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Composing Final Fantasy XV Over 10 Years


Music is a powerful form of expression. It has a raw sharpness that can pierce directly into our limbic brain, and, when we hear a song, we are instantly transported back to a good or bad memory of a place, person, or time that had profound impact on us. It could be the closest we ever come to time travel.

Final Fantasy is no stranger to songs that stick with you, and the music can leave a stronger impression than the gameplay itself. Whenever a new Final Fantasy is about to be released, the soundtrack is just as scrutinized as the screenshots. The same battle theme that you will hear for hours, or the quiet theme that plays to signify the deeper, unspoken connection between two characters must convey more emotion than the polygons on screen.

The composer Yoko Shimomura is new to Final Fantasy, but not game soundtracks. She has contributed to songs for Street Fighter II, Front Mission, Breath of Fire, Super Mario RPG, and Kingdom Hearts.

In an interview posted on PlayStation Blog, she talks about her experience in composing the music for Final Fantasy XV. She actually wrote one song, Somnus, 10 years ago when the game was still Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

The interview is short, but she shares some of what she was thinking and choices she made when creating the score. For example, since there a day and night cycle in the game, the music changes at multiple points in the day to reflect the changing time.

If you want to hear a selection of music with more interview questions, please enjoy this video of the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing selected songs at Abbey Road Studios.

Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.

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