Employees at Elden Ring developer From Software have reportedly spoken up about the low pay at the company including “some level of crunch.” The report comes from GamesIndustry who spoke to various From Software employees about the pay situation at the studio, which apparently pays lower wages than other Japanese studios and a bit below the standard cost of living.
According to the report, new job openings at From Software apparently pay lower than the industry average in Japan. While Tokyo (where From Software’s headquarters are located) has a moderately high cost of living, employees claim that it’s not adequate enough to make ends meet in most circumstances.
All employees interviewed by GamesIndustry spoke anonymously, each providing their experiences with the company, revealing some situations of crunch and unfair wages. Most developers weren’t satisfied with From Software’s overtime policies and generally low pay. For example, in Japan “hourly wages are often increased” after midnight, but according to one source, From Software’s overtime pay was actually half of the usual rate.
PlayStation Lifestyle revealed stats from Salary Explorer, stating that the monthly average salary for game development in Japanese game studios ranges from ¥231,000 ($1,675) to ¥735,000 ($5,328). These include roles for Concept Artists, Motion Designers and Character Modelers, among others. Open roles at From Software, however, start at ¥220,000.
Furthermore, the average yearly salary for a From Software employee (according to data from Career Connection) is ¥3.41 million (about $25,000). When compared to the similarly-sized Japanese studio Atlus, those employees receive a yearly salary of ¥5.2 million (about $38,000).
GamesIndustry also reveals that the average monthly rent in Tokyo is about ¥203,730 ($1,477) with the cost of living around ¥138,984 ($1,008). When looking at the entry rate for some From Software employees, these aren’t sustainable salaries to realistically live in the area.
It’s a bit more damning considering that Elden Ring, the latest From Software game, surpassed 17 million units in sales, easily making it the company’s best-selling game of all time. While it’s unclear what this might mean for the average developer at the studio, we hope that this situation is remedied and salary adjustments are made accordingly.
From Software has yet to comment on these reports.