Armored Core 6 is not a small side project for FromSoftware. That may have seemed obvious from the game's bombastic trailers, but without famed studio head Hidetaka Miyazaki serving as director and with that big Elden Ring DLC also in the works, it's less obvious exactly how FromSoftware splits its time and resources. During a recent interview with Armored Core 6's director and producer, I asked how big the studio is now and how the teams are broken down.
"We don't expect players to read through the whole staff list at the end of every game and compare who's who," joked producer Yasunori Ogura. "To give a broad image, we have just about 400 employees at FromSoftware, and about 300 of those are development staff. That pool of development staff is shifted around, moved between projects as needed, depending on the current situation with a project and the current period of development."
Ogura is a FromSoftware lifer—his earliest game credit on Mobygames is as a member of the publicity staff on Shadow Tower: Abyss in 2003, and he's since worked in PR and marketing on more than two dozen From games, all the way up through Elden Ring. Armored Core 6 is Ogura's first producing role, and he explained that the game has a large staff behind it—compared to past Armored Cores, at least.
"At peak times, you'd have up to 200, 230 developers working on Armored Core 6," he said. "This was similar to Elden Ring as well. At the peak period of that project, you'd have a similar number of staff working on it simultaneously. So staff is moved around fluidly as and when needed."
For comparison's sake, Armored Core 5, released in 2012, had only about 80 internal dev staff. A decade later, 200ish devs seems like pretty realistic growth. What's more shocking is that a game of Elden Ring's scale was made with a team of the same size.
Ubisoft has recently said it has about 2,000 developers working on Assassin's Creed and plans to increase that number to 2,800—though that's across multiple games. Hell, even Baldur's Gate 3 developer Larian Studios has recently outgrown FromSoftware, passing 400 employees to realize its ambitions for the new RPG. FromSoftware's development team remains unusually small considering the games it produces.
With Armored Core 6 only a month away from release, it seems likely that the bulk of those developers who were on the team at its peak have now moved over to Elden Ring expansion Shadow of the Erdtree—or perhaps something new altogether.