Music of Final Fantasy VIII

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The music of the video game Final Fantasy VIII was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all music in the game, was released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in Japan, and by Square EA in North America. A special orchestral arrangement of selected tracks from the game—arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi—was released under the title Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII, and a collection of piano arrangements—performed by Shinko Ogata—was released under the title Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII.

<i>Final Fantasy VIII</i> 1999 role-playing video game

Final Fantasy VIII is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation console. Released in 1999, it is the eighth main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Set on an unnamed fantasy world with science fiction elements, the game follows a group of young mercenaries, led by Squall Leonhart, as they are drawn into a conflict sparked by Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future who wishes to compress time. During the quest to defeat Ultimecia, Squall struggles with his role as leader and develops a romance with one of his comrades, Rinoa Heartilly.

Nobuo Uematsu Japanese video game composer

Nobuo Uematsu is a Japanese video game composer, best known for scoring most of the titles in the Final Fantasy series by Square Enix. He is considered to be one of the most well known composers in the video game industry. Sometimes referred to as the "Beethoven of video games music", he has appeared five times in the top 20 of the annual Classic FM Hall of Fame.

DigiCube Co., Ltd. was a Japanese company established as a subsidiary of software developer Square on February 6, 1996 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The primary purpose of DigiCube was to market and distribute Square products, most notably video games and related merchandise, including toys, books, and music soundtracks. DigiCube served as a wholesaler to distributors, and was noteworthy for pioneering the sale of video games in Japanese convenience stores and vending machine kiosks.

Contents

The game's soundtrack is best known for two tracks: "Liberi Fatali", a Latin choral piece that is played during the introduction to the game, and "Eyes on Me", a pop song serving as the game's theme, performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong. Reviewers were generally pleased with the music, although several cited issues while comparing the score to previous games or looking at individual tracks.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Choir Ensemble of singers

A choir is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans from the medieval era to the present, or popular music repertoire. Most choirs are led by a conductor, who leads the performances with arm and face gestures.

"Eyes on Me" is a pop ballad performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong as a love theme for the video game Final Fantasy VIII. The music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu with English lyrics by Kako Someya.

Creation and influence

Nobuo Uematsu's usual influences include Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Simon and Garfunkel, and Elton John. [1] [2] In regard to Final Fantasy VIII, Uematsu did not prefer to use multiple sources to find MIDI instruments—"I could be coming up with a great melody in the very moment"—instead using a Roland SC-88 synthesizer for the entire score. Uematsu wrote notes based on character designs and screenplays, creating a general picture of the pieces' moods. He could not express a character's emotions solely with plot, instead using images of appearance and attire—"It's important to know when their emotions are at their height, but it usually takes until a month before release for them to finish the ending dialog...!" [3] In response to a question by IGN music stating that the music of Final Fantasy VIII was very dark and perhaps influenced by the plot of the game, Uematsu stated "the atmosphere of music varies depending on story line, of course, but it's also my intention to put various types of music into one game". [2]

Emerson, Lake & Palmer musical group from England

Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) were an English progressive rock supergroup formed in London in 1970. The band consisted of keyboardist Keith Emerson; singer, bassist, guitarist and producer Greg Lake; and drummer and percussionist Carl Palmer. With nine RIAA-certified gold record albums in the US, and an estimated 48 million records sold worldwide, they were one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands in the 1970s, with a musical sound including adaptations of classical music with jazz and symphonic rock elements, dominated by Emerson's flamboyant use of the Hammond organ, Moog synthesizer, and piano.

Elton John English rock singer-songwriter, composer and pianist

Sir Elton Hercules John is an English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums. John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive number-one albums in the United States, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10 singles, four which reached number two and nine which reached number one. His tribute single "Candle in the Wind 1997", rewritten in dedication to Diana, Princess of Wales, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and US singles charts. He has also composed music, produced records, and has occasionally acted in films. John owned Watford F.C. from 1976 to 1987, and 1997 to 2002. He is an honorary Life President of the club, and in 2014 had a stand named after him at the club's home stadium.

