John Carmack, programming genius and co-creator of industry-defining games such as Doom, Quake and more, has left id Software completely and will be focussing on developing virtual reality hardware with Oculus VR. Renowned as one of the smartest minds in video game development, Carmack’s departure marks the end of an era not only for id Software, but for the gaming industry as a whole.
Here’s id’s official statement, via parent company Bethesda:
“John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio. John’s work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects. We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id’s tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.” said Tim Willits, studio director at id Software
In addition, Carmack released the following via his Twitter account:
“I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn’t work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging.”
Carmack also mentioned that “if [id Software] don’t want me to talk on stage at Quakecon next year, we’ll just have to fill up the lobby like the old days. :-)” He is referring, of course, to his annual keynote “state of the industry” address in which Carmack discusses all manner of gaming-related topics with a view to where he expects the industry to head towards in the future.
Carmack’s departure comes less than a year after former president Todd Hollenshead departed id, and the company which effectively created the first-person shooter genre no longer retains any of its four founding members. It will be interesting to see how Bethesda manages id’s iconic franchises such as Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake from here on and it will be equally interesting to see how great an impact Carmack has on the development of virtual reality technology.
I do not often stamp my personal opinion on news such as this, but the magnitude of Carmack’s departure makes me feel somewhat obliged to. Having played Quake games for over 15 years (and still playing Quake Live today), along with all other id releases, id Software has been and probably always will remain my favourite game development company. Whilst the company has definitely struggled to remain relevant in recent times, Carmack’s presence was always encouraging and his departure is deeply saddening. I feel somewhat like a Manchester United fan watching Sir Alex Ferguson retiring.
Below is Carmack’s most recent “state of the industry” address from Quakecon 2013. Yes, it’s almost three hours long and yes, most of it can be way above us mere mortals, but skip through it and you’re bound to find an enlightening comment or two, reminding you of just how important John Carmack is to the video game industry.