVILiOn_010

@wer85 I very highly doubt they will ever come to PS3. They're done with the DLC's as far as I've heard (well, Mothership Zeta is coming up, but w/e), and plus they have to work on Fallout: New Vegas. I think there might be PS3 DLC for NV, but not for FO3.

Avatar image for spetz_naz_basic

Interesting acquisition and I think both id's and Bethesda's franchises will benefit from the synergy. Does anybody actually care what Romero thinks anymore? Pointless update.

Avatar image for Excedra

fallout rocked i guess

Avatar image for wer85

when are t fallout 3 DLC's coming 2 platstation 3

Avatar image for Madrak_Arakeen

@Geekbasher Hey, not a bad idea, bringing in some nostalgia-twinged products to the market. The entertainment industry thrives on such a concept. Back on topic, while it stinks to be bought out, mergers like this one hold great promise. I've seen the numerous "Fallout themed Doom" comments, and that sounds fun. But imagine some of the unique IP's that might come out of this. Action-RPG's might see a third renaissance, akin to what Diablo I did to create the genre. (Take that with a grain of salt, it's the first early ARPG title that I could come up with.)

Avatar image for J0nGalt

Hopefully doom becomes a fallout clone. Don't be a purist moron.

Avatar image for LoveNgoan

so could Fallout have dynamic shadows now, to me, an action oriented game without it in this age would just look sad, in a bad way

Avatar image for therealsomeguy

This could be a good thing as long as they do not turn doom, the game that inspired hundreds of "doom-clones" into a fallout clone

Avatar image for SchmeeboDaBear

Why is everyone sad about this, just because id got bought out, it doesn't mean they have no control anymore, if anything the games are going to become better. I mean imagine the possibilities of what they could be capable of now, with the people who made Oblivion and Fall out at their backs. This isn't the end of id, its like they're getting reborn. I can't wait to see the future!

Avatar image for aura_enchanted

farewell id you will be missed by many. i shall keep my copy of quake 1 through 3 on my shelf next to my copy of super mario all-stars and elder scrolls 2 for ideas that just never were well preformed as they were thought up or assembled.

Avatar image for Insanister

I see a bright light at the end of this tunnel. I'm quite relieved about this. I hope they can work together to create better games for our future. Just think of it, with id being a pioneer in FPS and Bethesda with its knowledge of RPGs, can you see what I see?

Avatar image for ronnieo54

I think Romero delivered a pizza to me last week. He had a Daikatana bumper sticker on his Yugo.

Avatar image for batmanboy11

Interesting. Image a what games could be made... (drool).

Avatar image for kejigoto

The man who developed Daikatana, and also left ID Software in 1996 to do so, is voicing his distaste for this buy out? Does this guy even really matter? The game he left to develop and had his name all over was only decent on the Gameboy Color... Not the Nintendo 64, not the PC, but the Gameboy Color. Who cares what you think, you haven't been with the company since 1996, that's well over 10 years. Plus he used Twitter which instantly made his comment a failure. Way to be a 13 year old girl on this one buddy. Maybe come back with a decent project and you might have some sway here when it comes to your opinion, however when the man who made Daikatana stands up and speaks ill of the deal, I really tend to not listen.

Avatar image for GinoNYC

This sucks, but at least it's not EA..

Avatar image for Phylyn5151

As long as ID is free to make what they want, they have proved in the past that everything they make is gold. Could you imagine a "Doom" style game similar to Oblivian or Fallout 3? That would be awsome. And whats with Romero, Sour Grapes?!!??!!??

Avatar image for Jedilink109

Sounds interesting....let's see what comes of it.

Avatar image for knux15

Wow, so now I am seeing Rage being an awesome shootem up racer but before and after all the action you have to go up to a guy, hit the spacebar, loose all camera control, watch some of the most horrifying lip syncing ever and if you get the PC version... LFMAO you won't even get to the action because the game crashed already!

Avatar image for Kfoss

now i actually have high hopes for Rage...

Avatar image for Paladin_basic

Lets just point at Daikanta and laugh for a moment before we go any further. He's certainly changed his tune now on his twitter page lol. I also agree with Generic Dude. id have hardly been a productive software house of recent years, this could well be for the best

Avatar image for JACKAL1883

if they mess with ID they will hear from me!

