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Role Playing (Games) Media Music

Nobuo Uematsu Splitting With Square Enix 93

FreyarHunter writes "According to Gamespot, Nobuo Uematsu and Square will be separating. Nobuo was the person responsible for the mostly awe-inspiring music for the Final Fantasy games. The report indicates that he will be moving to a company called "Smile Please". While this was first thought to be a rumor it was later announced on Uematsu 's fansite that it is true. He states that it isn't "quitting", but more of a graduation. There are hints in this article saying he will still do work for Square, but at his own pace. The good news is that he still plans to write more music for video games, perform more concerts, and produce the second Black Mages Album."
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Nobuo Uematsu Splitting With Square Enix

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  • I'm glad to hear they're making a second album. I bought the first album, and have to say that most of the music doesn't get old. Of course, it takes a Final Fantasy addict to say that...
  • Say What Now? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:50PM (#10700598)
    I ran the usual suspects (Google, etc.) but I can't find any good info on Black Mages. I mean, WITHOUT it being a video_game_walkthrough.txt.

    So what is this "First Black Mages Album?" Anyone have a link to a site with some samples? I know _I_ love the music, and would be interested in hearing more.

    • Re:Say What Now? (Score:3, Informative)

      by DrEldarion ( 114072 )
      Info. []

      Check WinMX or a similar P2P service for samples.
    • Altpop has a review with RealAudio samples: []
    • Re:Say What Now? (Score:2, Informative)

      by astrokid ( 779104 )
      Couldn't find any samples but:

      Info []
      purchase @ Amazon []
      purchase @ Yesasia []
      Hope this helps
    • It's an excellent disk, definitely worth getting. For the most part the tracks are good though some drag and one is LONG, they're good overall. My only complaint was that my favorite song (FF III(us) battle music) wasn't really turned into anything interesting, just slowed down some. Still reccomend it though, and i'm excited to hear there's a second album coming out
    • It's a CD with mostly-live-performance mixes of various Final Fantasy battle themes. The quality varies, but personall I think that "The Decisive Battle" and "Force Your Way" are enough to make it worthwhile. "Force Your Way" is the main battle theme from FF VIII; it's not the strongest in the original, but the remix is sweet.
    • Re:Say What Now? (Score:5, Informative)

      by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @03:39PM (#10702826) Homepage Journal

      I'm surprised no one's given a link to his (English) homepage [] yet. He's popular enough that Square-Enix's homepage [] contains it as one of nine navigational links on the top of their page! (His Japanese site [] is, not surprisingly, far more up to date.)

      His site includes an English webpage for the Black Mages [] with more information, including two official samples (requires Flash).

      If you're interested in purchasing the disc, I would highly suggest using Froogle []. You can get it for quite a bit cheaper than the $20 people have been linking to.

      Now for my brief review:

      If you aren't into Final Fantasy and Nobuo Uematsu's music, the disc is nothing special. It sounds like "80's synth" music. Most of the music has no meaning unless you can tie it in with the game when it played, so if you haven't played the games that go along with the music it's nothing special. If you are into Final Fantasy music, though, this disc is excellent.

      If you have the complete Final Fantasy soundtrack for every Final Fantasy from I to XI (guilty, excluding X-2), then you should go get this disc. It's worth the money, and you'll enjoy every track. (Except, possibly, Dancing Mad. It's long and practically straight from the game.)

      If not - then it's probably not worth it.

      (Also, there are previews for the second disc on his Japanese site []. Thankfully the site is half-English. :) Note that they're webpage doesn't return proper MIME types for the Windows Media files if you're using Firefox.)

      • by bani ( 467531 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @05:52PM (#10704619)
        reminds me of the vacuous big hair metal bands of the 80's.

        For something different, Machinae Supremacy [] instead. Nothing beats screaming guitars backed by a SID6581...

        Not only that, MS have free downloads in ogg format...
      • If you're interested in purchasing the disc, I would highly suggest using Froogle []. You can get it for quite a bit cheaper than the $20 people have been linking to.

        That's if you're buying a bootleg, I'm assuming? The first Black Mages album-- the real deal Japanese import, mind you-- set me back around $25 (and that was only a slight markup from the exchange rate at the time, too).

        I wouldn't suggest going the Froogle route and check out,, and other reputable sites

        • I got my copy for $15, including shipping. As far as I can tell, it's a 100% legit copy. It could have been an overstock or something, bringing the price down. Prices on merchandise I can verify "normal" prices on seem to be about right from the site I bought from.

          • An overstock seems unlikely. Hmm... I'd recommend you check it out [].

            And that album was one of the last ones released on DigiCube; it should have the DigiCube logo and the price in yen (2,500) on the packaging, along with other little telltale signs. If it's from SM, Ever Anime, or another label, it's definately a bootleg.

