↓ 21. Robert Altman, Head of Zenimax

July 3, 2012 Update: Dishonored is looking fantastic. But this is feeling like a quiet year for for company that brought us Skyrim and Fallout 3.

May 30, 2012 Update: Earlier this month Zenimax revealed a big announcement: They will be releasing an Elder Scrolls MMO by the name of The Elder Scrolls Online.

Why He's Powerful

OK. He's a money man. He may not know a thing about games. The most intriguing detail in his bio might be that he's married to Lynda Carter. But have you been paying attention to the private gaming empire his Zenimax is building? Let's go with a more familiar word here: Bethesda. And another: id.

Zenimax is the company whose studios brought us Skyrim—the hottest game not called Modern Warfare in 2011—and who will bring us Doom 4 some time in the future. They're in acquisition mode, and going about it in the most curious way. It's one thing to buy Doom-makers id. It's another to then also buy the studio of Shinji Mikami, the man who made Resident Evil and Devil May Cry amazing. Zenimax has others, including a mysterious MMO studio and Arkane, but it's the culture-crossing breadth of its prestige studios that hints at how broadly significant the company that's rolling in Skyrim money is going to become.

At this point, which game studio wouldn't want to be acquired by Zenimax. And who couldn't they afford?