Music of Final Fantasy XII

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The music of the video game Final Fantasy XII was composed primarily by Hitoshi Sakimoto. Additional music was provided by Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo, who also orchestrated the opening and ending themes. Former regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu's only work for this game was "Kiss Me Good-Bye", the theme song sung by Angela Aki. The Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack was released on four Compact Discs in 2006 by Aniplex. A sampling of tracks from the soundtrack was released as an album entitled Selections from Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack, and was released in 2006 by Tofu Records. Additionally, a promotional digital album titled The Best of Final Fantasy XII was released on the Japanese localization of iTunes for download only in 2006. "Kiss Me Good-Bye" was released by Epic Records as a single in 2006, and Symphonic Poem "Hope", the complete music from the game's end credits, was released by Hats Unlimited in 2006. An abridged version of the latter piece, which originally accompanied a promotional video for the game, was included in the official soundtrack album. An album of piano arrangements, titled Piano Collections Final Fantasy XII, was released by Square Enix in 2012.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

<i>Final Fantasy XII</i> video game

Final Fantasy XII is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2 home video console. A part of the Final Fantasy series, the game was released in 2006. It introduced several innovations to the series: an open world, a seamless battle system, a controllable camera, a customizable "gambit" system, which lets the player control the artificial intelligence (AI) of characters in battle, a "license" system, which determines what abilities and equipment can be used by characters, and a hunting side quest, which allows the player to find and defeat increasingly difficult monsters in the game's open world. Final Fantasy XII also includes elements from previous games in the series, such as Chocobos and Moogles.

Hitoshi Sakimoto Japanese composer

Hitoshi Sakimoto is a Japanese video game music composer and arranger. He is best known for scoring Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII, though he has composed soundtracks for over 80 other games. He began playing music and video games in elementary school, and began composing video game music for money by the time he was 16. Sakimoto's professional career began a few years later in 1988 when he started composing music professionally as a freelancer, as well as programming sound drivers for games. Five years and 40 games later, he achieved his first mainstream success with the score to Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. In 1997, he joined Square and composed for his first international success, the score to Final Fantasy Tactics.

Contents

The soundtrack received mixed reviews from critics; while several felt that it was an excellent album, others disagreed, finding it to be a good soundtrack but lacking in substance. Common complaints about the album were the large number of filler tracks, which seemed to be uninspired and hurt the soundtrack as a whole. However, several reviewers commented on "Kiss Me Good-bye", finding it to be one of the soundtrack's strongest areas. The singles for the soundtrack were very well received by critics, who found them to be very enjoyable but short in duration, and the piano album was considered by reviewers to be one of the best in the series. The game's soundtrack was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for Best Original Score.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image in the United Kingdom. In addition to its annual awards ceremonies, BAFTA has an international programme of learning events and initiatives offering access to talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Creation and influence

Hitoshi Sakimoto was the lead composer of Final Fantasy XII Hitoshi Sakimoto.jpg
Hitoshi Sakimoto was the lead composer of Final Fantasy XII

Hitoshi Sakimoto composed most of the game's soundtrack; Nobuo Uematsu, following his departure from Square Enix in 2004, only contributed the theme song, "Kiss Me Good-Bye", sung by Angela Aki. [1] Uematsu noted that Aki's style of playing the keyboard while singing reminded him of his childhood idol, Elton John, which was one of the reasons he chose her. [2] Aki was approached for the role three years before the release of the game. [3] She based her words for the song on "a scene of a new journey after good-bye", which was the sense she had gotten from Uematsu's melody, and was encouraged by Uematsu not to limit herself in her lyrics to what she thought the producers wanted. [3] Sakimoto was brought in to compose the soundtrack to the game by Yasumi Matsuno, the producer of the game, five months before the game was officially announced. [4] Sakimoto experienced difficulty following in Uematsu's footsteps, but he decided to create a unique soundtrack in his own way, although he cites Uematsu as his biggest musical influence. [5] [6]

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.

