Bethesda gets a sister company with massive ambitions

by: Chuck -
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ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, announced yesterday that they are forming a new gaming division that will focus on the MMO market space. The company will be called ZeniMax Online studios and will be lead by ex Mythic staffer Matt Firor.  The release really doesn't have a lot of meat about if the companies will be sharing technologies or offices but it is easy to imagine the Oblivion/Fallout 3 engine being a solid foundation for a pretty kick ass MMO game.   The Bethesda blog has a short interview with Mr. Firor that provides a little more information on the company and his background.

ZeniMax Media Announces Establishment of Online

Gaming Division – ZeniMax Online Studios

Subsidiary to be headed by noted MMO veteran

August 1, 2007 (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax Media Inc., parent company of Bethesda Softworks, announced today the creation of ZeniMax Online Studios. The division will be headed by Matt Firor, a well-known expert in the field of online gaming, and will focus on the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) market segment.

Firor was one of the founders of Mythic Entertainment, where he worked for over 10 years on MMO titles. At Mythic he was the producer of the worldwide #1 smash hit Dark Age of Camelot, a MMORPG considered one of the most influential online games of all time. When he left Mythic in 2006, Firor was responsible for all development projects at the company. For the past year, he has been a consultant in the online gaming industry, advising leading publishers interested in entering the online market.

“This could not be a more perfect opportunity for me,” said Matt. “I am extremely impressed with ZeniMax and Bethesda Softworks management – their development philosophy closely matches my own, with an emphasis on quality, innovation, and craftsmanship. I am eager to get back to what I love – the development of cutting edge MMOG titles.”

“We are excited about the opportunities we have in the online gaming space and felt that Matt is the perfect person to lead this effort,” said James Leder, COO of ZeniMax Media. There are relatively few people who have the actual experience and knowledge that comes from having created a successful MMO, and Matt is the real deal. We feel fortunate to have him join our group.”

Firor is a graduate of George Washington University and has worked in the gaming industry for 17 years. He has lectured at the University of Virginia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology on game development topics, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. Firor has written articles for Game Developer Magazine and was a regular columnist covering online game development for the Korean gaming magazine “Onplayer”.

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