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Bethesda Softworks is a developer and publisher of computer and video games founded in 1986 by Christopher Weaver, owned by ZeniMax Media.


Bethesda has been a developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content for over three decades. In 2001 Bethesda Softworks became a publisher only and the newly formed Bethesda Game Studios became the developer of their games. Founded in 1986 by Christopher Weaver in Bethesda, Maryland, and moved to Rockville, Maryland in 1990, the company has a long history of PC and console games. In 1999, Christopher Weaver and Robert A. Altman founded ZeniMax Media, Inc.

The company is best known for creating The Elder Scrolls RPG series, based upon the original programming of Julian Lefay. The first chapter of the series, titled The Elder Scrolls: Arena, was released in 1994. Since that time, numerous other chapters have been released. The game has four direct sequels along with three spin-offs and The Elder Scrolls Travels series.

In 2004, the Fallout franchise was acquired by Bethesda Softworks from Interplay Productions and the development of Fallout 3 was handed over to Bethesda Game Studios. Fallout 3 was released on October 28, 2008. Obsidian Entertainment's title Fallout: New Vegas was published by Bethesda Softworks, announced on April 20, 2009 and released on October 19, 2010. Fallout 4 was announced on June 4, 2015 and released on November 10, 2015. Fallout 76 was announced on May 30, 2018 and released on November 14, 2018.


Bethesda Game Studios logo.png

Bethesda Game Studios (BGS) is the in-house development team led by Todd Howard and owned by Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Media all work in the same building.

Bethesda Game Studios was established in 2002 and became separated between publisher and developer. In the past, not all BGS titles were published by the Softworks division. However, beginning with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for the PlayStation 3, Bethesda Softworks began publishing all Bethesda Game Studios games. "Bethesda Softworks" is often used to designate games "published" by Bethesda, both BGS projects and those developed externally.

Other Subsidiaries

  • Bethesda Game Studios Austin in Austin, Texas; founded as BattleCry Studios, a subsidiary of ZeniMax, in October 2012, and re-arranged as part of BGS in March 2018.
  • Bethesda Game Studios Dallas in Dallas, Texas; founded as Escalation Studios in 2007, acquired by ZeniMax in February 2017, and re-arranged as part of BGS in August 2018.
  • Bethesda Game Studios Montreal in Montreal, Quebec; fully founded in December 2015.


Fallout 3

The Fallout 3 team.

In 2004, Bethesda licensed the rights to develop Fallout 3 and two additional sequels from Interplay Entertainment, and in 2007 acquired the whole Fallout franchise. Todd Howard said in January 2007 that "We started work (on Fallout 3) in late 2004 with a few people. We only had about 10 people on it until Oblivion wrapped, but most of our staff is on it now."

Fallout 3 was released on October 28, 2008 and won over 60 Game of the Year Awards – including honors from IGN, the Game Developers' Choice Awards and Game Critics Awards. Bethesda continued to support Fallout 3 with five add-onsOperation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta.

Fallout: New Vegas

In 2009, Bethesda Softworks announced Fallout: New Vegas, a new entry in the Fallout series. It is important to note that Bethesda only published New Vegas, which was developed by Obsidian Entertainment. The U.S. release date was October 19, 2010, and three days later it was released in the U.K. On January 28, 2011, Bethesda confirmed a deal made with Namco Bandai to let them publish New Vegas in continental Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Bethesda also published the four Fallout: New Vegas add-ons: Dead Money, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road and Honest Hearts.

Fallout 4

Bethesda at the time of Fallout 4.

In 2015, Bethesda Softworks announced the continuation of the Fallout series with Fallout 4 and released a trailer. More information was showcased at Bethesda's E3 conference that year. Fallout 4 was released on November 10, 2015, except in Japan, where it was released on December 17 of the same year.

Seven add-ons were also released by Bethesda for Fallout 4, including Automatron, Wasteland Workshop, Far Harbor, Contraptions Workshop, Vault-Tec Workshop, Nuka-World and the High Resolution Texture Pack.

Fallout 76

In 2018, Bethesda announced the next entry into the Fallout series, Fallout 76, with a teaser trailer. More information was released during Bethesda's E3 conference on June 10, 2018. A brief B.E.T.A. was available for people who pre-ordered the game on October 23, 2018, for Xbox One, and October 30, 2018, for PlayStation 4 and PC. The game was officially released on November 14, 2018.

Other games

Other notable series by Bethesda Softworks include The Elder Scrolls, the series of which Morrowind is the 5th title and the 3rd main title, Oblivion the 9th title and the 4th main title, and Skyrim the 10th title and 5th main title. Fallout 3 and New Vegas are based on the same engine as Oblivion.

Other Bethesda releases include WET, Rogue Warrior and RAGE. They also collaborated with Id Software on Doom 3: BFG Edition, the Wolfenstein series, and the 2016 reboot of Doom.


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