Music of Final Fantasy XIV

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"XIV" refers to the original version of the game, while "A Realm Reborn" refers to its reboot.

The music for the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, a regular contributor to the music of the Final Fantasy series. Several other composers including Masayoshi Soken and Naoshi Mizuta contributed music for updates to the game. The music for the game's reboot, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, was primarily composed by Soken, who was the sound director for both releases of the game. Music from both releases of the game has been released in several albums, though no album contains music from both XIV and A Realm Reborn. A pair of mini-albums containing a handful of selected tracks from XIV, Final Fantasy XIV: Battle Tracks and Final Fantasy XIV: Field Tracks, were released by Square Enix in 2010 when XIV first launched. A soundtrack album titled Final Fantasy XIV - Eorzean Frontiers, containing most of the music that had been released by that point for XIV, was digitally released in 2012. A final soundtrack album for the original release of the game, Before Meteor: Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack, was released in 2013 just before the launch of A Realm Reborn, and contains all of the music that was composed for XIV throughout its lifetime. The latest soundtrack album, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Original Soundtrack, was released in 2014, and contains all of the music for A Realm Reborn released up to that point.

The soundtracks for both releases of the game were well received by critics. Uematsu's mix of orchestral and rock tracks for XIV were praised, though the delayed release of a full album drew criticism. Soken's work on A Realm Reborn, including both his original tracks as well as themes carried over from XIV and previous Final Fantasy games, were heavily praised by reviewers for the game. Music from the initial release of the game has been played in the international Distant Worlds Final Fantasy concert series, and books of sheet music for piano arrangements of music from the game have been produced.

Creation and influence[edit]

Composer Nobuo Uematsu in 2006

The massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Final Fantasy XIV was released in two versions: the original (live between 2010 and 2012), and its remake (Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, live since 2013). The music for XIV was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, who was the lead composer for the first ten main Final Fantasy games and a contributor to the Final Fantasy XI and XII soundtracks.[1] Over the two years that XIV was active, several updates were made to the game, which included additional music composed by Masayoshi Soken, Naoshi Mizuta, Tsuyoshi Sekito and Ryo Yamazaki.[2] XIV was poorly received, and despite the updates, Square Enix decided to take the game offline for a time, and relaunch it with a new development team under a new name.[3] Soken, the sound director for both releases, composed the soundtrack to A Realm Reborn.[4]

Prior to agreeing to create XIV's score, Uematsu had already planned to compose "Kimi ga Iru Kara", the theme song for Final Fantasy XIII. Wanting him to fully focus on XIV, Square Enix asked XIII's main composer Masashi Hamauzu to write the song instead. Thus, XIII was the first main-series Final Fantasy game soundtrack to not include Uematsu's work.[5] Despite XIV being an MMO and thus a new genre for him, Uematsu treated it as any other video game project. Compared to his previous work within the series, Uematsu had considerable creative freedom while composing the soundtrack, because the rest of the production team did not fully envision beforehand how the soundtrack would sound or fit into the game. Uematsu created a mixture of orchestral and rock pieces for the game's battle themes. There was a momentary crisis when he lost most of the data for his completed tracks and needed to hire a data recovery service.[6] He worked as a freelance composer during the project for Square Enix, also composing the music for The Last Story, a game from Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.[7] The game's theme song, "Answers", was sung by Susan Calloway. She was chosen by Uematsu, who had worked with her during the first Distant Worlds concert and was impressed by her singing abilities.[8]

