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Today, Bethesda announced on a variety of social media platforms that Robert A. Altman, Founder and CEO of ZeniMax Media (a video game holding company that owns Bethesda), has died.



We are deeply saddened to tell you of the passing of Robert A. Altman, our Founder and CEO. He was a true visionary, friend, and believer in the spirit of people and the power of what they could accomplish together. He was an extraordinary leader, and an even better human being.

During the pandemic, Robert would send out an email every week to keep in touch with everyone in the company. Everyone always looked forward to these and we thought we’d share one of his notes with you:


To The ZeniMax Family:

Last week I mentioned some small pleasure I had discovered as a byproduct of the lockdown. Some of you have since written to share your own experiences and describe other quiet joys WFH brings: the growing numbers of song birds in our backyards, quieter streets, adventurous efforts baking bread and mixing cocktails, long walks, restaurant takeout, time to read. While we clearly miss treasured social interactions, something valuable has been gained too.

We know many are feeling the pressure of isolation, and the stresses related to our current circumstances. Again, I urge you to make time for yourselves daily, schedule online social gatherings, and keep your perspective, knowing this will pass.

Tomorrow I encourage everyone to take a break to toast our Company’s 21st birthday, and reflect on the long journey we have taken together. You have done something extraordinary, something few startups ever do. You have created a multinational, multi-billion dollar business, stacked with talent at all levels of the company, carving out a leadership role, earning the admiration of our toughest competitors and devoted fans. And you have done it the right way, always faithful to our core principles of integrity, respect, team, quality. Don’t let the day pass without taking a moment to enjoy your remarkable creation.

Looking forward to being back together. As always, stay safe.


We are proud to carry on the values and principles Robert taught us. We extend our deepest sympathies to Robert’s family, who are a part of our family and have always treated us as part of theirs.

Thank you for everything you did for all of us, Robert.

Rest in Peace.


A former lawyer, Altman founded ZeniMax in 1999 alongside Bethesda Softworks founder Christopher Weaver. Notably, the company acquired the Fallout franchise in 2004 from Interplay Entertainment, thus leading to the critically acclaimed Fallout 3. Today, ZeniMax is the parent company to Alpha Dog Games, Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks, id Software (developer of Doom), MachineGames (developer of the Wolfenstein series), Roundhouse Studios, Tango Gameworks (developer of The Evil Within), and ZeniMax Online Studios.

Due to the sudden news of his death, fellow friends and “rivals” in the video game industry have expressed their condolences online, including former President of Nintendo of America  Reggie Fils-Aimé and the current President of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser:



Robert A. Altman leaves behind his wife, Lynda Carter, and their two children.

We here at Nintendo Wire extend our sympathies to his family, friends, co-workers, and thank him for his incredible contributions to the video game community and industry.


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Written by Jennifer Burch

Illustrator, designer, writer and big Nintendo geek, you can find Jennifer with an N3DS within reach 24/7. As the oldest of three, she has survived many Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart sessions intact in addition to getting her brothers hooked on some really weird games. (Cubivore anyone?)