  • The games just wont be the same, his music had such a great atmosphere. The music helped me through so much exam revision!
    • FF Tactics, parts of X and X-2 were not done by Uematsu but the atmosphere did not suffer at all. Personally I feel that Tactics was one of the best in the series, and the change in the style of the music went well with the change in game play. Square has shown that they can find good people to continue on with what they've built up, so I doubt there is much to worry about.
      • I went back and played FFIV anf FFVI over the past month or so. I can't imagine the music being done any better than by Nobuo. He won't realle be missed at Squeenix because he's just another casualty. If this were old Square, it'd be huge, but Squeenix doesn't give a damn about quality anymore, so it's no big loss.
  • I remember playing Final Fantasy I as a kid... and I especially remember the music (I still can play it in my head, haven't played in 10 years). I can say the same thing for most early FF games... the music was wonderful, especially when you consider the limited sound capabilities of the original NES.

    Is there a soundtrack of some sort regrouping the most popular FF themes? I find it to be very relaxing...
    • Re:Remembrance (Score:4, Informative)

      by lav-chan ( 815252 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @01:14PM (#10700780)

      There are several albums that 'regroup' the various music, although most of them are arranged or orchestrated.

      '20020220 music from FINAL FANTASY' is a two-disc recording of the February 2002 concert performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. It's got music from all the FF games from the first to the tenth, although the later ones (especially like FF8) get more play time than the earlier ones.

      'Final Fantasy 1987-1994' is a collection of songs taken from various arrange albums (like Celtic Moon and Dear Friends) during that period.

      There are also 'N Generation' and 'S Generation', which are North-American collections of FF songs broken into two periods (the 'N Generation' being the Nintendo period and the 'S Generation' being the Sony one). I think some of the songs on these are arranged, but i'm not sure.

      'FINAL FANTASY SONG BOOK mahoroba' is a vocal album with songs from different Final Fantasy games being sung by Manami Kiyota.

      If Vocal Collections count, there are two or three of those, and, while they're entirely arranged and have added lyrics, they're probably my favourite albums out of all the ones i've mentioned so far. They're pretty rad.

      And then the only other ones i know of are the 'POTION' albums (there's two of them), which i think are just compilations of arranged versions of the most relaxing songs from Final Fantasy.

      • I wish these were easy to find in the UK.
        • They're not particularly easy to find anywhere outside of Asia. The best places, i think, to get them are [] and [], who both ship internationally. AnimeNation [] and [] have video-game music as well, but i'm not sure if they ship internationally, and (at least in the case of GameMusic) they can be a little over-priced.

          There are also places like Yahoo! Japan's auction thing and SoundtrackCentral's Marketplace [], where you can buy them second-hand.

          Be careful buying soundtracks

    • Re:Remembrance (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aash ( 130966 )
      Is there a soundtrack of some sort regrouping the most popular FF themes? I find it to be very relaxing...

      Final Fantasy: The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Perform The Music of Nobuo Uematsu []

      There's also a bunch of other soundtracks for the individual games at Amazon, though they're mostly imports.

      • A word of warning: the album mentioned above sucks. Big time. I wish I had read these [] reviews [] before wasting my money... (and yes, it is the same album - "Perform the Music of Nobuo Uematsu" is "A Musical Tribute" repackaged and with one extra and sucky track).

        You'd be much better with "The N Generation" and "The S Generation" albums - compilations of songs from several arranged japanese albums. They were domestic releases, so finding them at decent prices through eBay is not too hard. Heck, I've seen new
    • Re:Remembrance (Score:2, Interesting)

      by The boojum ( 70419 )
      I know others have mentioned it in this thread, but do have a look at [] and []. Both have some very nice remixes of FF music. (OCRemix even has a remix [] of the FF6 theme in homage to Uematsu from Jeremy Soule, composer for quite a few recent games.) Finally, for the original stuff, I'd suggest having a look at Zophar's Domain []. One of the reasons I still use WinAmp and not iTunes or such is for the SNESAmp [] plugin to play the SNES SPC files.
  • It sounds to me like there's a good chance that some of his music can show up in a wider variety of work now. To me, this can only mean more games with fantastic music. If there's one thing that can add to a game, it's music and the environment it can help create. Seems to be a win-win all around. (I assume it's too late for half-life 2 to get some, eh? 'kidding')
  • I'm still a squaresoft fanboy! Although my fav RPG's were the older ones, like FF3, Secret of Mana, and from Nintendo, Earthbound. Do you Opine?
  • by dostert ( 761476 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:59PM (#10700678)
    Hope this isn't offtopic, but it is on my mind (since I'm listening to it at work). This website: [] posts remixes of classic titles. I especially like the Chronotrigger remixes, but it has A LOT of Final Fantasy remixes as well. Most of them are a big salute to Nubuo Uematsu's original mixes. Hope the people who care enough to read this article enjoy the remixes as much as I do.
  • Have you ever caught yourself humming some of those old games music. For me probally Super Mario bro's for the origonal NES is my most common. And now evertime I hear somone with their Cell phone ringing its like "Guess that game!"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think not. []
  • by gandell ( 827178 )
    I'm no longer a gamer, but I most enjoyed Uematsu's work in the 16 bit gaming era. Unless I'm wrong, he composed the theme to FF3 (FF6 Japan), which is one of the most soulful, beautiful themes I've ever heard in a video game (although my wife insists it's the Zelda theme...shame on her). I guess my question is this: What exactly is Smile, Please? A gaming company?
    • This is so true.

