Music of Final Fantasy XIII
The music of the video game Final Fantasy XIII was composed by Masashi Hamauzu. Former regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu did not contribute any pieces to the soundtrack, making it the first Final Fantasy game to not include his work. Music from the game has been released in several albums. The main soundtrack album, Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack, was released on four Compact Discs in 2010 by Square Enix, the developers and producers of the game. Selections from the soundtrack have been released on two gramophone record albums, W/F: Music from Final Fantasy XIII and W/F: Music from Final Fantasy XIII Gentle Reveries, both in 2010 by Square Enix. An album of arranged pieces from the soundtrack, Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack -PLUS-, was also released by Square Enix in 2010, as was an album of piano arrangements, Piano Collection Final Fantasy XIII. The theme song for the Japanese version of the game, "Kimi ga Iru Kara" (君がいるから "Because You're Here" ), was released as a single by For Life Music in 2009.
The soundtrack received good reviews from critics, who felt that it was Hamauzu's best work to date and an excellent mix of material and genres which took the series' music in a new direction. The "Plus" album received weaker reviews, primarily due to its perceived lack of tracks that were significantly different from those in the original soundtrack album, while "Kimi ga Iru Kara" was considered bland and disappointing. Music from the game was played at a live orchestral concert in Stockholm, Sweden, and was added to the permanent rotation of the international Distant Worlds concert series.
Creation and influence[edit | edit source]
Masashi Hamauzu composed the game's soundtrack. His previous work on the series was as a co-composer for Final Fantasy X and as the main composer for Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. The game was the first main-series Final Fantasy game to not include any compositions by original series composer Nobuo Uematsu; although he was originally announced to compose the main theme of the game, this role was taken over by Hamauzu after Uematsu signed on to compose the soundtrack to Final Fantasy XIV. Game producer Yoshinori Kitase chose Hamauzu because he felt that Hamauzu would be the best for the job as he was composing an orchestral-based soundtrack then for Dirge of Cerberus and the Final Fantasy XIII team wanted that style for the game. Hamauzu described the soundtrack in the liner notes for the soundtrack album as comprising multiple genres of music so that the player would not get tired of it, while also using several motifs so as to tie the varying pieces together. He tried to match each piece and theme to his sense of the narrative and characters involved in the scenes that they would be played in, and feels that being the sole composer for the project allowed him to ensure that the overall direction of the soundtrack was consistent. Besides some pieces he did for promotional events in 2006 and 2007, Hamauzu began composing the soundtrack in Autumn 2008 and finished it around one year later. When he began the bulk of the composition, he started by composing the motifs he wanted to use, rather than any particular piece.
The score features some recordings by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, arranged by Yoshihisa Hirano, Toshiyuki Oomori and Kunihito Shiina. Five songs in the soundtrack include vocals by Mina Sakai, an artist whom Hamauzu works as a producer for. The theme song for the international version of the game is "My Hands," from British singer Leona Lewis' second album Echo; it was chosen to replace Final Fantasy XIII's original theme song from the Japanese version, "Kimi ga Iru Kara" by Sayuri Sugawara. Square Enix President Yoichi Wada has stated that it would have been better if the American branch of the company had produced a theme song from scratch, but the lack of staff led to the decision of licensing an existing song instead. Hamauzu, who composed the music for "Kimi ga Iru Kara", only met Sugawara once, and was not involved in producing the vocal song.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
|Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack by Masashi Hamauzu|
|Released||January 27, 2010|
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
Disk 1: 49:27|
Disk 2: 55:50
Disk 3: 1:03:28
Disk 4: 1:15:21
Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack album of Final Fantasy XIII, containing all of the musical tracks from the game, and was composed and produced by Masashi Hamauzu. The soundtrack spans four discs and 85 tracks, covering a duration of 4:04:06. It was released on January 27, 2010 in Japan by Square Enix, bearing the catalog numbers SQEX-10183~6. The limited edition of the soundtrack included a bonus disc containing a radio drama written by scenario writer Motomu Toriyama. The album sold 16,000 copies the day of its release. It reached #3 on the Japanese Oricon charts, and remained on the charts for nine weeks. The soundtrack incorporates both orchestral and electronic music, sometimes within the same track. Almost two dozen of the tracks include vocal performances to some degree, the most of any Final Fantasy soundtrack to date. It does not include many of the mainstay tracks from previous games in the series such as Uematsu's "Prelude" and "Main Theme", and its variation on his "Chocobo", the only repeat track, is so different as to not credit him as the original composer in the album.
In addition to the full soundtrack CD release, two gramophone record albums have been released by Square Enix, each including a selection of songs from the full soundtrack. The first of these, W/F: Music from Final Fantasy XIII, was released on February 26, 2010, while the second, W/F： Music from Final Fantasy XIII Gentle Reveries, was released on June 30, 2010. W/F: Music from Final Fantasy XIII is the first vinyl record that Square Enix has ever released. Each album contains eight tracks, four per side. The first album has a total length of 32:06 and a catalog number of SE-M0001, while the second has the catalog number SE-M0002.
