Recently I got the chance to speak with Pete Hines, VP Marketing and Public Relations at Bethesda Softworks about the big merger between Zenimax and ID Software. I want to thank Pete for answering my questions and to Tracey for arranging the interview.
OCMS: What brought about the move as ID had been a powerhouse independent for years?
I think we both saw a situation where we had two companies with similar cultures, similar philosophies on how to succeed in this business, and we could play to each other’s strengths. From id’s standpoint, they get to do what they’ve always done, make games, and get the benefit of having one publisher looking out for everything they create, making sure every one of them is a huge hit.
What advantages will the merger offer to both companies as well as gamers?
I think id saw value in being part of a publisher whose goals were aligned with theirs in the development, marketing, and sales of their games. Also, ZeniMax has deep pockets, which offers id stability and provides financial resources to enable them to grow. For ZeniMax, the deal provides us with significant additional internal development capability with a world-class developer, a wealth of FPS expertise, a library of well known brands/games to work with, and so on.
OCMS: What effect will this have on future ID releases such as Rage and Quake 5?
It does not have any impact on their current plans, other than allowing id to build up to the three full teams they wanted a little more quickly, now that they have additional resources.
OCMS: As a follow up, will we see future Doom games?
Yes, id has previously said Doom 4 is in development.
OCMS: What changes will there be to the core staff of ID if any?
All of the principals and current staff at id will remain. It is expected that the development team at id will grow.
OCMS: Knowing how passionate the folks at ID are about creating the best gaming engines, who will have the final say on any conflicts that may arise over future development?
We are both committed to doing what is best for the game, any game, whether it’s one made by id, or Bethesda Game Studios, or another developer. We’ll handle any issues that come up as needed.
OCMS: As s a follow up, where were quality assurance for ID games be held and who makes the call on the final build of the game before it is sent to duplication?
Bethesda Softworks will manage that QA process with id. Ultimately it’s id’s job to know their game and when it’s done, and QA’s job to make sure everything has been checked and rechecked to ensure nothing has been missed. None of this is new to them, or us, so I expect any changes to only be for the better.
OCMS: Will the marketing and promotion of ID titles change in the coming years and if so how?
Part of the reason for doing this deal is to allow id to participate more fully in the marketing of their titles, and know that they are a part of the publisher that is looking out for their game and how it is being promoted. As far as “how”, I think that comes from our approach to marketing, our ability to bring focus to a given game and give it the kind of attention it deserves.
OCMS: Do you forsee a move away from PC towards consoles as a result of this move?
I think the approach for Bethesda and id will continue to be cross platform. That doesn’t mean moving towards or away from any one platform, but making sure our games are available on as many platforms as will support them, so we get them to as many people as possible.
OCMS: What changes will we see in any Zenimax titles that were planned as a result of this move and have any titles been delayed or halted?
It doesn’t impact any other games Bethesda has in development. Nothing has changed.
OCMS: As a follow up, will any planned Zenimax releases now utilize ID gaming engines?
We are already working on Brink with the folks at Splash Damage, which uses id tech. Whether or not future games will use id’s tech will have to be evaluated on a game-by-game basis and what’s best for that game.
OCMS: Will there be any changes in the near future to Quake Con?
No, other than we’ve offered to help id in any way we can with the event. But QuakeCon will remain QuakeCon.
OCMS: As a final question, what would you say that this merger means to the hardcore gamer who has followed ID since the early days and for gamers in general?
I think it means even bigger and better games from id. They get to continue doing what they’ve always done: make great games. But they get to do so with additional backing and resources, which will allow them to build up their internal production to three full teams…something they’ve been planning to do but hadn’t fully implemented.