Skip to main content

John Carmack says Microsoft's Bethesda buyout might let him 're-engage' with old games

(Image credit: Oculus VR)

Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax Media and all its various studios is the big news of the day, and id Software co-founder John Carmack appears to be all in favor of the buyout. 

Carmack, you'll recall, was a Bethesda employee for a time, after ZeniMax acquired id in 2009. But that came to an end in 2013, when Carmack resigned to focus on VR development, and took a turn for the ugly a year later when ZeniMax filed a lawsuit against Oculus, accusing it of using ZeniMax intellectual property to develop the Oculus Rift headset. 

Later, it directly accused Carmack of stealing thousands of internal documents and an internal development tool when he resigned; Carmack responded by suing ZeniMax for $22.5 million, money he said was still owed on the id Software buyout. 

The matter was settled in late 2018, but you can imagine that a few hard feelings might linger. But with new owners in place, Carmack expressed hope that he might be able to "re-engage" with some of his previous work:

See more

There's still much about the deal that isn't known, including how the revised management structure will work, but Bethesda vice president Pete Hines said in a blog post that "we're still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us." That might dampen Carmack's enthusiasm a bit, but on the other hand, a Carmack – id reunion in just about any form would be a heck of a headline.

Carmack is best known for co-creating Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake during his time at id Software, but co-founder Tom Hall appears to be holding out hope for Commander Keen.

See more
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.