Well, this came out of nowhere. Actually, no, wait. I suppose I should say that all the evidence was there, but I refused to let it add up in my brain because come on: this is John Carmack we're talking about. He's id's divine ego, the pulsating mutant hyperbrain that looks upon desolate worlds and says, "Let there be graphics." Now then, it must be noted that Carmack is apparently not leaving id, despite his new gig as Chief Technology Officer at Oculus Rift. But the eyeball gateway to other worlds is now Carmack's number one priority, with id and, er, outer space taking a backseat.
Oculus announced Carmack's big move with a crazy, mindblowing mega-futuristic press release, in which Carmack said these things:
“The dream of VR has been simmering in the background for decades, but now, the people and technologies are finally aligning to allow it to reach the potential we imagined. I’m extremely excited to make a mark in what I truly believe will be a transformative technology.”
Initially, everyone thought this meant that Carmack was calling it quits at id, but then Bethesda took to its statement-slinging BFG for this little number:
"John will spend time working out of Oculus as part of his role with them, but he will also continue to work at id. John has long been interested in the work at Oculus VR and wishes to spend time on that project. The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected."
Carmack, meanwhile, tweeted that his time prioritization is now "Oculus over id over Armadillo [Aerospace]."
Pretty wild, right? Also, I find it difficult to believe that Carmack's work at id will be entirely unaffected - especially since he basically said it will be himself. Yes, he has proven time and time again that he's basically superhuman, but even he has limits. Moreover, listening to him talk during events like QuakeCon, he seems far more interested in creating tech like this than coding game engines. And that's totally understandable. After doing the same thing for decades, I'd be itching to dive into something new as well.
So Carmack's still at id, but will he stay there for long? That's the big question. This could very well be his way of inching his foot out the door, and Bethesda's just doing damage control for the moment. Or maybe Carmack's even crazier than we all thought, and he really is going to work two full-time, incredibly demanding jobs at the top of the tech world.
It's tough to say at the moment. But with longtime CEO/president Todd Hollenshead also recently out of the picture, Carmack's big move doesn't bode particularly well. As ever, I plan to do some digging. If I strike anything even resembling gold, you'll hear about it.