Robert A. Altman, ZeniMax CEO And Co-Founder, Has Died

Altman founded ZeniMax in 1999 with Bethesda Softwork's Christopher Weaver.


Robert A. Altman, the CEO and chairman of ZeniMax Media--parent company of Bethesda Softworks--has passed away, it was announced today. Bethesda shared the news in a post on Twitter, which you can see below, along with a letter from Altman's son, James.

Altman pivoted from his previous work as a lawyer to gaming in 1999, when he and Bethesda Softworks founder Christopher Weaver founded ZeniMax Media. Consolidating Bethesda Softworks at the time, the publisher has gone on to include studios such as Arkane, iD Software, MachineGun Games, Tango Gamesworks, and more.

Bethesda celebrated its late CEO in a heartfelt post on Twitter, sharing one of Altman's frequent emails to the company.

On Bethesda's website, you can read a letter from James Altman, Bethesda's director of publishing operations and Robert's son. In it, he shares anecdotes such as how Robert would email the entire company if he had unused baseball tickets, and how Bethesda boss Todd Howard collected notes with Robert's quips during meetings.

James also talked about the impending sale of ZeniMax to Microsoft, saying, "Robert and I had strategic discussions many times, and he was always uncompromising that he would never make a deal if our developers would not support it. 'I don't care how much money anyone offers. We will never be acquired unless it's a good home for our studios,' he would say. I can’t think of a better home than Microsoft. And all the more fitting that we will soon be working for Phil Spencer, of course, yet another of Robert’s close friends and a man Robert regularly described as one of the greatest minds in our industry."

Both Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared their condolences to everyone at both ZeniMax and Bethesda. As noted above, Microsoft is currently in the process of acquiring ZeniMax Media and all of its studios.

Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser is also among those speaking out on Twitter, sharing his shock over Altman's passing.

Altman is survived by his wife, Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter, and their two children.

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