Elden Ring Devs Accuse FromSoftware Of Crunch Culture

Elden Ring Devs Accuse FromSoftware Of Crunch Culture
Images: FromSoftware

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Posted 

30th Nov 2022 10:56

There's no doubt that Elden Ring sits atop the "best games" lists for 2022 for many - and who could blame them?

The title's transformation of the Dark Souls setup to a vast and sprawling open-world that encourages exploration and total freedom was something we'd never seen before. For months, Elden Ring dominated the internet and the gaming industry's consciousness.

Elden Ring is a breathtaking adventure - so there's truly no room to be surprised by the fact that it's already being praised as one of the best games ever made. This makes new reports of crunch and low pay at FromSoftware sting all the more.

Does FromSoftware Have A Crunch Culture? 

Elden Ring Devs Accuse FromSoftware Of Crunch Culture
Click to enlarge

Recently, job reviews from ex-FromSoft employees between 2012 and 2019 have emerged online. They claim the company has a poor habit of forcing its employees into a crunch and not compensating them for their work well enough.

These reviews spurred GamesIndustry.biz to investigate, with its own report bringing up some alarming claims from existing and ex-staff members of the game developer.

Though crunching in FromSoftware seems to depend on the department, one staffer said that "during critical periods of game releases, I often had to work early mornings and overtime for two to three months."

Staff members working overtime would reportedly be paid half their regular wage per hour after their contracted hours, which is particularly bizarre as Japan tends to amp up its pay after midnight. One source stated that FromSoftware's salary is "not adequate."

FromSoftware Staff Compare Working On Elden Ring To Beating A Dark Souls Boss

We're sure this was meant in a nice way, but that's not exactly how it comes off. "There's a lot of struggle to get things right, but if you get over the hump it is very satisfying," says one employee. "It's just like you defeated a boss in Dark Souls." Um… that's not a good thing.

The site says it had repeatedly reached out for comment, but FromSoftware hasn't responded. It's true that Bandai Namco offered a pay rise following Elden Ring's success, but these claims shed new light on the situation. 

It's pretty bleak that this is the way that employees see their work at FromSoftware, even if they're coating it in jokes. Until the developer responds, this is the vision of the company we have. And it's not a good one.

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