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Creator / FromSoftware

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FromSoftware, Inc. 『株式会社フロム・ソフトウェア』 is a Japanese game developer founded in 1986. Originally founded as an office productivity software company (thus the company's name), From would decide to shift gears and move into making video games after members of the staff played the Wizardry series, leading to the development and eventual release of King's Field in 1994 for the Sony PlayStation.

Through The Fifth and The Sixth Generation of Console Video Games, they were largely known for their Nintendo Hard Humongous Mecha and Dark Fantasy games that had small but dedicated cult followings. However, starting in The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games, they gained worldwide popularity for their trope-making Difficult, but Awesome Souls-like RPGs, including Demon's Souls, the Dark Souls trilogy, and Bloodborne. This popularity led in 2014 to the Japanese media conglomerate Kadokawa acquiring an 80% stake in FromSoftware, ending nearly 20 years of independence. Eight years later, following the success of Elden Ring, both Tencent and Sony Interactive would each buy approximately 15% shares in the studio.

Generally speaking, their games tend to go against the grain, with weighty, punishing mechanics and stories with dark themes in many of their releases ever since the original King's Field.

Games developed by FromSoftware:

Recurring tropes in FromSoftware's works:

  • Arc Symbol: Symbols feature heavily in FromSoftware games, especially those of the Soulsborne series, and often consist of very simple iconography, often circles, and often featuring flare that makes them look like part of the world; The nexus glyphs of Demon's Souls, the Darksign for Dark Souls, the Hunter's rune for Bloodborne, the death kanji for Sekiro, the queen's runestone from Lost Kingdoms and the shattered ring for Elden Ring.
  • Associated Composer: Kota Hoshino was responsible for much of the music in the Armored Core series, while Yuka Kitamura played a large part in soundtracks for most of the Hidetaka Miyazaki-directed projects.
  • BFG: The Karasawa Gun, often used as one of the strongest rifles available (Armored Core usually has it as an Infinity +1 Sword).
  • BFS: The Moonlight Sword, a regular among the strongest blades available (laser blades in Armored Core, magic swords in the Souls series, bazookas in the Metal Wolf Chaos).
  • Call-Forward: Dark Souls's Ring of Sacrifice and Elden Ring's Golden Seed make debuts in Eternal Ring.
  • Continuing is Painful: A common mechanic is to have the protagonist drop all their EXP/money (usually the same thing) when they die. Have fun fighting your way back and getting it again. How much this hurts depends on the game.
  • Crapsack World: The setting for Armored Core is less than optimistic, with each new installment escalating the global conflict and the pathos of war. The same can be said for the Souls series, with a recursive plot involving the fall of a great kingdom and the inexorable rise of darkness. Bloodborne adds Cosmic Horror to classic torch-and-pitchfork Gothic Horror using epic amounts of corrupted chum upon the stunningly bleak cities- and landscapes.
  • Creator Thumbprint:
    • Mysterious Waif companions. Many of their games feature one as your main ally, serving primarily as your means of leveling up.
    • The Moonlight Sword, mentioned above, is a massive sword with an immaterial blade of blue-green light. In the King’s Field games, it's a magical claymore of great power. In Armored Core, it's the most potent Laser Blade, balancing length and intensity. In Demon's Souls, its blade ignores physical barriers: namely shields. The Dark Souls games allow it to be blocked, but grant it a Sword Beam ability, and Bloodborne makes it a seemingly ordinary claymore that may adopt the Dark Souls traits on command. In the Metal Wolf Chaos, it's a very powerful bazooka-type weapon, which looks like a sword with handle and shoulder rest from "Super Bazooka" and shoots slow-moving vertical lightning discharges. There's also a King's Field game maker tool for Windows they have developed that was also named after it as Sword of Moonlight.
    • Patches, an NPC who will attempt to trick you into getting yourself killed, and then beg for mercy and offer to sell you things. He will always fight in the most cowardly way possible (usually a greatshield-and-spear combo) and with one exception will hate the clergy.
  • Double Meaning:
    • Eternal Ring refers to a Magic Ring of great power, and the prison of the Big Bad, the child-god Solus.
    • Dark Souls refers to both people cursed to undeath, and the fact that humanity's souls are born from primordial darkness.
    • Bloodborne refers to the power carried within paleblood, and the Mystical Plague that is paleblood.
  • Money Is Experience Points: In many of their role-playing games, such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring, the game's currency doubles as the only method for leveling up the player's avatar. If the player dies, they drop all their money in the spot they died, which is lost permanently if the player is killed again before retrieving it. This makes it beneficial to buy as many items as possible in between leveling up so that you have less to lose in the event that you die trying to retrieve your lost money.
