id’s John Carmack and Todd Hollenshead have explained how changing circumstances with Activision and other studios spurred id’s sale to Bethesda parent ZeniMax.
According to Carmack, one of the problems lately, was that id just wasn’t a good fit with the big publishers. “As we were shopping Rage and Doom and upcoming stuff, talking about all of that, we were getting a pretty consistent line from all the publishers. They were willing to continue to fund our working with partner companies for all of these, but pretty much every publisher said, ‘Well, it would be worth much more to us if you would grow your studio and do more of your own work internally.“
Carmack spoke specifically of Activision, where id games such as the upcoming Wolfenstein, would be published under the same label as works from Activision’s internal studios Treyarch and Infinity Ward. “Going back to a much earlier time, we were just Activision’s shooter shop. We did the FPSes there. There was no conflict, and that was great. But they brought on their own internal studios and there’s a very real conflict there between whether they want to put resources behind something they own the IP for and derive all the profit for versus something where they don’t own the IP and they might feel like any effort they’re putting into it isn’t going into their value but somebody else’s. That problem has grown over the years as budgets have increased.“
Hollenshead stated that he found ZeniMax to be the best match for id in terms of its philosophy on how to best make and sell games. “Things aren’t really going to be different in terms of what’s going on at id. We’re not going to change the kinds of games we make…It allows us to accelerate the growth of our internal studios, so we can focus on making all of our internal games as opposed to working with external partners where there has been a step down in quality…There will be more, better games from id. So if you’re a fan of the company, then it is all upside and all things to look forward to.”
The actual terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.