Kiss Me Good-Bye 2006 single by Angela Aki

"Kiss Me Good-Bye" is the third single by Japanese singer Angela Aki, and is the theme song of Final Fantasy XII. It was written by Aki, composed by Nobuo Uematsu and arranged by Kenichiro Fukui. Although the title version of the single is in Japanese, the version included in the game is sung in English. The single was released on March 15, 2006. The song peaked at number six on the Oricon charts.

Angela Aki Japanese musician

Kiyomi Angela Aki known professionally as Angela Aki, is a pop singer, songwriter and pianist born in Itano, Tokushima, Japan to an Italian American mother and a Japanese father.

Sakimoto did not meet with Uematsu for direction on creating the soundtrack and tried to avoid copying Uematsu's style from previous Final Fantasy soundtracks. However, he did attempt to ensure that his style would mesh with Uematsu's "Kiss Me Good-Bye" and the overall vision of the series. [4] The soundtrack also includes songs composed by Uematsu for previous Final Fantasy games, with new arrangements by Sakimoto. [7] These tracks include "Final Fantasy ~FFXII Version~", "Victory Fanfare ~FFXII Version~", "Chocobo FFXII Arrange Ver. 1", "Chocobo ~FFXII Version~", and "Clash on the Big Bridge ~FFXII Version~". Of these, all but "Clash on the Big Bridge" are recurring pieces used in almost every Final Fantasy game. "Clash on the Big Bridge" plays during the battle with Gilgamesh, as it did in Final Fantasy V . [7] Sakimoto created the music for the game based on the atmosphere of the game and the emotional changes of the characters, rather than the story, so that the music would not be affected by changes in the development of the game. [4] Sakimoto stated in an interview included in a bonus disc of the collector's edition of the game that his favorite pieces from the soundtrack are the "world" themes in the outdoor areas, and that his overall favorite is "The Cerobi Steppe". [5]

<i>Final Fantasy V</i> video game

Final Fantasy V is a medieval-fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1992 as a part of the Final Fantasy series. The game first appeared only in Japan on Nintendo's Super Famicom. It has been ported with minor differences to Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. An original video animation produced in 1994 called Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals serves as a sequel to the events depicted in the game. It was released for the PlayStation Network on April 6, 2011, in Japan. An enhanced port of the game, with new high-resolution graphics and a touch-based interface, was released for iPhone and iPad on March 28, 2013, and for Android on September 25, 2013.

Soundtrack

Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack
Front coverffxiiost.JPG
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 31, 2006
Genre Orchestra, classical, electronic, video game soundtrack
LengthDisk 1: 73:15
Disk 2: 73:18
Disk 3: 73:19
Disk 4: 73:25
Label Aniplex
Producer Hitoshi Sakimoto

Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack album of Final Fantasy XII, containing musical tracks from the game, and was composed and produced by Hitoshi Sakimoto. Additional music was provided by Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo, who also orchestrated the opening and ending themes. [7] The soundtrack spans four discs and 100 tracks, covering a duration of 4:54:34. It was released on May 31, 2006 in Japan by Aniplex, bearing the catalog numbers SVWC-7351~4. The limited edition of the soundtrack included a 28-page booklet featuring artwork for the game and providing information about the soundtrack. [7]

Masaharu Iwata is a Japanese video game composer. After graduating from high school, where his musical projects included composing on a synthesizer and playing in a cover band, he joined Bothtec as a composer. He composed the soundtrack to several games there, beginning with 1987's Bakusou Buggy Ippatsu Yarou, and after the company was merged into Quest, he left to become a freelance composer. His most well-known projects include Ogre Battle, Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy XII, though throughout his career he has composed music for over 65 games. He is one of the founding members of Basiscape, headed by fellow composer Hitoshi Sakimoto and currently one of the largest independent Japanese video game music production companies. His compositions for strategy role-playing games such as the Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics series have been described as "among the most well-recognized in the genre".

Hayato Matsuo is a Japanese video game and anime composer, arranger and orchestrator. He has worked on titles such as Front Mission 3, Final Fantasy XII, the Shenmue series, Magic Knight Rayearth, and Hellsing Ultimate. Inspired by his mother, a piano teacher, he graduated from the music composition department of Tokyo University of the Arts. While in college, he composed for the band G-Clef, and occasionally stood in for members. Upon graduating in 1991, he went to work under Koichi Sugiyama, the composer for the popular Dragon Quest video game series, arranging his pieces for the 1991 anime Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai.

