The success ofElden Ring will not have escaped anyone, and it is deserved. But to get a game of this caliber, one can imagine the members of FromSoftware worked hard, sometimes more than necessary. We had already heard of some echoes of crunch within the teams, which are now resonating via a new survey by GamesIndustry.biz, who was able to talk to several former and current members of the studio behind the game phenomenon. of this year.
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Do not believe that the crunch is something typically Western. If we often hear these stories from American or European studios and publishers, Japan is no stranger to this practice, even if we hear less about it. However, the tongues are starting to loosen on the side of From Softwarewho were forced to work excessively with no pay to follow.
If initially, a testimonial indicates that the studio has not institutionalized the practice of crunch (From Software seems to respect Japanese labor laws), some departments suffer more than others from overwork.
This happened in a period between two and three months before the release of the title, with employees forced to stay at the studio to work overtime. And although several interviewees say that working at From Software is often pleasant, even during these times, problems remain.
What is most surprising in this story is that these overtime hours were underpaid. Testimonies indicate that night shifts were paid at only 50% of the normal wage, whereas in normal times, they should be paid much more than the basic salary. There is the possibility that the site got it wrong here (because you have to admit it all looks pretty damn illegal), and that the 50% off is instead deducted from the normal night pay in Japan, which means that employees would be paid more than during the day (still happy?), but less than in other companies. All of this remains to be clarified.
GamesIndustry.biz reveals in any case that employees can earn around $25,000 per year working at From Software, which is well below companies of a similar size, such as Atlus, where the average salary is more around $38,000 per year.
The starting salary of an employee at From Software would thus be below the minimum that can be found in other studios. Many point to the fact that the studio underpays its employees, especially compared to the cost of living in Tokyo which is very high. Since the release ofElden Ringsalaries would have been increased, but not so significantly in relation to employee needs. In addition, the starting salary of newcomers has not changed.
So let’s hope that this highlighting of the situation will move the lines a little within the studio, especially after the colossal success of its latest game.