Kotaku's Stephen Totilo flexed his journalistic muscle this morning with a first-out-of-the-gate interview with id Software's John Carmack and Todd Hollenshead about their company's just-announced acquisition by ZeniMax, the company that also owns Bethesda.
Immediately after the news hit, we started seeing speculation all over the place about how the two development studios will work together. And for good reason. With id leveraging its immense technological advantage and Bethesda bringing its open-world role-playing chops to the table, far-flung ideas like the next Fallout or Elder Scrolls game running on id's super-impressive-looking id tech 5--which already powers Rage--don't seem so terribly outlandish. Though they do seem terribly awesome.
Anyway, Totilo rightfully addressed the topic of what kind of beautiful music Bethesda and id might make together in his story.
And will there be any Bethesda-id crossover coming out of this? "The teams are very much separate," Carmack said. "There is a lot of mutual respect there. There's going to be a lot of communication and cross-pollination. I doubt there's going to be any technology shifts between the two companies, but there's certainly going to be cooperation. And I wouldn't be shocked to see some hints of different things crossing over in different ways. That's just the kind of stuff when you have lots of people who think everybody is working on cool stuff together."
Sounds like nobody's rushing into anything, though who knows what the future holds? These are two respected developers with what I feel are pretty different strengths, so any way they can collaborate together seems like a win-win for the consumer. Hollenshead feels the same way about the ZeniMax ownership; he had this to say about how the deal will affect the day-to-day business at id.
"Things aren't really going to be different in terms of what's going on at id," Hollenshead said. "We're not going to change the kinds of games we make…. It allows us to accelerate the growth of our internal studios, so we can focus on making all of our internal games as opposed to working with external partners where there has been a step down in quality… There will be more, better games from id. So if you're a fan of the company, then it is all upside and all things to look forward to."
That quote about "external partners" and a "step down in quality" seems like a pointed dig at studios like Splash Damage and Raven, which have respectively done Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and both Quake 4 and the upcoming Wolfenstein under the id banner. But the guy seems to have a point. I'll be really curious to see how Doom 4 turns out, since it will probably be the first major id title to be developed almost entirely under the auspices of ZeniMax. Wolf and Rage will be published by Activision and EA, respectively, per existing agreements.
Id may not be the 800-pound gorilla it was in the mid-'90s, but this news still blew my mind this morning. Those guys have always had such a reputation of fierce independence, part of me thought they would never sell out, never submit to any degree of control by an outside party. I guess no company stays the same forever, though if all the details of this acquisition are as much on the up-and-up as they're purported to be, I'm hopeful id will at least remain a company that makes some pretty sweet games.
How does this news strike you? What was the first id game you played? Mine was the boxed shareware version of Doom, the original, which I bought in a Babbage's for maybe $5 and which went on to completely and utterly blow my young mind before quite literally changing my life in a nontrivial way. So I've always had and always will have a certain place in my heart for id.