Aniplex Inc. is a Japanese anime and music production company owned by Sony Music Entertainment Japan and established in September 1995. Aniplex has been involved in the planning, production and distribution of several anime series, such as Fullmetal Alchemist, Fate, Sword Art Online, Birdy the Mighty, Angel Beats!, Rurouni Kenshin, Charlotte, and more. Additionally, Aniplex produces and distributes music and soundtrack records, including the original soundtracks for all of Sony Computer Entertainment's computer and video games.

An album entitled Selections from Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack was released on October 31, 2006 by Tofu Records containing 31 tracks from the full Final Fantasy XII soundtrack. The tracks were the same versions as on the full soundtrack, although some tracks that repeated were cut shorter. The album covers a duration of 73:23 and has a catalog number of TOF-033. [8] Additionally, a promotional digital album titled The Best of Final Fantasy XII was released on the Japanese localization of iTunes for download only on March 15, 2006. The album contains 11 tracks handpicked by Hitoshi Sakimoto, including versions of "Theme of Final Fantasy XII" and "Chocobo FFXII Arrange Ver. 1" that were ultimately not used in the game. [9]

iTunes media player and library software

iTunes is a media player, media library, Internet radio broadcaster, and mobile device management application developed by Apple Inc. It was announced on January 9, 2001. It is used to play, download, and organize digital multimedia files, including music and video, on personal computers running the macOS and Windows operating systems. Content must be purchased through the iTunes Store, whereas iTunes is the software letting users manage their purchases.

The game's soundtrack was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for Best Original Score. [10] Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack has sold 31,000 copies as of January 2010. [11] It reached #7 on the Japanese Oricon charts, and stayed on the charts for six weeks. [12] The album received mixed reviews from critics. Jared's review from Square Enix Music Online cited that the soundtrack "utilizes ambiance, power, intensity and beauty" and termed the album to be "amazing", though he felt that the lack of melody "hurts this soundtrack" and that some of the tracks were "bare of inspiration". [13] Meghan Sullivan of IGN thought that the composer was "trying too hard to evoke emotion" and that many of the songs were "over-the-top and bombastic", though she did feel that there were certain tracks that "manage[d] to be stirring". She also stated that Uematsu's only work for the soundtrack, "Kiss Me Good-bye", is a "strong end to a surprisingly trite collection". [14] Greg Kasavin of GameSpot, on the other hand, felt that it was a "beautifully composed soundtrack" that sounded "fantastic". [15] Patrick Gann of RPGFan found it to be "a great work", but "somewhat lacking in substance", concluding that he had "a lot of mixed feelings about it", while Ben Schweitzer of RPGFan disagreed, enjoying the soundtrack and finding it to be an "excellent" album, and "better than [he] could have expected". [7]

Track list

Piano album

Piano Collections Final Fantasy XII is an album of piano arrangements of music from the game. The thirteen tracks on the album, totaling 1:01:48 in length, were composed by Sakimoto and arranged and performed by Casey Ormond. The album was released by Square Enix on November 7, 2012 with the catalog number SQEX-10347, and was also published that same day as part of Final Fantasy XII OST & Piano Collections, a pack containing the album and the original soundtrack album with the catalog numbers SQEX-10348~52. [16] [17] A book of sheet music for the album has also been released. [18]

Sakimoto originally heard of Ormond due to an arrangement he had made of "The Skycity of Bhujerba" in 2009, which, after discussion between the two about several other arrangements Ormond made of Sakimoto's work, lead to the two officially working together on Valkyria Chronicles Piano Pieces, an album of piano arrangements for Valkyria Chronicles. [18] The style of arrangements on the Final Fantasy XII album range from classical to a "moody piece with plenty of sultry jazz tones", one of the two pieces located at the end of the album which Ormond had arranged prior to officially beginning the project. [19] Many of the pieces contain an "improvisational" sense, even when not technically jazz-based, and several depart notably from the style of the original works. [18] Ormond based many of the changes in theme or mood of his arrangements off of where the pieces were used in the original game, attempting to highlight the perspectives of different characters or ideas from the scenes they were played in. [18]

