New report grills Elden Ring developer FromSoftware about crunch culture

Opinions vary even within the company itself.

Image via Bandai Namco

Elden Ring’s success can’t be denied: the latest FromSofware adventure became one of America’s best-selling games after only four months on the market, and it was just as big of a hit in the rest of the world. For as celebrated as the game is, the studio behind it has also come under scrutiny in regard to crunch culture. Continually working unreasonably long hours is unhealthy no matter what you do for a living, but it’s become a particular problem in the world of game development.

GamesIndustry.biz has published a report that chronicles the crunch at FromSoftware, having spoken to “past and present employees” at the company. All sources remained anonymous, but their responses varied by department. One source stated that there “hasn’t much overtime for them,” while another said they “often had to work early mornings and overtime for two to three months.”

As for how this overtime was compensated, employees were reportedly paid “half of our usual hourly rate” after midnight. One could see this as an incentive to not work such late hours, but it’s not exactly up to the employees when long hours are mandated. Additionally, the average salary was shown to be quite a bit lower than comparable positions at Atlus, the Japanese company behind series like Shin Megami Tensei and Persona.

Despite the red flags, employee satisfaction was common at FromSoftware. While they had their own handful of complaints, several of GI.biz’s sources gave their workplace an overall positive rating. Considering Elden Ring DLC seems to be on the way, that’s a good thing — those employees are going to have more on their plates.

Overall, this report seems a bit more complicated than other accusations of crunch that we’ve seen in the past. No one should have to work consistently long hours, yet FromSoftware employees are decidedly satisfied with their lot. Expect this discussion to resurface as end-of-the-year awards start to roll out. Elden Ring was nominated for several categories at The Game Awards, including Game of the Year.