Amidst dire industry layoffs, FromSoftware's Miyazaki says his studio is 'very blessed' to have long-term hires now taking director roles: 'games can be directed by others, not only myself'

Hidetaka Miyazaki, president of Fromsoftware.
(Image credit: Fromsoft)

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree is coming—and it's a big'un. Massive, expansion-level DLCs feel increasingly rarer in a climate flooded with live service microtransactions and seasonal passes. Personally, I'm just excited to get my grubby little mitts on another slice of FromSoftware's pedigree.

It's also potentially a function of how FromSoftware does business, focusing on their popular niche rather than bending the knee to wider trends—which also extends to the recent mass layoffs, which are currently in vogue in the name of "agile and more focused" studios, whatever that means. 

In a recent interview with IGN (thanks, GamesRadar), Elden Ring's director Hidetaka Miyazaki touched on how dire things have been for game developers in 2023—a trend that is mercilessly continuing into early 2024. 

"I'm aware of the situation in the games industry, [it's] quite harrowing," Miyazaki says—though despite some murmurings of underpay, FromSoftware appears to have kept cold-blooded layoffs at arm's length. "I think it's difficult for me to understand the exact circumstances there. I won't speak to those in specifics," he says. 

In terms of FromSoftware's philosophy, he remarks: "I think we are very blessed in the way that we have a lot of keen up-and-coming developers, who've grown [and] developed within the studio," celebrating how some have "reached these director positions". He cites Armored Core 6 as a recent example, a game directed by Masaru Yamamura (who was also a lead game designer on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice). 

"We have several of these up-and-coming directors who we're able to delegate these projects to, and we're able to have multiple projects on the go at once." Miyazaki seems to believe in keeping, training, and promoting game developers as long-term investments. "What I foresee in this climate (at least for us) is a FromSoftware where games can be directed by others, not only myself … I do see this as a time for us to continue to grow and continue to cultivate this talent, and [release] these games for as long as we can."

That's not a rare philosophy for Japanese studios to take—although it's one backed up by law, namely far stricter conditions to justify layoffs. That's not to say Miyazaki would give a bunch of people the boot if given the chance, far from it. After all, multiple things can be true at once. Not to mention the ways in which some Japanese companies try to skirt around said laws can be pretty cruel and unusual. 

According to a Forbes report from 2015, Konami was accused of relocating developers to "punishment jobs" like janitorial detail. I am willing to bet that FromSoftware probably isn't plonking mops in its underperforming employee's hands. And considering how well Armored Core 6 did, its philosophies appear to be paying off.

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.