      With Nobuo reduced involvement, Final Fantasy X's soundtrack was considerably worse than the previous games in the series. Fortunately, Final Fantasy XI had a decent soundtrack. I anxiously await the release of Final Fantasy XII, but have many doubts about whether it can carry on the tradition of the great soundtracks that Final Fantasy is known for.
    • He essentially composed every piece of music in games 1-8. I'm not at my own computer right now, so I can't look at the MP3 credits, but I think he started collaborating on 9, and something like a third to a half of the music in FFX wasn't his.
  • Japanese Jobs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @01:29PM (#10700935) Journal
    One thing to note for Japanese jobs - people in Japan do not job jump as much as we do in the US. In Japan - moving around too much (company to company) is bad for the resume. So when someone leaves a company - it tends to be a big deal.
    Ahh FF1 - still my favorite all time...Though FFX is tied or a close second...have yet to play FFX-2, and I won't play FF online due to the monthly membership costs and the fact that they delete your account if you neglect to pay for one month.
    • FF1 and FFX? Good grief man, how does that happen? Now, don't get me wrong... FFX is a far better game than say, FF8 or FF9, both of which aren't half bad on the grand scale of console RPGs. And FFX-2 is even better if you're a member of the target audience. But for the love of buster swords man, get yourself a copy of FFVI and FFVII.
      • lol...I liked six and seven...i couldn't stand 8... 9 is not bad (playing it now - though the side quests can be insane)....
        But the reason I love 1 so much cause it was the first one i played - i really liked it. My friend sat beside me - he had the huge map and would navigate and tell me what to utilize on the monsters - we played this game for hours on end :D
        Maybe it was because i was in junior high and remember it more fondly...obviously todays games are better in graphics/music/story/etc...but still
    • Actually, it's 3 months...but not trying to convince's too much of a time sink as I know first hand:)
    • thy only delete your account on FFXI if you dont pay for THREE (3) months
  • This can only be a good thing. Not only can he do what he wants, now, but he can also still accept work from companies that he wants to do. We still could see more Final Fantasy games with his work, but that's entirely up to him.

    As it is, let the man take a break from the obligatory contractual work for a while and see what happens. He can only get better.
  • by isolationism ( 782170 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @01:43PM (#10701100) Homepage
    ... You can't say there wasn't warning. In the past few games he's been passing off more and more of the music to other artists. The argument that this is so only because the games are becoming bigger isn't particularly true since you've been seeing four-disc Final Fantasy soundtracks since FF VII and three-disc soundtracks before that.

    Frankly, I love Uematsu's work but I'm happy to see him move on to other things and pursue his own interests and goals; I think he's earned the ability to do it. Besides, I see him doing for Square Enix' Final Fantasy music what Amano has been doing all along for their character design: Inspirational pieces from which the main themes are based (particularly those melodies that recur throughout the game, like the Zanarkand theme from FFX or Melodies of Life from FFIX).

    Here's to more "inspired by" or arranged albums like The Black Mages, Pray, Love Will Grow, and Celtic Moon, too (I was disappointed at the offering in this department for Final Fantasy X; maybe now it will come out of the woodwork). It sounds to me like Mr. Uematsu retains some rights -- or still has very good relationships with Square Enix -- to continue re-recording those old works, which suits me plenty fine.

    • Mist Walking (Score:2, Interesting)

      I saw it coming too... Another sign was Sakaguchi leaving Square to create Mist Walker []. Sakaguchi had expressed a desire [] to work with old pal Yoshitaka Amano, so I figured that a collaboration with Uematsu wouldn't that far behind, as well. Uematsu going freelance would give him the possibility to work with Sakaguchi without him burning bridges with Square. Chances are Mist Walker's first project will have Uematsu onboard.