For A Realm Reborn, Soken was the primary composer, in addition to reprising his XIV role as lead sound director. The primary goal given to the music team was to make the music true to the series. Naoki Yoshida, the game's producer and director, told Soken to "give [the team] something straightforward that anyone could identify as Final Fantasy, with an easy-to-understand, expressive orchestral sound".[9] Soken focused primarily on creating the soundtrack rather than his sound director role. He often created new tracks due to requests from staff members. As the game was developed and released in a shorter timeframe than the original release, Soken and the sound team were given less than a year to create both the music and the various sound effects for the game world. According to Soken, it felt like "enough work for two full games in that time".[9] Unlike the freedom given Uematsu for XIV, most of the tracks for A Realm Reborn had specific guidelines, though Soken was allowed to "do what [he liked]" for Titan's battle theme.[10] Soken sang the vocal work for some tracks, such as the battle theme for Leviathan.[11] Several themes and tracks from the original game were carried over both directly and as a part of new tracks in A Realm Reborn, including the original vocal theme.[12] Soken also remixed pieces from earlier Final Fantasy games for use in special in-game events.[10]

Original release[edit]

Mini-albums[edit]

Final Fantasy XIV: Battle Tracks
Final Fantasy XIV: Field Tracks
Soundtrack album by Nobuo Uematsu
Released September 29, 2010
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 34:36 (Battle Tracks)
45:05 (Field Tracks)

The mini-albums Final Fantasy XIV: Battle Tracks and Final Fantasy XIV: Field Tracks were the first releases of music from the game, and were published by Square Enix on September 29, 2010, a week after the game itself was released. They feature selected tracks from XIV. The music was composed by Uematsu and arranged by Tsutomu Narita. Kenichiro Fukui also helped arrange some of the pieces on the Field Tracks mini-album. Battle Tracks has nine pieces, and includes the game's opening theme, the boss theme "Nail of the Heavens", and Final Fantasy XIV's rendition of Uematsu's "Victory Fanfare".[13] Field Tracks predominantly features the main themes for the game's countries Ul'dah, Gridania and Limsa Lominsa, along with other pieces of music heard during traveling, for a total of eight tracks.[14] Each mini-album was accompanied by special liner notes by Uematsu describing his experiences writing music for the series, with particular reference to the first game.[15][16]

Patrick Gann of RPGFan termed the mini-albums as a good return work from Uematsu despite some of the unexpected battle tracks, though he questioned whether the discs themselves would be worth purchasing once a full soundtrack album was released.[13][14] Jayson Napolitano of Original Sound Version was generally positive, and cited the composition of the battle themes as "a cross between The Black Mages and Uematsu's work on Lord of Vermilion".[17] The more orchestral field tracks were also praised.[17] Chris Greening of Square Enix Music Online termed Field Tracks as "largely likeable", and appreciated Uematsu's use of rock music in Battle Tracks, though he disliked the strategy of releasing two incomplete mini-albums rather than a full soundtrack album.[18][19] Both mini-albums sold well: Battle Tracks appeared at position #73 on the Japanese Oricon album charts for a week, while Field Tracks appeared at position #75 for that same week.[20][21]


Eorzean Frontiers[edit]

Final Fantasy XIV - Eorzean Frontiers
Soundtrack album by Nobuo Uematsu, Masayoshi Soken, Naoshi Mizuta, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Ryo Yamazaki
Released September 1, 2012
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 3:14:24 (iTunes download)

Final Fantasy XIV - Eorzean Frontiers was the first full album of music from the game to be released. It was published by Square Enix on September 1, 2012 as a digital album through iTunes. The tracks include most of the music that had been released for the game at that point, including pieces that were present at the game's launch and some which were added later, including "Rise of the White Raven", the theme for Nael Van Darnus, and the themes for the Grand Companies of Eorzea. All of the tracks from the album were additionally released on the same date in a set of smaller digital mini-albums, also released through iTunes, titled Final Fantasy XIV Frontiers - Gridania, Ishgard, Limsa Lominsa, and Ul'dah. The majority of the music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, with additional pieces contributed by Masayoshi Soken, Naoshi Mizuta, Tsuyoshi Sekito, and Ryo Yamazaki. The 38 tracks of the album cover a duration of 3:14:24.[2]

Derek Heemsbergen of RPGFan reviewed the album as an "incredibly rich and diverse musical score", and felt that regardless of the reception to the game itself, that the soundtrack was worthy of a Final Fantasy game.[2] Jayson Napolitano of Destructoid, in his review of the album, found that while there were many interesting tracks in the album and that the total length of more than three hours made the album a "good deal", that most of the tracks that he enjoyed the most were previously featured on the Final Fantasy XIV Battle Tracks and Field Tracks mini-albums.[22]


