Bethesda is one of the most popular video game publishers in gaming history, and they’ve been creating content since the 1980s. What started out as a relatively small production studio eventually turned into a gaming powerhouse that was recently purchased by Microsoft for an eye-watering $7.5 billion dollars.

Throughout the years, Bethesda has acted as both a developer of hit video games, as well as a publisher of work done by subsidiary studios. That has allowed the company to rack up quite an impressive roster of GOTY games, many of which are considered pop culture icons at this point.

10 DOOM (2016) (Metascore: 85)

After a respectable soft reboot of DooM in 2004, plans for a follow-up began to take shape, but the alpha build would eventually get scrapped in favor of a complete reimagining of the franchise. Bethesda took publisher duties on this one, while Id led the charge, revamping DOOM into a fast-paced modern shooter with all the bells and whistles.

Fans ate it up in droves, lauding DOOM as a glorious new vision of the timeless FPS formula that inspired a wave of countless copycats. Not only was it a graphic tour de force, but it captured the frantic speed and brutality of the original classics while adding in light-hearted guilty pleasure gimmicks like glory kills and story events to lighten up the dark and foreboding tone.

9 DOOM Eternal (2020) (Metascore: 88)

Not willing to rest on its laurels, Id began work on DOOM Eternal almost immediately and unveiled the first gameplay footage at 2018’s QuakeCon. The sequel was revealed to take place on an Earth overrun by the demonic hordes, which was a nod to the original DOOM II. The gameplay was enhanced significantly, as well.

Id added dash mechanics, a grappling harpoon, and other elements to build upon the foundation of the original. Success was immediate, with many praising DOOM Eternal for having a more robust storyline, tighter and more effective combat, and more direct references to the original games.


8 Fallout 4 (2015) (Metascore: 88)

Fallout 4 is undoubtedly the most popular game in the series at this point thanks in large part to polished presentation, robust DLC offerings, and a strong modding platform that continues to expand its replay value. Beyond that, it’s essentially a tighter and more streamlined version of the first-person formula introduced in Fallout 3.

That being said, it didn’t score quite as high with Metacritic. Criticisms included bugs and stability issues, along with and a storyline that couldn’t compete with other open-world RPGs. Yet, it continues to serve as the flagship title of the series, even surpassing the popularity of Fallout 76, which was released a few years later.

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7 Dishonored 2 (2016) (Metascore: 88)

The original Dishonored was lauded for blending FPS action, supernatural story elements, and fluid stealth mechanics together to create an unmatched single-player experience. The second game in the series duplicates the original in almost every way, with a few notable exceptions.

Though not quite as successful or groundbreaking as the first, Dishonored 2 does offer the same elements that made the original work so well while continuing the interesting storyline. The ability to play as either original protagonist Corvo or Emily Kaldwin is an added bonus, as well.

6 Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017) (Metascore: 88)

The original 2014 Wolfenstein: The New Order loosely adapted the rebooted storyline of 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein to great effect. Three years later, the sequel would finally see the light of day, and it scored highly upon release. Some gamers were a tad miffed at the presentation and the overly dark storyline, but that didn’t stop it from making an impact.

Wolfenstein II’s story is set in a Man In The High Castle-style alternate universe where the Nazis managed to win the second World War and conquer America. There are plenty of guns to shoot and explosions to ignite, activities at which series protagonist BJ Blazkowicz certainly excells.

5 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002) (Metascore: 89)

For many Elder Scrolls gamers, Morrowind represents the most authentic RPG system of the bunch. While most would undoubtedly find the visuals to be outrageously dated, it does have an avid fanbase who appreciate what it brought to the table. Morrowind is deep, complex, and involved, and its focus on tabletop RPG mechanics sets it apart from its peers.

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Later Elder Scrolls titles would progress into mainstream adventure gaming formula, but Bethesda clearly hit the nail on the head with Morrowind. It is so popular, in fact, that a team of ultra-talented modders are currently working on Skywind, a complete reimagining of the entire game, built using Skyrim’s game engine.

4 Dishonored (2012) (Metascore: 91)

Bethesda published the first Dishonored in 2012, and it became an instant hit. Set in an alternate reality Steampunk universe, Dishonored crafted a finely tailored storyline focusing on class warfare, political intrigue, and the supernatural while marrying it to one of the most robust combat systems ever conceived.

Stealth is right at the forefront of the gameplay, which was amazing for gamers who cut their teeth on titles like Metal Gear Solid. The ability to customize skills was leveraged against a “do it my way” approach, which allowed players to tackle objectives in several different ways.

3 Fallout 3 (2008) (Metascore: 93)

When Bethesda acquired the Fallout license from Interplay back in 2004, it decided to change the game’s formula from a top-down isometric strategy title into a first-person shooter RPG. The result was Fallout 3, a game that polarized the gaming community, with diehard fans of the original upset by the decision to change the gameplay.

That didn’t stop it from becoming an instant mega-hit, however. Scouring the nuclear-ravaged wasteland of an alternate future from a first-person perspective was fun astoundingly immersive. The story was very strong, and, when mixed in with the open-world exploration, NPC encounters, and wasteland creatures, it quickly became one of Bethesda’s greatest hits.

2 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006) (Metascore: 94)

Oblivion was a marked departure from the heavy-handed dice roll RPG mechanics of Morrowind. It was the first in the series to opt more for traditional fantasy adventure, and that opened the series up to a wider player base. Oblivion quickly became one of the best titles in the entire series.

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The boost in graphical fidelity was a welcome one, as was the setting, story, and characters. Oblivion was a very inviting open world, with plenty to see and do. Though choppy and unrefined by today’s standards, it nevertheless paved the path for Bethesda to craft its biggest hit to date.

1 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) (Metascore: 96)

It’s no secret that Skyrim has become a pop culture phenomenon. It is easily the most popular, recognizable and accessible game of the series, and many first-time Elder Scrolls gamers cut their teeth on this particular title. Skyrim is nearly perfect, in every way, as long as gamers are willing to overlook the load of glitches and bugs in the game.

On top of having a fantastic Nordic-inspired dark fantasy storyline, Skyrim boasts one of the most inviting open worlds ever created. There’s always something to see and do; some new cave or dungeon to explore, or another dragon to slay. On top of it all, Skyrim is host to the largest modding community in video game history, who continually crank out content for the game a full decade after release. It’s Bethesda’s crowning jewel—one that will be very difficult to top.

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