Bethesda Softworks, LLC, is an American video game publisher. A subsidiary of ZeniMax Media, the company was originally based in Bethesda, Maryland, and eventually moved to their current location in Rockville, Maryland. Consisting of a broad portfolio of games in role-playing, racing, simulation, and sports, Bethesda Softworks' major franchises are distributed worldwide.
Bethesda Softworks has been a developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content for over two decades.Though since 2001 Bethesda Softworks is only a publisher and Bethesda Game Studios is the developer. Founded in 1986 by Christopher Weaver in Bethesda, Maryland, and moved to Rockville, Maryland, in 1990, the company has a long history of PC and console games. In 1999, Christopher Weaver and Robert Altman founded ZeniMax Media, Inc.
Bethesda is credited with the creation of the first physics-based sports simulation (Gridiron!) in 1986 for the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga and Commodore 64/128. Early games scored respectably in the gaming press.
The company is best known for creating The Elder Scrolls RPG series, based upon the original programming of Julian Lefay. The first chapter of the series, entitled The Elder Scrolls: Arena, was released in 1994. Since that time, numerous other chapters have been released. The game's direct sequels, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim were released in 1996, 2002, 2006 and 2011, respectively. Additionally, the game has had three spin-offs: Battlespire (1997), Redguard (1998), and The Elder Scrolls Travels series.
Bethesda Softworks is also known for publishing titles based upon popular movie franchises, including The Terminator, Star Trek and Pirates of the Caribbean.
In 2004, the Fallout franchise was acquired by Bethesda Softworks from Interplay Productions and the development of Fallout 3 was handed over to Bethesda Game Studios. Fallout 3 was released on October 28, 2008. Five downloadable content packs for Fallout 3 were released in the year following its release—Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta. Obsidian Entertainment's new Fallout title, Fallout: New Vegas was published in 2010.
Bethesda Softworks continues to expand their publishing into new franchises, releasing Wet and Rogue Warrior in 2010, and Splash Damage's Brink and inXile Entertainment's Hunted: The Demon's Forge' in 2011.
On June 24, 2009, Bethesda's parent company, ZeniMax Media, acquired id Software, whose titles, including Rage, would be published by Bethesda Softworks – it was later announced that any games using the new id Tech 5 game engine will be published by them.