Bethesda = or ≠ Zenimax: What Makes a Great Developer


I say it a lot, but truth should be repeated, “The most important thing about a game is the people who make it.”.  The verdict is in, game is art, and art is expressed through the person holding the brush.  The Elder Scrolls series is easily the most influential series in the RPG genre. This is a game series that developers around the world are trying to emulate today.  The golden boys at Bethesda have “epic” down to a science, but it wasn’t always this way.  The studio had some real growing pains when they first started out, and a lot of lessons were learned in their journey from good dev to great dev (more on that later).

With Zenimax Online Studios going into their first ever development cycle we find ourselves, as gamers, holding our breath with anticipation. Sure, you might know some of the team members from past projects like Dark Age of Camelot, but the studio as a whole remains untested.  Although my faith was assured in Zenimax when they listened to their fans and included 1st-Person in their Elder Scrolls title, at the end of the day the evidence will be in the results. The day The Elder Scrolls Online hits the shelves will be the day we know ZOS as a studio.

ZOS developer team

I fancy myself a bit of a history buff, so I find myself looking to Bethesda’s past for answers to the question, “What makes a great developer great?”.  Leadership, passion, talent, creative freedom; the list can go on and on, but to understand a developer’s success story- well, I believe you have to go back to the beginning…

If you, like me, are a big fan of great developers then you’ll appreciate taking a look behind the scenes. It helps us better understand the creative process as gamers, and gives us the ability to know a great developer when we see one. The kind of developer that deserves your hard earned cash. If you’re interested, check out this series about the history of Bethesda.  While you’re watching it, try and pinpoint the qualities that make them great as a studio.  The type of qualities you would want Zenimax to have moving forward with the release of The Elder Scrolls Online.


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