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We Finally Know Why FromSoftware Makes Such Disturbing Games

FromSoftware is known for the dark and disturbing atmosphere it typically incorporates into its games. However, the reason for this might surprise you.

Whether it be "Elden Ring" or its "Dark Souls" predecessors, FromSoftware games aren't for the faint of heart. Games from the Japanese developer are oftentimes filled to the brim not only with difficult and challenging gameplay elements and bosses but are often dark and bleak. This encompasses virtually every aspect of the developer's games, from the look of the world to enemy design. Almost everything you will encounter in a FromSoftware game looks like it was ripped directly from a nightmare.

If you didn't know any better, you'd probably assume that the people responsible for designing FromSoftware games are just huge horror-fantasy fans and that the typical apocalyptic settings in its game are the consequences of taste. But the actual reason FromSoft games are so dark is a bit more complicated than that. Yes, taste plays a role. However, fans of the developer's games might be surprised about why FromSoft games always look like an H.R. Geiger fever dream and not in line with more traditional designs in the industry.

FromSoftware says bright games are beyond its capabilities

In an interview with IGN about the upcoming "Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon," FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki and designer Masaru Yamamura spilled the beans about why the developer's games are always laden with dark and apocalyptic imagery. "I would say there are two main reasons why we tend towards these apocalyptic settings," Miyazaki told IGN. "One is purely direct to taste, and the preferences of the game director and game developers." Miyazaki detailed that even earlier FromSoftware efforts such as "King's Field" had an apocalyptic bend to it, and the dark themes more or less have become part of the company's identity at this point.

The other reason, however, is a bit startling. It's not just on account of taste — apocalyptic settings in FromSoft games are also there to cover up for some of the developer's technical weaknesses. "I think the second reason would be... that a lively bright setting is a little bit beyond FromSoftware's capability or experiences as a developer," Miyazaki said. "So it's easier for us to direct and apply our own resources on what we're good at, and what we're used to. And so it is easier for us to express ourselves within these kind of darker and drier and quieter apocalyptic settings than livelier and busy ones."