FromSoftware has no idea why Elden Ring was such a success, and they don’t need to know
FromSoftware’s Elden Ring and Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon received Partner Awards at the “PlayStation Partner Awards 2023 Japan Asia” held by Sony Interactive Entertainment on December 1. Prior to the awards ceremony, Elden Ring producer Yasuhiro Kitao commented on the game’s success, calling it a “surprise” and something FromSoftware still hasn’t analyzed.
Released in 2022, Elden Ring took off immediately, selling over 12 million copies worldwide in under three weeks and claiming numerous awards for its enthralling word-building, direction and gameplay. Elden Ring hasn’t lost its momentum either, as it continues to perform outstandingly well. The Partner Award it received for sales in the period from October 2022 to September 2023 is just another testament to the fact. An event report by Denfaminicogamer cites Yasuhiro Kitao’s take on the game’s extraordinary reception.
According to the account, Kitao comments that the high acclaim and exceptional worldwide sales of Elden Ring had come as a surprise to the team, as they had not been expecting such a large number of players at all. He goes on to say, “We still haven’t been able to analyze why so many people play the game, and we have no idea why it’s selling so well. Our attitude towards development has remained unchanged.”
As to what this attitude entails, Kitao explains, “Making games that we think are fun and have value has been our policy for a long time, and we won’t start aiming for new big hits like Elden Ring. Our stance of creating games we think are fun and worthwhile will not be changing.”
In other words, FromSoftware’s recipe for success is to adhere to making games that satisfy their own standards, and they don’t seem to concern themselves with analyzing what decisions will lead to commercial success. The signature difficulty of their titles is definitely proof of this attitude, as being inaccessible is usually considered to be a big deterring factor sales-wise.
When asked about the longevity of Elden Ring’s popularity, Kitao offers the opinion that the game’s high level of freedom, combined with the effect of many players discussing and recommending the game, could be what contributed to its consistent success.