ZeniMax Media has announced that its CEO and co-founder Robert Altman has died at the age of 74. ZeniMax is the parent company of Bethesda, with subsidiaries such as id Software, Arkane Studios, and MachineGames under it.
Altman’s passing was confirmed through a post on Bethesda’s social media, which included an email he sent to ZeniMax employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 pleasures 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, multibillion 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 the 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 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.
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. pic.twitter.com/FZFsVtHc5t
— Bethesda (@bethesda) February 4, 2021
As of this writing, no cause of death nor who will be taking Altman’s place at the company have been confirmed. However, several current and past Bethesda and ZeniMax employes took to social media to share stories of his influence.
Robert Altman's weekly email to the company during COVID work from home was one of the things I looked forward to the most each week, during a time when everything else felt so uncertain. His passing is a huge loss to the company and the gaming industry as a whole. https://t.co/kLWyBzOMhX
— Lissanna (@restokin) February 4, 2021
This one really hurts. Zenimax is hands down the best place I have ever worked, and Robert is a big reason why. He built a company around treating employees with respect and dignity and he did it with his leadership. My thoughts go out to his entire family and all my co-workers https://t.co/KDEoXBghOc
— Bill Mueller (@BillsAudio) February 4, 2021
We are all completely heartbroken. He was truly one of the best people. https://t.co/KFqKDcJ0mo
— Megan Sawyer (@ghost_girl13) February 4, 2021
ZeniMax was acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion in September, and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer also released his own statement.
I am incredibly saddened by the news that we have lost an industry icon, partner, and close friend Robert Altman. Sending love and strength to his family and all the teams at Zenimax/Bethesda during this very difficult time. https://t.co/f3JylOL0QJ
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 4, 2021
Altman founded ZeniMax Media in 1999 alongside Christopher Weaver. The company and its subsidiaries are currently working on projects such as Deathloop and an Indiana Jones video game. Presumably for Xbox and Windows platforms following Microsoft acquiring the company last year.