The album received good reviews from critics. Patrick Gann of RPGFan called it an "excellent soundtrack" that exceeded his expectations. He applauded Hamuzu's use of motifs and repetition of melodies across different tracks for tying together a widely disparate collection of material, and called the mix of orchestral and electronic pieces as "incredible". He concluded that the work represents Hamauzu's "masterpiece", though some of the tracks do not fit well outside of the context of the scene in the game they represent. Don Kotowski of Square Enix Music Online similarly approved of the soundtrack, also highlighting the repetition of themes as well done. He particularly called out the variance of musical styles used in different tracks, from the "jazz fusion" of "Pulse de Chocobo" to the rock music of "Snow's Theme". The bonus drama CD was critiqued by Gann as "fun for bonus content" if the listener understood Japanese and as having high production values for a drama CD, but he noted that it did not add any real information to the story of the game.
Literal translation of the original titles appear in (brackets) if different
Soundtrack Plus[edit | edit source]
|Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack -PLUS-|
|Soundtrack by Masashi Hamauzu|
|Released||May 26, 2010|
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack -PLUS- is a soundtrack album of Final Fantasy XIII, containing a selection of arrangements of musical tracks from the game. It was composed and produced by Masashi Hamauzu, and arranged by Hamauzu, Ryo Yamazaki, Mitsuto Suzuki, Toshiyuki Oomori, and Yoshihisa Hirano. The single-disc soundtrack contains 16 tracks, covering a duration of 50:10. It was released on May 26, 2010 in Japan by Square Enix, bearing the catalog number SQEX-10192. The tracks in the album include pieces made for early previews of the game, modified versions of songs used in the international version of the game rather than the Japanese version that the original soundtrack album was based on, and early versions or arrangements of pieces that were not used in the game—for example, "Hope_PfNer3" uses a piano while Hamauzu ended up using a guitar for the final piece.
For the unused versions of songs included in this album, Hamauzu re-recorded and produced them to match the quality of the songs that were eventually used in the original soundtrack. The numbers following the "M" in the title of some pieces refer to the version number of the track, which Hamauzu used to keep track of changes made to pieces during their development, occasionally incrementing them by hundreds for major changes. Hamauzu came up with the idea for the album originally because he wanted to release the English version of "Pulse de Chocobo" as a downloadable song; when he started adding in promotional tracks and alternative-version tracks he found that he had enough material to release as a full album. Several of the alternate version tracks appeared in the game during specific scenes, or were cut towards the end of development.
The album reached #70 on the Oricon charts, and remained on the charts for two weeks. It received a lukewarm review from Patrick Gann of RPGFan, who said that while the music included was "beautiful" and a few specific tracks were "pretty cool", "anyone hoping for a proper arrangement of this music will be sorely disappointed". He claimed that there was not much difference between many of the alternate versions of songs and their final versions in the original soundtrack, which meant that in his opinion owners of the original soundtrack would not get much out of the "Plus" album. Jayson Napolitano of Original Sound Version gave a similar review for the album; he felt that while it included several interesting pieces that could not be found elsewhere, it was in his opinion more of a collector's item than a stand-alone album and likely not worth the cost for most listeners.
Piano Collections[edit | edit source]
|Piano Collections Final Fantasy XIII|
|Soundtrack by Masashi Hamauzu|
|Released||July 21, 2010|
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
Piano Collections Final Fantasy XIII is a soundtrack album of Final Fantasy XIII, containing a selection of piano arrangements of musical tracks from the game. It was composed and arranged by Masashi Hamauzu, and the pieces were performed by Aki Kuroda. The single-disc soundtrack contains 10 tracks, covering a duration of 45:09. It was released on July 21, 2010 in Japan by Square Enix, bearing the catalog number SQEX-10196. Chris Greening of Square Enix Music Online reviewed the album as "a sophisticated piano collection" that was enjoayable to listen to, though he noted that the arrangements were "straightforward" rather than ambitious. Jayson Napolitano of Original Sound Version gave a similar review for the album; he felt that it was an amazing album that, while not as technically difficult or different enough from the source material for some listeners, was still very beautiful and well-arranged. Gann of RPGFan, however, felt disappointed by the album, calling the arrangements "soul-less" and full of "needless grandiosity". He concluded that the original pieces were too rich and complex to translate well to solo piano arrangements, which left the works without substance as they did not deviate enough from the source material.
"Because You're Here"[edit | edit source]
"Because You're Here" (君がいるから Kimi ga Iru Kara ) is the theme song of the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII. Sung by Sayuri Sugawara, it was composed by Masashi Hamauzu and had its lyrics written by Sugawara and Nakajima Yukino. The English version of the game used a song by Leona Lewis, "My Hands", which was not specially written for the game like the Japanese song. "Because You're Here" was released as a single on December 2, 2009 by For Life Music, and included in addition to the piece five other tracks. These tracks are "Eternal Love", another song written for Final Fantasy XIII, and "Christmas Again", a J-Pop song by Sugawara that incorporates some music from 19th-century composer Franz Liszt. The last three tracks are instrumental versions of these three songs. The single has a length of 30:04, and has the catalog number of FLCF-4311. A special edition of the single includes a bonus DVD, containing a seven-minute video of a compilation of promotional videos for the game.
