An interview has disclosed a lot more information about the hows and whys of id Software’s deal with ZeniMax Media.Speaking to co-founder of id Software John Carmack, chief executive of ZeniMax Robert Altman, and id Software’s CEO Todd Hollenshead, the VentureBeat interview starts with the question as to how it all came about.ZeniMax, it transpires, approached id Software with an offer, which the company liked. The two “obvious choices” for buyer were Activision and Electronic Arts, “but we knew that we would have to go through big corporate changes if we went with them,” according to Carmack. “[…] We wouldn’t be their only shooter studio. We would be competing for resources with our brother and sister studios. There is no question if they have [a] Call of Duty project, there would be some degree of conflict there.”id didn’t see those problems with ZeniMax. “Fallout 3 is one of the favourite games of so many of our people. But they had zero overlap with the things we do. We do the best shooters in the world. It’s a perfect hand and glove fit. We started talking about this before they rolled out Fallout 3. We watch them roll it out worldwide. They really did what they said they could do. That was important in how we looked at this. They resurrected an old title and really made something big out of it. […] And we could do our games the same way we have been. The corporate cultures are compatible.”And when we go out to publish the games, now we will be doing that. We can become a publisher through ZeniMax,” finished Carmack.ZeniMax’s take, according to Altman, is that “in short, it’s id Software. That’s self explanatory.””I agree with John about the strategic fit. We have a publishing pipeline that we have created. We can use id to push additional titles through that pipeline. That gives us more scale. When you have an investment in publishing, you can release a series of large-franchise games that you can release each year. The logic becomes irresistable,” he continued. “Some deals look good on paper and then they don’t work when you integrate them. There will be none of that here. This is something that is going unbelievably smoothly.”In terms of how id are going to grow, Carmack has a plan in place. “We will add a third major development team. We started with the Quake Live team, which had less than a dozen people. The idea was to get them through the Quake Live project. Then we will take them through an intermediate step of doing multiplayer work for Rage and Doom 4. They can get familiar with our technology there. Then we will take one of our main intellectual properties and assign it to them. It’s not clear what that is. And that’s all we wanted: three teams. […] We have two teams doing big titles now. We have our mobile teams doing other work. But we’ll add that third major team over a period of time that we can foresee.”Carmack clarified that “the ramp-up won’t be done this year.”Rage will be EA-published, but according to Hollenshead, “[id] do our deals one at a time, rather than giving publishers sequel rights. Future publishing of titles like Doom 4 will be done by Bethesda.”With regards to Doom 4, Carmack states “Our plan was to show things to publishers late this year but we wouldn’t sign a publishing deal until next year. Lots of things were going great. The timing of this deal was just when we got it done.”And are ZeniMax looking for more deals? “We expect to have more than one major game a year,” says Altman. “For 2010, for instance, which doesn’t include Rage, we have Fallout New Vegas and Brink. […] We continue to look. We will do things that make strategic sense. But we aren’t under any pressure to do anything more.”

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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