Before Meteor[edit]

Before Meteor: Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Nobuo Uematsu, Masayoshi Soken, Naoshi Mizuta, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Ryo Yamazaki, and Ai Yamashita
Released August 14, 2013
Recorded 2008 - 2012
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 6:05:51 (Single Blu-ray disc)

On August 14, 2013, two weeks before the release of A Realm Reborn, Square Enix published Before Meteor: Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack, a full soundtrack album with all of the music composed for the original release of the game, which had shut down a year prior. The 104-track album was released on a single Blu-ray disc and included music lasting 6:05:51, with both the original music by Uematsu as well as the additional tracks composed by Mizuta, Yamazaki, Sekito, Soken, and Ai Yamashita during the game's run. The disc also included a remastered version of the "A New Beginning" trailer and a bonus download code for an in-game Daulmund Minion.[23] The Blu-ray disc allowed purchasers to rip digital copies of the album on their Blu-ray devices to play without the disc.[24] None of the Eorzean Frontiers reviewers from album a year prior returned to review the final XIV album.


A Realm Reborn[edit]

Original Soundtrack[edit]

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Masayoshi Soken, Nobuo Uematsu, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Naoshi Mizuta
Released March 26, 2014[25]
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 6:48:00 (Single Blu-ray disc)[26]

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Original Soundtrack was released by Square Enix on March 21, 2014. It was released on a Blu-ray disc and features 119 tracks lasting 6:48:00, all composed by Masayoshi Soken.[26] In addition to the tracks present in the initial launch of A Realm Reborn, the album also includes tracks used in the 2.1 patch, A Realm Awoken.[24] Initial copies of the soundtrack also came with a special "Wind-up Bahamut" in-game pet.[27] Although the album itself has received little attention from reviewers, within the context of the game the music has been well received. Kotaku's Mike Fahey stated that the music was "wonderful, complex and satisfying".[28] He often paused to remove the ambient and interface noises so as to hear it better.[28] GamesRadar's Adam Harshberger called it "a standout even amongst Final Fantasy's storied heritage"[29] while Digital Spy's Mark Langshaw called it "a sonic feast ... that pays appropriate homage to the long-running RPG series".[30] The soundtrack won Video Game Music Online's 2013 Annual Game Music Awards in the Eastern category.[31]

Legacy[edit]

