Robert A. Altman, ZeniMax Founder and CEO, Has Died

Krenum

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https://www.ign.com/articles/robert-a-altman-zenimax-founder-and-ceo-dies

ZeniMax Media, the parent company of developers like Bethesda and id Software, announced that its founder and CEO Robert A. Altman died. Altman was 73.


News of Altman’s death was published on the official Bethesda Twitter account. “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.”

Sad news.

As a gamer who has fond memories of Bethesda titles through the years. I thank him for everything he's given us.

Rest in Peace.
 

Delicieuxz

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Calling Altman the founder isn't exactly correct. Christopher Weaver founded Bethesda and also ZeniMax, and Altman was brought-in by Weaver for the founding of ZeniMax. Then Altman kind-of stabbed Weaver in the back and pushed him out of his own company. Weaver was actually invested in the design aspect of the games the company put out, while Altman was a lawyer and, judging by Bethesda's business practices over the years, a ruthless one and likely not one who paid much attention to games rather than business.

Related to that, when their letter calls him a good human being, I can't judge that, having not known him. But it conflicts with my feelings about what I see as his swindling of a company that he didn't create - which he did after being involved in what Bloomberg calls "one of the biggest financial scandals of the 1990s". That was 20 years ago, but I think that signs of the same personality driving things are seen throughout ZeniMax' history, which involved vicious takeover-attempts of other companies (which destroyed Human Head and resulted in the real Prey 2 never releasing) and suing lots of companies (and usually losing) over frivolous matters.


Reading the letter from Altman's son, I feel that it gives affirmation to my impression of Altman. There's no mention of any personal interest of his in games. Just his focus on hard work, business, the pride in having a large number of employees - who he was glad got to do what they like doing, which is making games, and pride in selling the company to Microsoft. The letter says that Altman de-emphasized talent and instead emphasized discipline and hard work. So, not a creative type of person, but a hard-working businessman, and likely ruthlessly so - which seems clear from the mention that the company had an annual seminar on how employees should give presentations to Altman.
 
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Delicieuxz

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But other than they, stand up guy (y):whistle:
Lol. if only. But still not quite. Copying my comment about him from elsewhere:


Altman, who, from available information, including this claim (which might allude to why the company was sold), had no particular interest in games, then ran ZeniMax / Bethesda in a ruthless fashion, engaging in nickel-and-diming DLC monetization (Bethesda pioneered this), vicious hostile takeover attempts (which destroyed at least one developer, Human Head, and resulted in the amazing-looking-and-sounding original Prey 2 not getting released), lawsuit after lawsuit (most of which ZeniMax / Bethesda lost), paid-mods, and just recently selling the company to Microsoft. A list of thuggish actions by ZeniMax / Bethesda over the years is here.


The story of Altman before and up to when he was brought into ZeniMax is covered in this video, which refers to Altman as a "corporate shark" and a "shark among sharks":


The video is worth watching / listening to. But a summary of Atlman's pre-ZeniMax history is this:

Altman was a Washington DC lawyer who started his career working at a law-firm with a former US Secretary of Defence for Lyndon Johnson, before starting his own law-firm which he used to represent and defend multi-billion-dollar companies embroiled in scandals and that were being investigated by US Congress and other committees.

In 1978, Altman was approached by some unidentified Arab international businessmen who wanted to purchase a large US bank, and who, for some reason, made Altman the president of the bank after the purchase was done, despite that Altman was a lawyer and not a banker. By 1991, people were coming forward with suspicions that the bank hadn't been purchased legitimately, and federal investigations were launched and it turned-out that the bank purchase had been done fraudulently, using false information and defaulted loans. It also turned-out that the British bank which had been used to purchase the US bank was involved in lots of sketchy purchases.

The Arab businessmen refused to come back to the US for questioning. While Altman, who was accused as being a part of the scheme, played dumb, like he had no idea of what had been going on. He managed to escape the many state and federal charges against him which included bribery charges which the judge dismissed on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence, federal charges for which there were insufficient evidence, and other charges which a jury declared him innocent of on the grounds that there wasn't sufficient evidence that he knew about them. Altman accomplished this with the help of defence lawyer, Gustave Newman, who was well-known for getting high-profile people and groups out of trouble.

Despite not being convicted of any of the charges against him, Altman was prohibited from ever working in the banking industry again.
 
Joined
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Bethesda was generally cool in the pre-Zenimax days we could forgive the bugs as they gave huge open worlds.

Then there was the MMO and all the lawsuits that made them seem real nasty. Guess it takes just one guy to convince investors to change a company so much
 

HeadRusch

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I just now realized this guy was married to Lynda Carter....I honestly thought she was married to a Senator or something, a politico........but the post above explains that away......he was just good at playing the game.....also that thumbnail makes him look like Altman the Giant.......
 

Jandor

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Yes, I liked that scifi movie with Paul Newman. Nobody liked it but me. Quintet.
I thought the guy was dead long ago and a tad older.
 
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