MIDI electronic musical instrument industry specification

MIDI is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices for playing, editing and recording music. A single MIDI link through a MIDI cable can carry up to sixteen channels of information, each of which can be routed to a separate device or instrument. This could be sixteen different digital instruments, for example.

Uematsu enjoys writing lyrical pieces, but tries not to be genre-specific. He asserts that expressing the emotions he desires is more important than improving skills: "I think it will be a shame if we won't be able to cry as we play our own game". The absence of character themes was due to him finding those of Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII ineffective. Uematsu considers it reasonable to have character themes if each character has a "highlight" in the game, but he found Final Fantasy VIII only focused on Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly as a couple, resulting in the "Eyes on Me" theme. [3] The soundtrack features a Latin choral track "Liberi Fatali", which translates to "Fated Children"; its melody forms a musical theme heard in several other pieces in the soundtrack, such as "SeeD" and "The Landing", while the name of "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" is the recurring lyrics in "Liberi Fatali". [4]

Squall Leonhart

Squall Leonhart is a fictional character and the primary protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, a role-playing video game by Square. In Final Fantasy VIII, Squall is a 17-year-old student at Balamb Garden, a prestigious military academy for elite mercenaries. He stands 177 cm tall. As the story progresses, Squall befriends Quistis Trepe, Zell Dincht, Selphie Tilmitt, and Irvine Kinneas, and falls in love with Rinoa Heartilly. These relationships, combined with the game's plot, gradually change him from a loner to an open, caring person. Squall has appeared in several other games, including Chocobo Racing, Itadaki Street Special, and the Kingdom Hearts series, as Leon.

Near the end of the production of Final Fantasy VII, the developers suggested to use a singer, but abandoned the idea due to a lack of reasoning based on the game's theme and storyline. [5] However, Nobuo Uematsu thought a ballad would closely relate to the theme and characters of Final Fantasy VIII. This resulted in the game's developers sharing "countless" artists, eventually deciding on Faye Wong, a Chinese vocalist. Uematsu claims "her voice and mood seem to match my image of the song exactly", and that her ethnicity "fits the international image of Final Fantasy". After negotiations were made, "Eyes on Me" was recorded in Hong Kong with an orchestra. [3]

Faye Wong Chinese singer-songwriter and actress

Faye Wong is a Chinese singer-songwriter and actress, often referred to as "the Diva" in the Chinese-speaking world. Early in her career she briefly used the stage name Shirley Wong. Born in Beijing, she moved to British Hong Kong in 1987 and came to public attention in the early 1990s by singing in Cantonese, often combining alternative music with mainstream Chinese pop. Since 1997 she has recorded mostly in her native Mandarin. In 2000 she was recognised by Guinness World Records as the Best Selling Canto-Pop Female. Following her second marriage in 2005 she withdrew from the limelight, but returned to the stage in 2010 amidst immense interest.

Chinese people ethnic group

Chinese people are the various individuals or ethnic groups associated with China, usually through ancestry, ethnicity, nationality, citizenship or other affiliation. Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in China, at about 92% of the population, are often referred to as "Chinese" or "ethnic Chinese" in English, however there are dozens of other related and unrelated ethnic groups in China.

Hong Kong East Asian city

Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and commonly abbreviated as HK, is a special administrative region of China on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth-most densely populated region.

Albums

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Released
March 1, 1999
January 2000 (Music Collection)
May 10, 2004 (reissue)
Recorded Sound City, Tokyo
Length62:07(disc one)
62:31 (disc two)
63:38 (disc three)
61:14 (disc four)
Label
DigiCube
Square EA (Music Collection)
Square Enix (reissue)
Producer Nobuo Uematsu

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack is a soundtrack of the music from Final Fantasy VIII; composed and produced by Nobuo Uematsu. The soundtrack spans four discs and 74 tracks, covering a duration of 4 hours and 9 minutes. It was first published by DigiCube on March 10, 1999 with the catalog number SSCX-10028, and subsequently published by Square Enix on May 10, 2004 with the catalog numbers SQEX-10005~8. Unlike most other Final Fantasy soundtracks, Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack is composed completely of English track names. [6] The album was also released in North America under the title Final Fantasy VIII Music Collection: Music From The Final Fantasy VIII Video Game. It features changes such as packaging design, translation, and additional images. [7] In addition, a limited edition was produced, which has a beige background instead of a full motion video montage. [4]

Square Enix Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling over 115 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

A full motion video (FMV) is a video game narration technique that relies upon pre-recorded video files to display action in the game. While many games feature FMVs as a way to present information during cutscenes, games that are primarily presented through FMVs are referred to as full-motion video games or interactive movies.

