Like many successful companies, FromSoftware came under heavy fire after the Elden Ring coffers. Scarcity, low wages, unpaid overtime… There were allegations everywhere.
After several months of trying to get answers, our colleagues at gaming industry managed to get some testimonials. A handful of FromSoftware employees who worked on Elden Ring in particular have finally spoken out and remain anonymous. Of course not everything is rosy, but obviously not everything is sad at FromSoftware.
Some openly criticize the company, others are visibly happy to work for such an important box.
Crunch and small salaries for Elden Ring developers
Among the major issues pointed out, developers are talking about salaries much lower than the industry average, making life in a Tokyo where everything is overpriced particularly difficult. While other studios like Altus (which is of the same size) offer an average of 5.2 million ($40,000) per year, FromSoftware would only make you about 3.7 million yen (a little less than $25,000). Lower wages than the competition therefore while the company is located in the heart of Tokyo where it literally costs an arm and a leg to live
As a bonus, the studio behind it Elder Ring wouldn’t pay very well for overtime. Although relatively rare according to employees, there can be bottlenecks and hours outside of traditional working hours. For example, one employee claims to have been working “very early mornings and late evenings” for 2 to 3 months prior to the game’s release, hours in excess of the 8 hours per day normally required, “but which includes the starting salary,” according to GamesIndustry sources.
One of the developers also points out that the hours worked after midnight are still paid extra, but only at half the base hourly rate, which is well below Japanese standards.
But a studio that is good to live in?
While witnesses speak of a weaker crunch than we’ve seen from other companies like Naughty Dog or Rockstar, the pressure is still there. However, this does not seem to be a common and widespread setting within Fromsoftware. Other employees who have testified say they particularly enjoy working for the studio, with one even comparing the few crunch periods to “Dark Souls bosses that are hard to beat but bring great satisfaction when defeated”. . Others don’t go with the back of the spoon, openly speaking of a “great experience” and a “chance to work on AAA quality with talented and passionate colleagues.”
All is not rosy at FromSoftware’s premises and salaries are a bit low, but some seem to be finding their account and the general vibe of the company seems to be pretty good. In addition, after the great success ofElder RingBandai and FromSoftware said all employees would quickly qualify for a permanent pay rise of around 50,000 yen ($400) a month.