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The Untold Truth Of FromSoftware

Over the last decade or so, "Dark Souls" and "Elden Ring" developer FromSoftware has gone from relative obscurity to a household name. While the studio had been developing games since the mid-1990s (like "King's Field"), it wouldn't be until "Dark Souls" released in 2011 that the team began seeing its current success — and began its transformation into the zeitgeist of gaming that FromSoftware currently is. Going on to create its own sub-genre of gaming, Soulslike, FromSoftware has since been a constant source of critic and player focus, with the studio's surprisingly capable ability to make punishment fun.


Most recently, FromSoftware has wowed fans and critics alike with the much-anticipated and endlessly-praised "Elden Ring," proving once again that the studio is the master of the sub-genre it created. That said, there's a lot about the developer that even some of the most die-hard fans might not know. Here's the untold truth about FromSoftware.

Dark Souls Owes Its Existence to Ico

While fans might not think to associate the dark and foreboding "Dark Souls" series with the cult-classic PlayStation 2 title "Ico," it turns out "Ico" actually served as a major inspiration for creator Hidetaka Miyazaki. As initially reported by Japanese outlet Famitsu (and later covered by VGC), Miyazaki shared just how important "Ico" was to him before he started making video games. 


Speaking to Famitsu — to pay tribute and celebrate the 20th anniversary for "Ico"– Miyazaki said, "On a personal note, after graduating from university and starting a new job, I was away from games for a while when I happened to play Ico at a friend's house on a recommendation," Miyazaki recalled. He went on to say, "It was a beautiful, untold experience and story that I had never imagined..." Miyazaki concluded his remembrance on the title by saying, "And that's when I left the company I was working for at the time and started working for. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was the game that changed my life, and I'm proud that it was Ico and it was Mr. Ueda's game.

While the famed creator may not have been inspired by the implicit themes in Japan Studio and Team Ico's first title, it was the catalyst that set Miyazaki on a course to make video games.


FromSoftware's First Game Was The PS1's First RPG

While many fondly remember the spiky-haired and brooding protagonists from the PlayStation 1 era of "Final Fantasy" games, FromSoftware actually had a large part in trailblazing the path forward for other developers like Square Enix (formally Square Soft). FromSoftware's first game, "King's Field" would eventually go on to inspire later games like "Demon's Souls" and the Soulslike genre to follow, but many fans may not realize the game's true claim to fame is its legacy as the first RPG available for Sony's PlayStation.


"King's Field" was among one of the first games to release on the original PlayStation, but if fans can't recall playing it on their old consoles, it's likely because the title originally never saw a release outside of Japan. The title invited players to take part in an action-packed adventure in one of the first fully-3D RPGs. Though the initial critic response was polarizing, it's a good thing FromSoftware decided to integrate many features from "King's Field" into other titles.

Dark Souls Isn't The Game That Put FromSoftware On The Map

Although "Dark Souls" would go on to earn FromSoftware international fame and recognition, it wasn't the first game made by the studio that caught players' attention. Long before "Dark Souls" — or even its predecessor "Demon's Souls" — FromSoftware made waves with the "Armored Core" franchise. The third-person mech game first debuted in 1997, just as FromSoftware's games were growing a larger following. It wasn't long before FromSoftware recognized the popularity of the new title and decided to focus on expanding the IP into a series.


The "Armored Core" franchise would go on to spawn five main entries and several spinoff titles in addition to other media, like manga. In fact, there was a period of time — between the series' first premiere in 1997 through an era of focused Sony and Nintendo development until about 2005 — when FromSoftware focused on little else besides "Armored Core." While FromSoftware is now the center of attention for its hyper-difficult action RPGs, the studio cut its teeth supplying fans with a steady supply of mech action titles.

Demon's Souls Was A Much Bigger Hit The Second Time Around

It's likely that many PlayStation 5 owners have — at the very least — heard about "Demon's Souls" since fighting through the scalpers and ongoing general scarcity to get their hands on the next-gen console. A from-the-ground-up remake of FromSoftware's 2009 PlayStation 3 title, "Demon's Souls" earned player and critic praise for reintroducing the world to the studio's first true Souls adventure.


Oddly enough, reception for "Demon's Souls" wasn't quite as welcoming when the title was being initially unveiled over a decade earlier. Onlookers and critics weren't impressed with early showings of "Demon's Souls," with SCE producer Takeshi Kajii saying in a 2010 interview with Edge, "When we first demo'd Demon's Souls at the Tokyo Game Show it was nothing short of a disaster." He went on to say, "Many people presumed we were still working on the combat at that stage of development, despite it being nearly finished! The truth is Demon's Souls is just not well suited to previews, particularly at shows. You can't possibly understand its approach in five minutes."

Thankfully, despite some early confusion and players' initial aversion to a new experience, FromSoftware stuck with the idea — and eventually, the title would live a second life, fully realized on powerful next-gen hardware.


The Moonlight Greatsword Has More History Than The Souls Series

Something many fans and players have realized over the years is that they can count on FromSoftware to include an iconic weapon in its Souls games. The Moonlight Greatsword has become something of a mainstay in FromSoftware titles, allowing players to wield a giant magical sword with an interesting backstory. That said, the Souls games weren't the first to introduce players to the weapon — and there's a good chance it'll stick around in any other titles FromSoftware ends up developing.


The Moonlight Greatsword made its first appearance in FromSoftware's first title, "King's Field," and has been a part of almost every title developed by the studio since then. Even in the mech action series "Armored Core," the blade has made consistent cameos. While the lore and some of the weapon's abilities can change with its depiction in specific games, players have come to expect some variation of the Moonlight Greatsword in every FromSoftware release. Many fans even go as far as to make tracking down and obtaining the weapon a top priority as soon as a new game by the studio is released.