Bethesda Softworks is a development studio located in Rockville, Maryland. Bethesda specializes in role-playing games, and is considered by many to be one of the leading Western RPG developers along with Bioware. Bethesda has released many well-received games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 3. Bethesda bought the license to create Fallout games from Interplay in 2004 for one-million USD in cash. They then announced that they were working on their first installment in the Fallout franchise in 2007. Other licenses owned by Bethesda include the license for non-MMO Star Trek games. Bethesda is currently owned by ZeniMax Media Inc. who has provided Bethesda with enough funds to publish Fallout 3 on its own, and will likely be publishing its own games from here on out.
Bethesda Softworks was founded in 1985 by Christopher Weaver in Bethesda, Maryland. The company relocated to its current location of Rockville, Maryland in 1990. Bethesda's first title was a sports simulation game called Gridiron!, released in 1986. From 1986 to 1992 the company developed a number of games, including several Terminator titles and many sports simulator games. In 1993 Bethesda released the first game in what is likely its most recognizable franchise, The Elder Scrolls: Arena. Arena is a first person action RPG that put a lot of focus on side quests and featured an open ended world called, Tamriel. Company founder Christopher Weaver is recognized as the principal force behind the creation of the game. The Elder Scrolls: Arena was developed for the computer and released via CD-ROM, and Floppy disc. Bethesda released its second title in The Elder Scrolls series in 1996, called The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, for the computer.
In 1999, Bethesda Softworks was acquired by ZeniMax Media Inc., a company founded by Bethesda Softworks founder, Christopher Weaver and current ZeniMax Media Inc. CEO, Robert A. Altman. From 1999 to 2001, Bethesda developed and published mainly sports and racing titles like, NIRA Intense Import Drag Racing, Skip Barber Racing, PBA Bowling 2001, IHRA Motorsports, as well as an adventure game, Sea Dogs, and an action game, Echelon. In 2002, Bethesda released the third title in The Elder Scrolls series, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, for Windows PC and Xbox. The game was, at the time, one of Bethesda's most successful titles, selling over four million copies and winning numerous awards. Two expansion packs were released for the game, The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal in 2002, and The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon in 2003. In 2006, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released (published by 2K Games), receiving the best reviews, in average, of any The Elder Scrolls games, and selling over three million copies as of January 18, 2007. Bethesda developed and published its latest title, Fallout 3.
In 2004, Bethesda Softworks bought the rights to the Fallout IP from Interplay Entertainment, and started development on Fallout 3 the same year. The Executive Producer for the game was Todd Howard, who was involved, in different capacities, in all of the principal titles of The Elder Scroll series, and was Project Lead for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and executive producer for the development of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Fallout 3 was released, in North America on October 28, 2008, for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. The game was Bethesda's best selling game to date, shipping 4.7 million copies of the game internationally, for the first week, and producing a profit of $300 million. In 2009, the company released a staggering five pieces of Fallout 3 DLC (Downloadable Content) for the Xbox 360, PS3 and the PC.
Acquired by Microsoft
On September 21, 2020, Xbox Game Studios announced that they had purchased the entirety of Zenimax Media for $7.5 billion.
The Bethesda Softworks headquarters--located in Rockville, Maryland--is quite an extensive building. Video game publication Game Informer took a trip to the headquarters to shoot a behind the scene video for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Todd Howard revealed the large exercise room (where several members of the team go to practice martial arts) as well as large kitchen where the staff is served breakfast, lunch, and even dinner each day.