After id Software announced their sale to ZeniMax, the same company who owns Bethesda Softworks, Doom co-creator and id co-founder John Romero called the deal "disgusting" over Twitter. Romero later recanted his harsh remarks, citing a kneejerk reaction. I relayed these criticisms to another id co-founder, John Carmack, on a conference call this morning with several other executives involved in the deal.
"I think that if a lot of people look at this and say 'Bethesda's cool, id is cool,' why is it going to be less cool being under one umbrella together?'" proposed Carmack.
"I mean, it really should only have positive aspects there," he said. "Yeah, there is some kneejerk reaction to people where the idea that being under a big corporate master or something has some connotation there, but id was a corporation already, ZeniMax is a privately-held corporation. I just don't quite see the reason to get upset about it one way or the other."
"There's always the worry in the [...] worst case scenario [where] an IP gets bought up and then it's exploited in some way that people find extremely distasteful and that's just not what's gonna happen here," he continued. "ZeniMax has a very clear strategic direction about wanting to do top-notch, big-budget, triple-A games that are just best of breed across there and the things that a lot of people might look at as tacky, shabby exploitation of things just aren't even on the radar here."
He did admit, answering an earlier question, the deal could be a bad decision, but didn't put much stock in the folks casting the move as doom and gloom for id.
"Nobody can foretell the future and if either one of us massively screws something up it could be bad, he said, "but hey, there are disaster scenarios that any situation you could be in there and I think we've got much more potential for real positive things happening in this situation."
Knowing what positive effect the move will have on id Software is a long aways off. Wolfenstein, a collaboration between Activision, id Software and Raven Software, releases this summer and Rage, being published through the EA Partner label, doesn't even have a release date, though 2010 is rumored.
"Consumers won't actually see any result as of a difference until Doom is ready to be marketed and that's still a ways off," warned Carmack. "There's no tectonic changes that are happening right now that are going to make big differences here."
In other words: stay tuned.