Avatar image for Generic_Dude

Cal Ripken Jr? That's odd. Anyway, two great companies under one roof... In my opinion, id Software hasn't really released anything too amazing since Return To Castle Wolfenstein... hopefully Zenimax's direction will give them a shot in the arm. Given the success and quality of the recent Elder Scrolls titles and Fallout 3, it's relatively clear, despite John Romero's dismissive statement, that they know what they're doing.

Avatar image for Inconnux

Romero's 'ego' was largely a PR disaster that was created by a poor marketing department. Every interview that I have read with him shows that he is a pretty decent guy... as for that 'crazy gamer girl' they separated and he married another lady a couple yrs ago. Romero has kept busy but mainly stays in the background now (do you blame him???) id has never been the same without Romero... its too bad that him and Carmack went their separate ways because together they were an unbeatable team.

Avatar image for perfect_chao

Can't wait to see how good doom 4 looks on PC personally, especially after John Carmack said its gonna look 3x better than RAGE on consoles. of course, it has to have a good game core too and hopefully the multiplayer will be alot better this time.

Avatar image for -HCMF-

say it ain't so...

Avatar image for blackace

Romero is a d***. lol!! He has a huge ego and think he can do know wrong. He's one of the reasons Ion Storm fell to pieces. Daikatana took almost 4 years mainly because Romero was spending all the funding money on luxury cars and partying all night. No one wants that nit making games for them, that's for sure. ********************************************************* People still care about Romero? That's news all by itself. --------------------------------------------------------------------- No one cares about Romero, but Romero. And maybe that nutty gamer girl who's still with him. This is why we see Carmack at the podium talking about games and not Romero. It sad, because Romero did have some talent, but he wasted it away. What has he made since the disastrous Daikatana? Nothing worth playing.

Avatar image for konradak

Haha what a child. Good, I hope some awesome games come out of this. Ion Storm? Didn't they do bad sequels to DE and Thief? Or something like that.

Avatar image for theragu40

Who gives two damns about what John Romero has to say? He's a twit who no longer knows how to make a game.

Avatar image for Zombunny

They should publish Doom 4 as a show of good faith

Avatar image for speedytimsi

To be fair John Romero was pretty good at doom, probably one of the greatest games. But too bad he also f**ked up the game called daikatana, one of the worst games ever.

Avatar image for Obliterati

I'm surprised that goofy half-wit John Romero is still alive. I'm even more surprised that anyone would actually bother to seek out his opinion on anything, ever.

Avatar image for lukas1051

OMG, imagine a Fallout style Doom... I think I just came.

Avatar image for Semaphore313

ZeniMax has a good track record, so this should be beneficial for all concerned. I don't think Romero really has any credibility left...

Avatar image for PierJ

I don't know if I'm happy or not about this... However is an incredible news about the business that now ZeniMax will manage with Id Software.

Avatar image for Metalnoid

Well... ok. Now what?

Avatar image for Lisje

to thrjpo: Your big issue is that a game developer takes SO long to release a new title? Funny, most forums are full of people screaming about post-release patches that are required because games are released before being fully tested. VirtualTofu is correct when he alludes that fewer studios is a BAD thing for gamers. Remember games are an "entertainment" industry. Movies and audio artists have a production cycle that necessarily can often take 2 years or more, games are the same. Enthusiasts of those media have a large variety producers of their product, so there is little waiting for "the next great thing" involved for them. With the decline of independents, gamers are disadvantaged, and thus more manipulated. This may be a great move and beneficial to all - but I remain skeptical.

Avatar image for Shadow_Dog

Well, lets just hope they don't put that toward making crappy mac graphic engines that nobody cares about and nobody will ever play.

Avatar image for zalb

That Romero quote is pretty funny. I've been a Carmack fan since I read Masters Of Doom.

Avatar image for aguacate02

let's hope this transaction brings great new titles that combine the both of the companies great development styles, good luck!!!

Avatar image for cid_007

Bethesda had sexy booth babes at E3! Nice work, guys.