The soundtrack reached #4 on the Japan Oricon charts, selling over 300,000 copies. [8] [9] It received generally positive reviews from critics; New Zealand PlayStation magazine claimed Final Fantasy VIII has "one of the most memorable scores you will ever hear". [10] Reviewers from multimedia news website IGN stated that much of the game's impact is owed to its "terrific" musical score, but were disappointed by "yet another" variation of the traditional battle theme. [11] IGN later named the Final Fantasy VIII soundtrack as fourth best in its Final Fantasy Soundtrack Countdown feature. [12] GameSpot considered the game's sound its weakest point, but still commended it, claiming it has "more 'quality' songs than Final Fantasy VII ". [13] Lastly, Game Revolution stated that "there are only a few tracks that really stand out", including "Eyes on Me", which it deemed a "cliched, but beautiful love song". [14]

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack has sold "more than 300,000 copies" in Japan according to Square, or 259,000 physical copies according to the independent chart company Oricon. [15] [16] Adam Corn of SoundtrackCentral.com claimed the album shows similarities to previous Final Fantasy games, but asserted he was "not overly impressed with this one". [17] A reviewer from Square Enix Music Online claimed the soundtrack is "unique and very special" due to its contrasts—"When signs of age of the Final Fantasy franchise are shown", Uematsu counterbalances this by creating something "weird and wonderful[...] when the soundtrack becomes too serious, a light-hearted number is inserted to liven up the mood". [18] Ben Schweitzer of RPGFan said in his review of the album that "the main flavor of Uematsu's compositions, his melodic style, remains consistent, and more importantly, consistently good". He criticized, however, the more minimalist pieces, which in his opinion were bland. [4]

Track listing

Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII

Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedNovember 19, 1999
July 22, 2004
Length1:04:12
Label DigiCube
Square Enix (reissue)

Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII is a collection of orchestrated pieces originally from Final Fantasy VIII, arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi. It also includes three unchanged tracks from Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack; "Liberi Fatali", "Eyes on Me", and "Ending Theme". The album spans 13 tracks, totaling 1:04:12. It was first published on November 19, 1999 by DigiCube with the catalog number SSCX-10037, and subsequently published on July 22, 2004 by Square Enix with the catalog number SQEX-10025. [19]

The album reached #59 on the Japan Oricon charts, selling 7,540 copies. [20] [21] Adam Corn of SoundtrackCentral.com claimed "the superior instrumental quality, well-done arrangements, and tasteful selection of themes boost the [Original Soundtrack's] qualities while hiding its flaws", elaborating that "even people such as myself who are not fans of the original will be impressed by its prowess, and fans will simply be enamored". [22] Neal Chandran of RPGFan was similarly impressed, saying that it was "a very good soundtrack" and that its tracks sounded "more beautiful than the original version". His primary complaint was that he would have liked for the album to include more pieces. [19]

Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII

Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJanuary 21, 2000
July 22, 2004
Length48:03
Label DigiCube
Square Enix (reissue)

Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII is an album of piano arrangements from Final Fantasy VIII, arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi and performed by Shinko Ogata. Its 13 tracks span a duration of 48:03. It was published by DigiCube on January 21, 2000 with the catalog number SSCX-10041 and subsequently re-published by Square Enix on July 22, 2004 with the catalog number SQEX-10026. [23]

Robert Steen of SoundtrackCentral.com commended the performance, claiming "Shinko Ogata seems to be a very capable player" and noted that although the arrangements are similar to the original pieces, they "breathe new life into the songs". [24] Ryan Bradley of RPGFan also appreciated the album, saying that "the piano really brings out the emotion in some of the songs" and that the pieces transitioned smoothly to piano. Patrick Gann agreed, saying that it was one of his favorite albums and that Hamaguchi's arrangements were "wonderful". [23]

