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Bethesda Softworks LLC


Bethesda Softworks LLC is a Rockville, Maryland, based game developer and publisher which was founded in 1986 by Christopher Weaver.

In 1994, the company became known as the "entertainment software division" of Media Technology Limited, an international engineering research and development firm founded by members of the Architecture Machine Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), of which Chris Weaver was CEO.

From Christopher Weaver (Jan 29, 2002):
"I founded Bethesda in 1986. To the best of our knowledge (and Johnny Wilson agrees with this so you can assume this information is reasonably accurate) we invented physics-based sports games. Our Gridiron! football program (for Amiga and Atari) was not statistically based but built to incorporate a bounded system of man-made rules operating within a physics-based world engine. So impressive was this novel system that Trip Hawkins, then President of Electronic Arts, asked Bethesda to become an affiliate and help design their "new" football game, John Madden Football."

"So, the best selling football game of all time was based in part upon Bethesda's design and physics-based approach to its Gridiron! game."

"Similarly, Bethesda created the Terminator series, years before id came up with Doom, and also introduced The Elder Scrolls series of RPG's starting with Arena, then Daggerfall and the soon-to-be-released (March/April 2002) third chapter, Morrowind. The Elder Scrolls series set new standards for large scale role-playing and influenced the RPG community in everything from single player to massively multiplayer games that were to follow."

"You may also be interested to learn that Bethesda Softworks is one of the last surviving private software publishers that was one of the original industry veterans in the 1980's such as EA, Origin, Sierra, Legend, etc. The fact that Bethesda is still publishing hit games (such as Morrowind) 17 years after its founding says a lot. While others around it have died or been swallowed up, Bethesda keeps marching to its own drummer..."
In 1999, Bethesda was acquired by ZeniMax Media Inc. when Media Technology Limited sold its stock to get additional development funds. Weaver and Robert Altman were the founders of the successor company.

The company's internal development division is Bethesda Game Studios and was established in 2001.

On 21 September 2020, Microsoft acquired Bethesda and all its studios.


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The German online magazine 4Players named Bethesda as Best Developer of 2011.

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