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John Carmack returns to QuakeCon for first time in a decade: ‘I’m so happy I’m now welcome’

Id Software co-founder John Carmack returned to the QuakeCon event for the first time in a decade this weekend, proclaiming he was “so happy that everything is cool now and I am welcome”.

Carmack, who programmed Id’s classic games, including Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake, was involved in multiple legal battles with his former employer after his departure in 2013.

Carmack quit Id Software to join Oculus VR in 2013, claiming that his departure was because Bethesda parent Zenimax Media would not agree to let games he was working on appear on the virtual reality headset.

The programmer later became the center of a lawsuit between Zenimax and Oculus parent Facebook, with the former claiming that Oculus stole its virtual reality intellectual property.

The trial jury eventually absolved Carmack of liability. However, he then sued Zenimax himself in 2017, claiming his former employer owed him some $22 million from their purchase of id Software. The following year the pair reached an agreement that “satisfied their obligations” to Carmack.

On Sunday, Carmack tweeted: “My first QuakeCon in a decade! I’m so happy that everything is cool now and I am welcome. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with a post-COVID, no general admission event, but the BYOC was packed, and the energy was high even on day 3.

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“My normal Oculus Connect behavior would have been to just start talking with the first people that asked questions and let a crowd gather around an impromptu lecture, but QuakeCon staff spontaneously organized everything into a queue line with efficient photo taking and signing.

“It was great to meet some of the new devs in the Id Software family — I wish you all the best carrying on the legacy! We also got to watch the final two matches in the Quake Champions Pro League tournament, with an exciting last minute victory for @liquidrapha”.

In 2020, Carmack welcomed Microsoft’s acquisition of Id Software parent Zenimax and suggested it could see him once again work with the studio he co-founded.

“I think Microsoft has been a good parent company for gaming IPs, and they don’t have a grudge against me, so maybe I will be able to re engage with some of my old titles,” he wrote at the time.

Last year Carmack announced his departure from Oculus parent Meta, which he said brought “the end of my decade in VR.”