  • Mysterious Waif: A Recurring Element in their fantasy games. Each game features a young woman with a mysterious past (usually completely unexplained), and frequently magical powers, who stays in the Hub World and helps the hero however she can, often by leveling up. She is usually a Blind Seer, and has Mystical White Hair. In Demon's Souls she's the Maiden in Black; In Dark Souls I and III she's the Fire Keeper(s); In Dark Souls II she's Shanalotte, the Emerald Herald; In Bloodborne she's the Plain Doll, in Sekiro she's Lady Emma, who takes an unusually proactive role by being the Penultimate boss in the Shura ending, and in Elden Ring she's Melina, who also takes an unusually proactive role by giving the Tarnished their horse, having her own offscreen quest, helping the player against Morgott, and finally sacrificing herself to allow you to reach the final boss.
  • Mythology Gag: A number of them appear between FromSoftware's titles
    • Patches appears in Armored Core: For Answer as Patch the Good Luck, a cowardly sniper who abandons his faction as soon as he notices his life is at risk. In Demon's Souls, he's Patches the Hyena, a grave robber who promises treasure to unwitting adventurers, only to kick them into a pit full of dangerous enemies so he can rob their corpses for things to sell. In Dark Souls 1, 3 and Elden Ring, he's Trusty Patches, Unbreakable Patches and Patches the Untethered respectively (the first two seem to be the exact same person) and does the same thing as his Demon's counterpart. The same goes for Bloodborne’s Patches the Spider, with the minor change that he's literally a spider. He is absent from Dark Souls 2, however an Expy named Mild-Mannered Pate is present instead, who has a different look and voice as well as a slightly different MO — he still tricks people into getting killed by traps by promising them treasure, they're just not his traps. He just wants a guinea pig to sacrifice to the trap and get rid of the danger so that he can have the treasure all to himself. He also doesn't seem to rob corpses.
      • And a notable side-note: Patches always uses the most cowardly fighting style possible when confronted. In Armored Core, he snipes from great heights, avoiding direct combat entirely. In the Souls games and Elden Ring, he tries to avoid confrontation entirely, preferring to dispatch his marks with trickery and kicking people into enemy-filled pits, and if forced to fight, he wields a spear from behind a greatshield (and in Demon's Souls especially, he uses the health-regenerating Adjudicator's Shield along with the Scraping Spear which causes massive equipment degradation). Pate uses this fighting style as well.
      • What’s more, Patches always has a special (and usually mutual) hatred of the clergy, whoever they may be in the game's universe. Except in Bloodborne, where he pretty much is a clergy member in all but name (to Amygdala).
      • Also, falling for Patches's tricks usually gives you an opportunity to forgive him for tricking you. Usually choosing "no" will result in him giving you extra rewards as a way of sucking back up to you, but either way he becomes a merchant for the rest of the game.
    • Both Seath and Gurya, the villains from King's Field end up reappearing in Dark Souls, except Gurya ends up renamed to Kalameet (although both Gurya and Kalameet basically look identical).
  • Nintendo Hard: A large amount of their published games throw in some particularly nasty gameplay mechanics, including, but not limited to: Checkpoint Starvation, Kaizo Trap, numerous boss battle types, Spiteful A.I., Early Game Hell, Guide Dang It!, Bag of Spilling, etc.
  • Production Foreshadowing:
    • The design of Marvelous Chester from Dark Souls' DLC area served, with his top hat and longcoat, as foreshadowing for the by-then in-production Bloodborne.
    • The design of Yamamura the Wanderer from Bloodborne's DLC area similarly served as foreshadowing for the by-then in-production Sekiro.
  • Production Throwback: You enter the Dark Souls DLC area by getting, as Chester describes it, "snatched by a shadowy limb and dragged off to the past." Come Bloodborne you access the DLC area by getting snatched by a shadowy limb and dragged off to the past. At the spot where this happens you even find a top hat and longcoat, quite similar to Chester's own get-up.
  • Scenery Gorn: When they want bleakness... let's say nausea isn't too strong a word to apply.
  • Scenery Porn: When they want to convey the greatness of a scene, they do so with every cent of their budget.
  • Signature Style: There's a lot of variety in their catalog, but in general their games are known for being unforgivingly difficult while still allowing a wide latitude of player freedom, having extremely confusing stories, and being at least a little bit janky. Also, complicated menus.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The main theme of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro. To elaborate, Resurrective Immortality is a mechanic used just for the player, but said power is painful to go through and especially in the latter, this combines with Immortality Immorality, where many of the people are willing to commit various crimes to obtain it.