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Bethesda Softworks, LLC, a ZeniMax Media Company, is an American developer and publisher of video games. The company was originally based in Bethesda, Maryland and eventually moved to their current location in Rockville, Maryland. With a broad panoply of games in role-playing, racing, simulation, and sports, Bethesda Softworks' major franchises are distributed worldwide. Bethesda is the publisher of Brink.


Bethesda Softworks has been a developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content for over two decades. Founded in 1986 by Christopher Weaver in Bethesda, Maryland and moved to Rockville, Maryland in 1990, Bethesda has a long history of PC and console games. In 1998, Weaver decided to expand the company beyond PC games and into multimedia and invited Robert A. Altman to help manage the new company. Weaver and Altman co-founded ZeniMax Media Inc. in 1999.

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, which led to Bethesda's creation of the first Madden NFL game for Electronic Arts. Bethesda's early games scored respectably in the gaming press, earning accolades as "the most accurate and enjoyable simulation of a sport I have ever had the pleasure to play", "the best ice hockey sim yet", for Wayne Gretzky Hockey, and a note that Gridiron! "demands a look."

Despite a long history of development in many genres, Bethesda is perhaps 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 and Morrowind, were released in 1996 and 2002, respectively. Additionally, the game has had several spin-offs: Battlespire (1997), Redguard, (1998) and The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey (2004). Since that time, numerous other chapters have been released. The latest chapter, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, was released in March 2006, and received numerous Game of the Year accolades. Bethesda is also known for publishing titles based upon popular movie franchises, including The Terminator, Star Trek, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In 2004, Bethesda acquired the Fallout franchise from Interplay Productions, and turned the development of Fallout 3 over to Bethesda Game Studios. Fallout 3 was released on October 28, 2008, and has won over 60 Game of the Year Awards — including honors from IGN, the Game Developers’ Choice Awards, and Game Critics Awards. Bethesda has continued to support Fallout 3 with five Downloadable Content Packs — Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout, and Mothership Zeta.

Bethesda continues to expand their publishing duties. In 2009, Bethesda released WET and Rogue Warrior. In 2010, Bethesda is publishing Splash Damage’s Brink and Obsidian Entertainment's new Fallout title, Fallout: New Vegas. Bethesda has also announced plans to publish Hunted: The Demon's Forge, a fantasy action game developed by inXile Entertainment.

On June 24, 2009, Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax Media, acquired id Software, whose titles, including RAGE, will be published by Bethesda Softworks.


"Bethesda Softworks" is used to designate games "published" by Bethesda, both BGS projects and those developed externally.

Bethesda Game Studios (BGS) is the in-house development team led by Todd Howard and owned by Bethesda Softworks. In the past, not all BGS titles were published by Bethesda Softworks. Beginning with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on PlayStation 3, Bethesda Softworks has published all Bethesda Game Studios titles.