Four tracks from Final Fantasy XIV ("Navigator's Glory", "Twilight Over Thanalan", "Primal Judgement", and an orchestral rendition of "Answers" with vocals by Susan Calloway) were included in the Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy Returning Home concert on November 6 and 7, 2010 in Tokyo, Japan, which was released as a CD-DVD package in 2011.[32] Those four tracks along with "Beneath Bloodied Banners" were then added to the general setlist options for the international Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy concert tour, though no other official Final Fantasy concert or tour has yet included music from either release of the game.[33] Tracks from A Realm Reborn were included in the Nindendo 3DS rhythm game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call.[34] An 88-page book of sheet music for piano arrangements of songs from the soundtrack titled Final Fantasy XIV Piano Solo Sheet Music was published by Dream Music Factory in 2010, containing the tracks featured in the mini-albums.[35] Dream Music Factory also published piano-arranged sheet music for Before Meteor in 2013 titled Before Meteor: Final Fantasy XIV Piano Solo Sheet Music.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Square Enix (2010-09-22). Final Fantasy XIV. Square Enix. Scene: Credits. 
  2. ^ a b c Heemsbergen, Derek (2012-09-24). "Final Fantasy XIV - Eorzean Frontiers Review". RPGFan. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  3. ^ "Final Fantasy XIV, The Lodestone". Square Enix. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  4. ^ Square Enix (2013-08-27). Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Square Enix. Scene: Credits. 
  5. ^ Chris (2009-09-14). "Confirmed: Nobuo Uematsu Not On FFXIII". Square Enix Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  6. ^ Gifford, Kevin (2010-09-29). "Nobuo Uematsu on Returning to Final Fantasy". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  7. ^ Deiner, Matt. "Nobuo Uematsu Interview: The Earthbound Papas". Game Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  8. ^ "Susan Calloway". Personal website. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  9. ^ a b Schweitzer, Ben. "Final Fantasy XIV -A Realm Reborn- Original Soundtrack Liner Notes". Game Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  10. ^ a b Meyerink, Stephen (2014-03-10). "RPGFan Music of the Year 2013; Day Three: Masayoshi Soken on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn". RPGFan. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  11. ^ Soken, Masayoshi (2014-05-14). "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Developers Blog; Lyrics of the Whorl". Square Enix. Archived from the original on 2014-07-06. Retrieved 2014-07-06. 
  12. ^ Van Duine, Erren (2012-07-30). "RPGFan Music of the Year 20". RPGSite. Archived from the original on 2014-04-11. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  13. ^ a b Gann, Patrick (2010-09-29). "Final Fantasy XIV Battle Tracks". RPGFan. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  14. ^ a b Gann, Patrick (2010-09-29). "Final Fantasy XIV Field Tracks". RPGFan. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  15. ^ Greening, Chris. "Final Fantasy XIV Field Tracks". Game Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  16. ^ Greening, Chris. "Final Fantasy XIV Battle Tracks". Game Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  17. ^ a b Napolianto, Jayson (2010-09-27). "Go-go Retro Uematsu! Final Fantasy XIV Field/Battle Tracks (Review)". Official Sound Version. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  18. ^ Greening, Chris. "Final Fantasy XIV Field Tracks :: Review by Chris". Square Enix Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  19. ^ Greening, Chris. "Final Fantasy XIV Battle Tracks :: Review by Chris". Square Enix Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  20. ^ "FINAL FANTASY XIV/Battle Tracks" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  21. ^ "FINAL FANTASY XIV/Field Tracks" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  22. ^ Napolitano, Jayson (2012-11-02). "Note Worthy 008: Final Fantasy 25th anniversary special". Destructoid. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  23. ^ "Final Fantasy XIV Soundtrack To Include Dalmaud Minion Code". Siliconera. 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  24. ^ a b Parish, Jeremy (2014-01-27). "What's Next for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn?". USGamer. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  25. ^ Sato (2014-01-29). "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn OST Contains Over Six Hours Of Music". Siliconera. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  26. ^ a b Soken, Masayoshi (2014-03-12). "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Developers Blog; Beats by Soken". Square Enix. Archived from the original on 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  27. ^ Ishaan (2014-03-26). "Square Enix Hid "Something" In The Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Soundtrack". Siliconera. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  28. ^ a b Fahey, Mike (2013-08-29). "The Best Way To Play Final Fantasy XIV Is With The Sounds Off". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  29. ^ Harshberger, Adam (2013-10-24). "Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn review". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  30. ^ Langshaw, Mike (2013-10-03). "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn' review (PS3): Rises from the ashes". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  31. ^ Greening, Chris (2014-04-20). "Annual Game Music Awards 2013 – Soundtracks of the Year". Video Game Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-04-20. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  32. ^ "Distant Worlds Returning Home CD-DVD Set". Square Enix Music Online. Archived from the original on 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  33. ^ "Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy Master Repertoire List". AWR Music Productions. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  34. ^ Spencer (2014-03-25). "Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call's List Of Modern Final Fantasy Tunes". Siliconera. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  35. ^ "ファイナルファンタジーXIV/ピアノ・ソロ曲集[フィールド&バトル・トラックス]" (in Japanese). Dream Music Factory. Archived from the original on 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  36. ^ "ビフォアーメテオ:ファイナルファンタジーXIV/オリジナル・サウンドトラック-ピアノ・ソロ曲集" (in Japanese). Dream Music Factory. Archived from the original on 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 

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