Current and former staff at Elden Ring developer FromSoftware have responded to claims of excessive overtime and low pay following the success of its acclaimed action role-playing game, whose release earlier this year was met by negative reviews of the company that suggested its employees weren’t entirely satisfied with their working conditions, according to a report by GamesIndustry.biz, which has shared quotes from various sources:
The reviews were originally published on the Glassdoor-like jobs board Career Connection between 2012 and 2019.
GamesIndustry.biz spoke to a number of From Software employees, past and present, to gain a better understanding of how the issues raised affect those working at the Elden Ring developer. The studio does not permit employees to give interviews, whether they still work at From Software or not. As such, all sources wished to remain anonymous.
Some of these sources spoke about crunch at the company, which exists on some level but seems to be affecting some employees worse than others:
It appears to be variable by department, with one source telling us, “There hasn’t been much overtime work for me.” Another from a separate department said, “During critical periods of game releases, I often had to work early mornings and overtime for two to three months.”
This time period was echoed by another source who noted that while “it’s not as if [crunch] happens on a daily basis,” it’s more common “during the ROM check for the publisher or two to three months before release.”
At least one other source claimed that their salary isn’t adequate based on the cost of living in Japan, while another suggested that their hourly wages for overtime were lower than normal:
Compared to the cost of living in Tokyo, one source said From Software’s “salary is not adequate.” They went on to say that others close to them at the studio “did not appear satisfied with their salaries either.”
According to [another] source, overtime is “generally included in the salary.” After midnight, however, “we were paid late-night overtime but that was half of our usual hourly rate.”
This is unusual in Japanese companies, where “hourly wages are often increased” after midnight.
Still, GamesIndustry.biz noted that there also appears to be a lot of satisfied employees at FromSoftware, with multiple sources giving positive accounts of their experience at the developer despite having criticisms.
Elden Ring has sold 17.5 million units worldwide as of November 2022, according to numbers shared by publisher Bandai Namco this month.