Larian and FromSoftware Show The Secret To Making Good Games Is A Healthy Workplace

Both these companies have shown that treating your devs right is the way to go.

Story Highlights

  • FromSoftware and Larian Studios both seemingly have great workplace conditions.
  • These studios have hired devs and allowed them to learn and grow at their companies.
  • Despite, or perhaps, because of this investment, they’ve continued to produce excellent games.

It’s no secret that video game development nowadays is marred by the terrible working conditions a lot of these devs have to endure. From Blizzard Entertainment and its historically massive problem with harassment and abuse to the many layoffs that have become widespread across the industry, it’s clear developers are generally having a really hard time right now.

And while companies might push these devs to their limits, in the hopes of pushing out their games faster, it’s clear that this begins to have a hugely negative impact on the quality of the games being developed. Finding a good game nowadays can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, with so many titles increasingly feeling mediocre at best.

The sad thing is that the most obvious solution to this problem is staring people right in the face: healthier working conditions. The two case studies that utterly prove this concept are FromSoftware and Larian Studios. These two companies are behind some of the most well-regarded and critically acclaimed video games nowadays. And they’ve done it, without the same issues many other studios are facing. Here’s how.

FromSoftware Believes In Cultivating Talent 

One of the biggest problems facing the industry right now is the massive layoffs. Multiple studios, including Bungie, and PlayStation, have had to deal with this. While companies show it as an inevitability in their efforts to cut costs, the fact is that this isn’t the only solution. FromSoftware has recently shown its approach to cultivating talent, instead of simply firing people once they stop being convenient.

Hidetaka Miyazaki Accepting The BAFTA Award For Elden Ring.
Hidetaka Miyazaki Accepting The BAFTA Award For Elden Ring.

Hidetaka Miyazaki, who’s a director at the company, recently talked about in an interview how FromSoftware has, over time, been trying many of its employees. These developers started as executives, but now are trained enough to become full-on directors on various titles. This will allow the studio to pump out games faster, and will generally also aid FromSoft in covering a variety of titles and genres in the future.

FromSoftware achieved this by giving time to its developers to learn and grow under people like Miyazaki himself. Had they focused simply on cutting costs, the studio would likely have fired many of these executives, leading to a lack of capable directors now. Miyazaki, if he wishes to retire, can now safely do so, without the fear of the studio being unable to deal with his absense.

Larian Follows The Same Example

Larian Studios is behind one of the greatest games we’ve gotten recently, Baldur’s Gate 3. The studio has been quite vocal about its take on why layoffs have become commonplace recently. Swen Vincke, the founder and CEO at the company has attributed the layoffs to “publisher greed,” saying that devs are getting fired because the publishers want to double their revenue each year.

The studio has also mentioned how it’s looking to hire more devs, which came as a surprise to many, especially in an era of layoffs. It’s clear Larian focuses more on talent instead of simply trying to make the quickest bang for its buck. For Swen’s vocal stance on this issue, he received a lot of support from people who work at Swen. Many of them mentioned that choosing to work at the studio has been great for them. 

With video games becoming such huge money-makers, it’s not surprising to see why publishers who are in it solely to make money are so heavily invested in the medium. It’s why we’re seeing things like poor monetization practices in just about every new title. While making money is obviously the end goal for these publishers, it shouldn’t come at the cost of a healthy workplace or good-quality game.

Elden Ring and Baldur’s Gate 3 Are Absolutely Peak

The way Larian and FromSoft handle their workplaces shows that there is a lot of merit to this approach. Sure, it might mean that the publishers behind these studios don’t get to end each financial year with twice as much profit as the last. But, in the end, they clearly make a ton of money, simply because the games these studios have made over the years, have been best-sellers.

Elden Ring And Baldur's Gate 3 Are Among The Most Critically Acclaimed Recent Titles.
Elden Ring And Baldur’s Gate 3 Are Among The Most Critically Acclaimed Recent Titles.

Even going beyond sales, these studios have clearly cultivated a huge amount of respect and loyalty from players. Any new title from either of these two companies is sure to be met with a lot of enthusiasm from fans. Because they know that it’s going to be a quality game.

Elden Ring won several GOTY awards when it came out in 2022. And Baldur’s Gate 3 is the only game to have received even more. It’s the first title to have won all five major Game of the Year awards, which really just goes to show how great these titles are. When games like these can be made while treating developers fairly and upholding great workplace conditions, what excuse do other studios have?

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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