Masaharu Iwata

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Masaharu Iwata
Also known as REZON
Born (1966-10-26) October 26, 1966 (age 47)
Tokyo, Japan
Genres Orchestral, electronica, jazz
Occupations Composer, musician
Instruments Piano, electronic organ, synthesizer
Years active 1987–present
Labels DigiCube
Square Enix
Aniplex
Associated acts Basiscape

Masaharu Iwata (岩田匡治 Iwata Masaharu?, born October 26, 1966) is a Japanese video game composer. After graduating from high school, where his musical projects included composing on a synthesizer and playing in a cover band, he joined Bothtec as a composer. He composed the soundtrack to several games there, beginning with 1987's Bakusou Buggy Ippatsu Yarou,[1] and after the company was merged into Quest he left to become a freelance composer. His most well-known projects include Ogre Battle, Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, and Soul Calibur IV, though throughout his career he has composed music for over 65 games. He is one of the founding members of Basiscape, headed by fellow composer Hitoshi Sakimoto and currently one of the largest independent video game music production companies. His compositions for strategy role-playing games such as the Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics series have been described as "among the most well-recognized in the genre".[2]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Iwata, born on October 26, 1966 in Tokyo, Japan, has been interested in music since he was a child, though he terms his first attempts at "experiments with music" while at school to be poor.[3][4] While in junior high school, he became interested in the Japanese electropop group Yellow Magic Orchestra. This inspired him to buy a synthesizer, and join a cover band with some other students.[4] Other musical influences on him during his youth were Arabesque, John Foxx, China Crisis and Bill Nelson.[1] It was during this time that video games began to be popular, leading him to become interested in them like many of his friends. Once he graduated high school, Iwata tried to find work that combined his love of music and video games, and joined Bothtec, which while he was there became part of Quest.[4]

Career[edit]

While working at Bothtec as a part-time composer, Iwata composed his first piece in 1987, the ending theme to Bakusou Buggy Ippatsu Yarou.[1] Soon afterward he scored his first full game, Relics: Ankoku Yousai.[5] While at Bothec, Iwata met Hitoshi Sakimoto, who was a freelance composer working on games for the company while still in high school.[1] The two became friends, and the next game Iwata scored was a collaboration with Sakimoto for the 1988 shooter game Revolter, published by ASCGroup for the NEC PC-8801.[4][6] Iwata remained at Bothtec for a few years more, and left around a year after the company merged into Quest in 1990. He did not join up with another company, instead becoming a freelance composer like Sakimoto.[4]

Over the next few years Iwata composed music for titles from a number of different companies, including Quest.[5] On several of these titles he was credited by the nickname REZON.[2] The nickname comes from the name of the car the hero drove in a show he watched as a child, and he picked it up as he liked the sound of it.[1] Iwata's first encounter with mainstream success in Japan came about in 1993 when he composed Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen along with Sakimoto. The soundtrack included a wide variety of instrumentation in its orchestral score, which was new to the composers who chose some instruments from a musical instrument description book Iwata had found.[7] This collaboration led to Iwata co-composing several titles with Sakimoto over the next few years, culminating with his first brush with international success with Final Fantasy Tactics in 1997.[5] On these collaborations, the two typically divided up the work and worked on their own tracks, rather than co-compose each piece.[1] Iwata also collaborated with several other artists during this period in his career, including Toshiaki Sakoda and Masanobu Tsukamoto.[5]

In 2002, Iwata became one of the founding members of Basiscape, currently the largest independent video game music production company, along with Sakimoto, who heads the company, and Manabu Namiki.[2] Basiscape composes and produces music and sound effects for various types of interactive media, most notably video games. Sakimoto says that he left Square to found the company because he did not feel that he had enough "freedom" as an employee of a game company, though he notes that the cost of that freedom is the difficulty in remaining close to the development team.[8] The composers for the company are able to procure individual work for themselves as members of Basiscape, as well as collaborate with other staff members on projects that are hired out to Basiscape as a company rather than any one composer. This allows the composers to remain freelancers while having the steady work of a full-time job.[9] Iwata has composed much of his work since joining the company in collaboration with other Basiscape artists, both as the lead composer and as a member of a large group.[10] Since becoming part of Basiscape, Iwata has gone on to compose for over 50 other titles, including big-name works such as Final Fantasy XII, Odin Sphere, and Soulcalibur IV.[5]

Discography[edit]

Video game soundtracks[edit]

Composer
Arranger

Other works[edit]

Discography sources: [1][5][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Interview with Masaharu Iwata". RocketBaby. 2002. Archived from the original on August 13, 2006. Retrieved January 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Kermarrec, Jérémie; Jeriaska (September 15, 2008). "Interview with Masaharu Iwata". RPGFan. Retrieved January 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Basiscape Artists - 岩田 匡治 / Masaharu Iwata" (in Japanese). Basiscape. Retrieved January 7, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Iwata, Masuharu. "Masaharu Iwata - Official English Website". Cocoebiz. Retrieved January 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Iwata, Masuharu. "Masaharu Iwata - Official English Website - Discography". Cocoebiz. Retrieved January 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Credits". Hitoshi Sakimoto's official website. Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  7. ^ Jeriaska (November 25, 2009). "Concerto Tactics - The Music of Hiroki Kikuta and Hitoshi Sakimoto". GameSetWatch. Retrieved January 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ Sakimoto, Hitoshi; Winkler, Chris. "RPGFan Exclusive Interview #4: Hitoshi Sakimoto, Composer, Basiscape". RPGFan. Retrieved October 15, 2009. 
  9. ^ Sakimoto, Hitoshi; Napolitano, Jason (April 2, 2009). "GDC 2009: Shooting The Breeze With Hitoshi Sakimoto". Original Sound Version. Retrieved October 15, 2009. 
  10. ^ Napolitano, Jason (March 5, 2009). "Suikoden Tierkreis Interview: Masaharu Iwata of Basiscape Shares His Thoughts". Original Sound Version. Retrieved January 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Basiscape Artists - 岩田 匡治 / Masaharu Iwata" (in Japanese). Retrieved July 22, 2012. 

External links[edit]