After years of being relatively unknown in the western world, Japanese game studio FromSoftware is now one of the most beloved developers in the industry.
In an era when even the likes of Blizzard and Game Freak had an antagonistic relationship with fans, FromSoftware is an exception. The studio essentially dropped Game of the Year contenders on a semi-annual basis and released one of the biggest films in video games with the 2022 Elden Ring.
The company has been around long before the Soulsborne series. Here is its history and why I became a beloved developer.
A Brief History of FromSoftware
- Company name: FromSoftware
- Parent Company: Kadokawa Corporation
- November 1, 1986
- Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
FromSoftware was founded in 1986 as a business software developer, but focused on video game development in the early 1990s. It debuted with the 1994 RPG King’s Field for PlayStation 1. The game was successful enough to receive two series within two years, followed by the release of Armored Core.
A large number of spin-offs and sequences for both IPs were followed in the following years. The mix of RPGs and robot action games became FromSoftware’s bread and butter for more than a decade after that.
After the end of the PS1-Nintendo 64-Sega Saturn console generation, FromSoftware greatly expanded its development efforts. This release saw 35 games from the studio between 1999 and 2006. The games varied in quality during this time, with some receiving generally strong reviews while others were criticized by critics.
The mixed results continued for some time, but the studio had its first major Western success in 2009.
FromSoftware’s Soulsborne series begins with Demon Souls
FromSoftware enjoyed its first major sales in Western markets with the PlayStation 3 Action RPG Demon’s Souls. The game was met with such a lukewarm reception in Japan that Sony refused to localize and publish it in Western markets.
Atlus USA and Namco Bandai licensed the game from Sony for release in North America and Europe, respectively. The game was met with strong reviews and sales in both markets. FromSoftware has published a number of games on both consoles and mobile platforms that have received varied responses.
In 2011, a successor to Demon’s Souls arrived in Dark Souls. The game was met with strong reviews and high sales, moving over a million units in Europe and North America in its first six months.
Soon, the company released a series of mechanical toys. All of them received resounding modest or negative reviews.
The success of Dark Souls led to Hidetaka Miyazaki being installed as president
In 2014, Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki became president of FromSoftware. This resulted in a shift in FromSoftware with the studio releasing games less frequently, but with those games generally enjoying critical and commercial success.
About this, Dark Souls 2 was launched with great fanfare. Miyazaki served as the game’s supervisor while directing the development of the PlayStation 4 exclusive, Bloodborne.
The company then turned its attention to Dark Souls 3, which is supposed to be the last game in the franchise. It was launched in 2016 across all major platforms with the next two DLC releases. This was followed by the mysterious PlayStation VR game Deracine.
Although Deracine was met with average reviews, FromSoftware’s first post-Dark Souls release was a smash success. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice achieved very strong sales and was honored as 2019 Game of the Year by many outlets.
A new title called Elden Ring directed by Miyazaki was revealed with story contributions from A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin in 2019. FromSoftware revealed very little about the game’s development after its initial announcement, but it launched in 2022 to receive extremely positive reviews and sales. . It moved over 13 million units in the month since its release. While Dark Souls and Sekiro gained a positive reputation for FromSoftware, Elden Ring pushed the Japanese developer to become