Eyes on Me

"Eyes on Me"
Single by Faye Wong
ReleasedFebruary 24, 1999
Format CD
Genre Pop
Label Toshiba-EMI
Songwriter(s) Kako Someya (lyrics)
Nobuo Uematsu (music)

"Eyes on Me" is the ballad that serves as the theme of the game Final Fantasy VIII. It was performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong and composed, like the rest of the game music, by Nobuo Uematsu. The song's lyrics, written in somewhat imperfect English by Kako Someya, unveil the hopes of a night club singer for romance with a member of her audience. It was released as a CD single in Japan, including an instrumental version and Wong's ballad "Red Bean". The song sold more than 500,000 copies, [21] placing it as the highest-selling video game music disc ever released in that country at the time. "Eyes on Me" was the first song in video game history to win an award at the 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards, where it won "Song of the Year (Western Music)" in 1999. [1] The single reached #9 on the Oricon charts, and stayed on the charts for 20 weeks. [25]

Within the game, the song is written by Julia Heartilly, a pianist who is the love interest of Laguna Loire. [26] It is heard repeatedly throughout the game in various incarnations, including as an instrumental piece entitled Julia, as well as in "Waltz for the Moon" and "Love Grows" for the "love" scenes between Squall Leonheart and Rinoa Heartlily. [4] [27]

A dance remix of the song was included on the Japanese release of Wong's 2000 album Fable . Remixes also appeared in Toshiba EMI's Dancemania series. In 2004, a Japanese-language version entitled "Summer Album"(夏のアルバム,"Natsu no Arubamu") with lyrics by Kazushige Nojima was included on Final Fantasy Song Book: Mahoroba . It was covered by Angela Aki for release on her 2006 single " Kokoro no Senshi ". [28]

Legacy

The music of Final Fantasy VIII has appeared in various official Final Fantasy concerts. These include 2002's 20020220 Music from FINAL FANTASY, in which the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra played "Liberi Fatali", "Don't Be Afraid", "Love Grows", and "The Man with the Machine Gun", the 2004 Tour de Japon series, which featured "The Oath", the Dear Friends series that began that same year and included "Liberi Fatali" and "Love Grows", and the 2005 More Friends concert, which included "Maybe I'm a Lion". [29] [30] [31] [32] More recent concerts include the Voices - Music from Final Fantasy 2006 concert showcasing "Liberi Fatali", "Fisherman's Horizon", and "Eyes on Me" and the international Distant Worlds concert tour that continues to date, which includes "Liberi Fatali", "Fisherman's Horizon", "Man with the Machine Gun", and "Love Grows". [33] [34] Several of these concerts have produced live albums as well. [35] Music from the game has also been played in non Final Fantasy-specific concerts such as the Play! A Video Game Symphony world tour from 2006 onwards, for which Nobuo Uematsu composed the opening fanfare that accompanies each performance. [36] "Eyes on Me" was played at the Fantasy Comes Alive concert in Singapore on April 30, 2010. [37]

Music from the original soundtrack has been arranged for the piano and published by DOREMI Music Publishing. [38] All of the pieces in the book have been rewritten by Asako Niwa as beginning to intermediate-level piano solos, though they are meant to sound as much like the originals as possible. [39] "Best of" collections from the series including Final Fantasy VIII and arrangements for guitar solos and piano duets are also available. [40] Additionally, the actual piano sheet music from the Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII album has been published as a corresponding music book by Yamaha Music Media. The book contains the original music, exactly as arranged and performed on the albums. Unlike the Original Score arrangements, these pieces are intended only for advanced players as they are generally more difficult. [41]

The Black Mages, a band that arranges music from Final Fantasy video games into a rock music style, has arranged five pieces from Final Fantasy VIII. These are "Force Your Way" from The Black Mages, published in 2003, "The Man with the Machine Gun" and "Maybe I'm a Lion", from The Black Mages II: The Skies Above, published in 2004, and "The Extreme" and "Premonition" from The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight. [42] [43] [44] The Black Mages performed "Maybe I'm a Lion" at the Extra: Hyper Game Music Event 2007 concert in Tokyo on July 7, 2007. [45] In the 2004 Summer Olympics, the American synchronized swimming duo consisting of Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova were awarded the bronze medal for their performance to the pieces "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" and "Liberi Fatali". [46]