"Because You're Here" reached #11 on the Japanese Oricon charts, and remained on the charts for 11 weeks. The single received poor reviews from critics. Gann of RPGFan called it "vanilla" and said that the single, especially the headline track, was over-produced and uninteresting. While he did not mind "Eternal Love" as much, he still felt that the CD was his least favorite Final Fantasy theme single. Square Enix Music Online had similar opinions of the release, calling it "bland". They felt that while "Because You're Here" was better than "My Hands", and "Eternal Love" better still, the single was disappointing both in the context of Final Fantasy singles and of Sugawara's previous discography.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
Music from Final Fantasy XIII was performed live in concert at the Distant Worlds II - More Music from Final Fantasy concert in Stockholm, Sweden by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra on June 12, 2010. The concert is part of the Distant Worlds concert series, the latest of several Final Fantasy concert series, and the tracks from Final Fantasy XIII, "The Promise" and "Fang's Theme", have been added to the series' permanent rotation. The official album for the concert does not include those two tracks.
References[edit | edit source]
- Gantayat, Anoop (2006-05-09). E3 2006: FFXIII Staff Check. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-12-15
- Confirmed: Nobuo Uematsu Not On FFXIII. Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved on 2010-06-07
- Nobuo Uematsu :: Discography. Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved on 2010-06-07
- Hamauzu, Masashi; Kitase, Yoshinori; Toriyama, Motomu (2010-01-27). Final Fantasy XIII OST Liner Notes. Square Enix. http://www.squareenixmusic.com/features/liners/ff13.shtml.
- Hamauzu, Masashi (2010-05-09). Masashi Hamauzu: The Sounds of Fantasy. Beauty of Games. Retrieved on 2010-06-14
- Lots More Final Fantasy XIII Music Details. Square Enix Music Online (2009-09-30). Retrieved on 2009-11-08
- Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack Information. Square Enix Music Online (2009-09-30). Retrieved on 2009-11-08
- Kohler, Chris (2009-11-13). "Final Fantasy XIII Gets U.S. Release Date, New Theme Song". Wired. http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2009/11/final-fantasy-xiii-release-date/. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- French, Michael; Fear, Ed (2009-12-16). Final Countdown. Develop. Retrieved on 2010-01-11
- Gann, Patrick (2010-02-12). Final Fantasy XIII OST. RPGFan. Retrieved on 2010-05-31
- 『FF XIII』サウンドトラックが初日TOP3入り. Oricon (2010-01-28). Retrieved on 2010-02-03
- ＦＩＮＡＬ ＦＡＮＴＡＳＹ ＸＩＩＩ Ｏｒｉｇｉｎａｌ Ｓｏｕｎｄｔｒａｃｋ (Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- W/F：Music from Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix. Retrieved on 2010-05-31
- W/F：Music from Final Fantasy XIII -Gentle Reveries-. Square Enix. Retrieved on 2010-05-31
- Kotowski, Don. Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack. Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved on 2010-06-14
- Gann, Patrick (2010-06-05). Final Fantasy XIII OST PLUS. RPGFan. Retrieved on 2010-06-15
- Hamauzu, Masashi (2010-05-21). 『FFXIII』サントラ第2弾、そして退社の真相に迫る浜渦正志氏インタビュー (Japanese). Famitsu. Retrieved on 2010-06-14
- Hamauzu, Masashi (2010-05-26). Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack -PLUS- Liner Notes. Square Enix. http://www.originalsoundversion.com/?p=10496.
- ＦＩＮＡＬ ＦＡＮＴＡＳＹ ＸＩＩＩ Ｏｒｉｇｉｎａｌ Ｓｏｕｎｄｔｒａｃｋ ＰＬＵＳ (Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- Napolitano, Jayson (2010-06-09). Final Fantasy XIII OST PLUS: More… of the Same! (Review). Original Sound Version. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- Greening, Chris (2010-07-21). Final Fantasy XIII Piano Collections. Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved on 2010-07-21
- Napolitano, Jayson (2010-07-21). Masashi Hamauzu Returns: Piano Collections Final Fantasy XIII (Review). Original Sound Version. Retrieved on 2010-07-21
- Gann, Patrick (2010-08-03). Piano Collections Final Fantasy XIII. RPGFan. Retrieved on 2010-08-07
- Gann, Patrick (2009-12-12). Sayuri Sugawara - Because You're Here. RPGFan. Retrieved on 2010-05-31
- 君がいるから (Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- Solarblade. Final Fantasy XIII: Kimi ga Iru Kara - Sayuri Sugawara :: Review by Solarblade. Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved on 2010-06-14
- Final Fantasy XIII Piano Collections Confirmed for July 21. Square Enix Music Online (2010-06-04). Retrieved on 2010-06-09 Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "SEMODW2" defined multiple times with different content
- Program. AWR Music Productions. Retrieved on 2010-05-31
- Distant Worlds II: more music from Final Fantasy. AWR Music Productions. Retrieved on 2010-05-31
[edit | edit source]
- Official Square Enix Final Fantasy music site
- Masashi Hamauzu's official site
- Sayuri Sugawara's official site