For my money, one of the most interesting aspects of a game’s creation is the composition and orchestration of its music. With Final Fantasy, that’s doubly the case because for me, and I imagine for so many others, the music of this series is one of its best parts. Be it lo-fi channels, new arrangements, compilations, piano versions, or something else, Final Fantasy music makes its way into many of my playlists.
That’s why I was so excited to chat with composer Masayoshi Soken about his score for Final Fantasy XVI. You might recognize his name as he’s also the composer of Final Fantasy XIV. Still, if you don’t, there’s a chance it’s a name you come to remember following the release of FFXVI because after more than three hours of hands-on time with the game in Square Enix’s Tokyo, Japan, office, I’m confident we’re about to get a banger of a score.
In talking with Soken, I wanted to speak to him about some of the major themes and melodies of any Final Fantasy game – things like the Prelude, the main theme, the Victory Fanfare, and more – and he had plenty to say. In this four-part series, I’ll be breaking down different aspects of the music that excite me and hopefully you too.
Be sure to check out the first two parts:
- Part 1 – Creating The Prelude
- Part 2 – The Victory Fanfare
The Music of Final Fantasy XVI Part 3 – Finding A Main Theme
Nearly every game has a main theme – it’s standard procedure at this point. But not every musical motif stands the test of time; they can’t all be Halo, in other words. Final Fantasy, however, has an excellent track record of creating memorable main themes. I’ve been listening to “The Promise,” the recurring melody of Final Fantasy XIII, for over a decade, and it has yet to grow old. Between the original arrangements, remixes, and more, I can’t get enough. And if you talk to any Final Fantasy fan, I’d wager they have their own song that’s “The Promise” for them.
Having heard just a taste of FFXVI’s score in various trailers and gameplay videos leading up to this cover story trip, I hadn’t yet pinned down the main theme of Final Fantasy XVI. There’s “Tsuki Wo Miteita – Moongazing,” (listen below) which is a special song written and performed by Kenshi Yonezu, whose name you might recognize as the artist behind “Kick Back,” the OP for Chainsaw Man, and “Peace Sign,” the first OP for Season 2 of My Hero Academia (easily one of the series’ best, mind you). But Moongazing isn’t necessarily the main theme of FFXVI.
“The main theme for Final Fantasy XVI is actually something that’s kind of difficult to talk about because it’s difficult to pin down,” he says. “There isn’t really one song that you can call the main theme because Final Fantasy XVI is a game about all of these very important and very standout characters, as well as their Eikons, and the relationship between the Eikons and the characters and their dominants. We view these all as very, very important and we didn’t want to single out just one; we wanted to make them all […] equal in importance.”
Soken says each character has motivations, values, and pasts in FFXVI. He wanted to create something for each of them that fit their personality and would be recognizable to players when that character appears.
“So you could say that we have many different main themes in the game.”
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