See also

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The music of the video game Final Fantasy IX was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. It was his last exclusive Final Fantasy score. The Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all music in the game, was originally released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in 2000, and was re-released by Square Enix in 2004. A Best Of and arranged soundtrack album of musical tracks from the game entitled Final Fantasy IX: Uematsu's Best Selection was released in 2000 by Tokyopop Soundtrax. Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack PLUS, an album of music from the game's full motion videos and extra tracks, was released by DigiCube in 2000 and re-released in 2004, and a collection of piano arrangements of pieces from the original soundtrack arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi and performed by Louis Leerink was released as Piano Collections Final Fantasy IX in 2001.

The music of the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI was composed by Naoshi Mizuta along with regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu and Kumi Tanioka. The Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by DigiCube in 2002, and subsequently re-released by Square Enix in 2004. Final Fantasy XI Rise of the Zilart Original Soundtrack was released by DigiCube in 2003 after the release of the Rise of the Zilart expansion for Final Fantasy XI, and re-released by Square Enix in 2004. Final Fantasy XI Chains of Promathia Original Soundtrack was produced by Square Enix in 2004 after the release of the Chains of Promathia expansion, and in 2005 Square Enix published Music from the Other Side of Vana'diel, a collection of arranged tracks from the game performed by The Star Onions, a group composed of Square Enix composers including Naoshi Mizuta, Kumi Tanioka and Hidenori Iwasaki. Final Fantasy XI Treasures of Aht Urhgan Original Soundtrack was released by Square Enix in 2006 for the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion.

The Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles video game series consists of Crystal Chronicles, a spin-off of the main Final Fantasy series, its sequels My Life as a King and My Life as a Darklord, and their spin-offs, Ring of Fates, Echoes of Time and The Crystal Bearers. Crystal Chronicles, Ring of Fates, and Echoes of Time have had released soundtrack albums to date, and Crystal Chronicles and Ring of Fates each have an associated single. Kumi Tanioka is the main composer for the series, having composed the three released soundtracks as well as the music for My Life as a King and My Life as a Darklord. Hidenori Iwasaki is filling that role for The Crystal Bearers. Nobuo Uematsu, the main composer for the regular Final Fantasy series, contributed one track to the Ring of Fates soundtrack. Yae and Donna Burke sang the Japanese and English versions of the theme song for Crystal Chronicles, respectively, while Aiko sang the theme song for Ring of Fates.

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi and owned by Square Enix that includes video games, motion pictures, and other merchandise. The original Final Fantasy video game, published in 1987, is a role-playing video game developed by Square, spawning a video game series that became the central focus of the franchise. The primary composer of music for the main series was Nobuo Uematsu, who single-handedly composed the soundtracks for the first nine games, as well as directing the production of many of the soundtrack albums. Music for the spin-off series and main series games beginning with Final Fantasy X was created by a variety of composers including Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, Hitoshi Sakimoto, and Kumi Tanioka, as well as many others.

<i>Symphonic Odysseys</i> live album

Symphonic Odysseys: Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu was a symphonic tribute concert held in Cologne, Germany on July 9, 2011 at the Cologne Philharmonic Hall. The concert exclusively paid homage to the work of Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu and featured music selected from his works as a video game music composer. Among the games featured were Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Last Story, King's Knight, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy Legend, and selected works from the Final Fantasy series. The concert was produced and directed by Thomas Böcker, with arrangements provided by Finnish composer and musician Jonne Valtonen, along with Roger Wanamo, Masashi Hamauzu, and Jani Laaksonen. The concert was performed by the WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln and the WDR Radio Choir Cologne under conduction from Arnie Roth, with guest performers Benyamin Nuss and Juraj Čižmarovič joining the orchestra. A video recording of Symphonic Odysseys was streamed live online.

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.

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