The album was well received by reviewers, with Don Kotowski of Square Enix Music Online calling it one of the best Final Fantasy piano arrangement albums, a claim echoed by Derek Heemsbergen of RPGFan. [16] [19] Heemsbergen added that "Ormond shows reverence for Sakimoto's original material while exploring musical ideas in a style all his own" and praised the variety of the music. [16] Kotowski praised both the "variety of moods" covered by the pieces as well as the overall cohesiveness of the album. [19]

The Zodiac Age

Corresponding with the release of a high-definition remaster of the International Zodiac Job System version of Final Fantasy XII, subtitled The Zodiac Age, Square Enix released an album of music from the game. The 102-track album, released digitally and physically on blu-ray on July 19, 2017, contains new compositions and arrangements of the original tracks by Sakimoto. A limited edition of the album included an additional CD of just the arrangements. [20]

Singles

Kiss Me Good-Bye

Kiss Me Good-Bye is the theme song of Final Fantasy XII , and is the third Japanese single by Angela Aki. The only vocal piece in the game, it was set to tunes composed by Nobuo Uematsu, arranged by Kenichiro Fukui and produced by Motoki Matsuoka. The single was released by Epic Records in Japan on March 15, 2006, covering a duration of 19:59 and bearing the catalog number ESCL-2810. A limited edition was also released bearing the catalog number ESCL-2808 featuring a DVD containing the Kiss Me Good-Bye video clip which included both shots of Aki performing the single and clips from the video game. [21] Unlike previous Final Fantasy games, the theme song is sung in English in both the Japanese and North American versions of the game. The version featured on the CD single has a slightly different arrangement and Japanese lyrics; however, the English version that was featured in the game is included as a bonus track. An English version of the single was released as a digital single on May 16, 2006 under the title Kiss Me Good-Bye [EP] in North America through Tofu Records. [22]

"Kiss Me Good-bye" reached #6 on the Oricon charts and remained on the charts for 18 weeks. [23] The release was seen by critics as an excellent single, with Gann feeling that both the Final Fantasy XII and non-game tracks held their weight equally. [21]

Symphonic Poem "Hope"

Symphonic Poem "Hope"(交響詩「希望」,Kōkyōshi "Kibō") is a single released by violinist Taro Hakase and is the full version of the game's ending credits music. The piece has been described as a "mini-symphony" for Final Fantasy XII inspired by the main theme for the game. [24] The single contains five tracks, arranged by Taro Hakase and Yuji Toriyama and produced by Taro Hakase, and features performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A shorter edit blending the first, second and fifth movements of the symphonic poem was used in a promotional video for the game, and appears as a single track in the official soundtrack release. Symphonic Poem "Hope" was released on March 1, 2006 by Hats Unlimited bearing the catalog number HUCD-10015. [24]

Hope was found by critics to be an enjoyable single, though at only 9 minutes long, Gann felt he could have "gotten by without it", although he said that for other listeners, their "collection may not be complete without this little gem". [24] Dave of Square Enix Music Online concurred with that sentiment, saying that "despite the length of the album, it easily grew on" him. [25] "Hope" reached #15 on the Oricon charts and remained on the charts for 16 weeks. [26]

Legacy

"Kiss Me Good-bye" was performed by the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra and Angela Aki for Play! A Video Game Symphony, a worldwide video game music orchestral concert series. [27] The Eminence Symphony Orchestra performed "Victory Fanfare", "Clan Headquarters", and "Penelo's Theme" at the three "Passion" concerts held in Australia and Singapore in December 2006. [28] "Penelo's Theme" was again played at the Fantasy Comes Alive concert in Singapore on April 30, 2010. [29] Selections of music from the game also appear on Japanese remix albums, called dojin music, and on English remixing websites. [30]

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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.

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.

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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