ZeniMax co-founder and CEO Robert A. Altman passes away

Bethesda recently shared official word of Altman's passing via social media channels.


Bethesda and ZeniMax have been hand-in-hand for decades, through some of the biggest releases in gaming history. Whether you favor Fallout, Skyrim, or any of other developers that would fall under ZeniMax’s umbrella, there has also been a consistent leader at the company through all of its good times and bad. It is with a heavy heart that we report that Robert A. Altman, co-founder of ZeniMax Media, has passed away.

Bethesda officially reported Robert Altman’s passing via its Twitter account on February 4, 2021. No details such as cause of death were revealed in Bethesda’s announcement, instead choosing to respect the privacy of Altman and his friends and family. Rather, the announcement thanked Altman for his massive contribution to the gaming community as one of the founding and active heads of the company, even going as far as to point out that during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Altman was a constant voice of encouragement and care for the company. An email from Altman before his passing was shared in Bethesda’s statement below.

Robert Altman co-founded ZeniMax Media with Bethesda Softworks CEO Christopher Weaver as a publisher for Bethesda in 1999. ZeniMax would remain Bethesda's publisher through such hits as The Elder Scrolls from Morrowind onwards and Fallout from Fallout 3 onwards. ZeniMax and Bethesda's success would also bring on the acquisition of id Software with success of the 2016 Doom reboot, Arkane Studios with success on the Dishonored games and the upcoming Deathloop, and MachineGames with the rebooted Wolfenstein franchise to name a few. It wasn't all success, but ZeniMax and Bethesda have remained a central fixture of modern gaming regardless of wins or losses.

The company's notoriety lead up to and included the currently ongoing business deal which will see ZeniMax, Bethesda, and all of the developers gathered therein acquired by Microsoft. Throughout all of that, Altman was a constant fixture that helped make some of the most popular franchises and names of the gaming industry possible. Shacknews acknowledges the sheer depth of contributions Altman's leadership brought to gaming conversations over the past two decades and wishes the best to his friends and family in this time.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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