      (and that said, I wouldn't be surprised if Uemeatsu collaborated in Final Fantasy XII
      • Re:Mist Walking (Score:3, Interesting)

        Indeed; in the same vein, another perhaps less-recognised name (but in this humble poster's opinion, that which belongs to a more favourite artist than Nobuo Uematsu) would be Yasunori Mitsuda, most notably of Chrono Cross/Chrono Trigger and Xenogears (and the subsequent Xenosaga) fame (as well as a few little songs here and there, including several in Tobal No. 1).

        As Mr. Mitsuda has shown, you can be a free agent and write music for Tsugunai but still come back to Square Enix should they ever decide to

  • There's a very nice link on the Square Enix USA [] site with information about a concert of Umatsu-san's music held a few months ago on May 10, 2004 in LA. It includes pictures and a review which I found very very informative. It includes a picture of the man himself, and it's nice to match a name to a face.

    For those of you who are more musically inclined, you can actually purchase sheet music of piano scores [] of his work.

  • So that's pretty much it for the old Final Fantasy team. Hironobu Sakaguchi, the director, is no longer with Square-Enix. Yoshitaka Amano, who did the character designs through FFVI, has been doing just logo designs lately. And now Uematsu is leaving. :(
  • His music really brings back memories of being a little kid, they really hit you at the right spot. For as simple as his music really sounds (due to the capabilities of SNES and such), my nerdiness here must admit that our friend is the Mozart of video game music! Even to make those sounds, would be quite difficult, and the sequence them just right would take alot of work. As much as I hate to see him leave Square, I really can't say I have heard much from him since the early Final Fantasy, but I hope he go
  • by Webapprentice ( 608832 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @01:57PM (#10701274)
    Uematsu has basically decided to go freelance.

    Many ex-Square composers are now freelance.

    Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Xenosaga, etc.)

    Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy Tactics, Breath of Fire V, Gradius V, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, etc.)

    Yoko Shiminoura (Legend of Mana, Parasite Eve, Kingom Hearts, etc.)

    Kenji Ito (Romancing Saga, Saga Frontier, etc.)
  • by rfunches ( 800928 ) <> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @02:10PM (#10701450) Homepage
    Over the past few years Uematsu has been "phased out," if you will, from the Final Fantasy series. He didn't do much for FFX (there were two other composers on the game as well) and IIRC had no involvement on FFX-2. Other than the "Memory" song and the harp prelude in FFXI, Uematsu was only listed as producer. For FFXII I don't even think he's involved (please correct me if I'm wrong). He obviously wants to do other projects -- a few years ago, the CD "Phantasmagoria," and now the Black Mages album -- and is probably taking a hint from other high-profile game industry names (composers, producers, the head artistic people) leaving the large corporations like Square Enix and forming their own small, independent companies, and working on a freelance basis. Uematsu gets more time to produce what he wants with his name on it when he wants, and Square Enix still gets their Uematsu music, just on a freelance basis.
  • I don't know how common (or practical) collaborations between composers are in the game industry, but it would be really cool to see a teaming up of Nobuo Uematsu and Akira Yamaoka (of Silent Hill soundtrack fame) on a game soundtrack. Having Uematsu's soulful sounds mixed with Yamaoka's darker, more foreboding work would be perfect for a horror-based RPG.

    Now that I think about it, though, how many horror-based RPGs are there? I can only think of a handful; the Parasite Eve series, which appears to be defu
    • Composers collaborate all the time, but normally they kind of stick with their own kind. (e.g., Square composers will do work together, but it's more rare to see like a Square composer and a Konami composer doing something.) I don't know if that's because of pressure from the company the composers work for or if it's just they're more comfortable with their, um, co-workers, but yeah. I suppose if it's the former, it would be more likely for Uematsu and Yamaoka to get together, but i'm not holding my breath.

    has a roughly 6.3 gB torrent containing all of the final fantasy music for every game, movie, tv show, etc. including the black mages vol. 1

    if anyone is interested.
  • If I recall, this is how LucasArts started sliding too. Their best composer left just as the games started going downhill...
  • If you want good videogame music, you can't pass up Yasunori Mitsuda's work (Xenogears, Xenosaga).
    The review of Xenosaga's music is at
    The CD of that music is at () s_id =4837
    Many feel that Xenogears-Xenosaga is a better Final Fantasy than Final Fantasy is. Xenosaga 2 is due in February and will include Xenosaga 1 player info importing. Xenosaga 3,4 & 5 are planned.
    • Yes, Xenosaga 2 is due in February, but the music isn't being done by Mitsuda. Yuki Kajiura (.hack//SIGN, Noir, Aquarian Age) took over for the latest one, and from what I've heard (the movie OST is already out), it's pretty damn excellent. Mitsuda also did the Chrono Series music (minus a few songs in Chrono Trigger that are a Uematsu done)
  • by Chuu ( 307073 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @06:06PM (#10704785)
    Like many around here, I have stacks and stacks of RPG's that I've played through (and still playing, just picked up Dragon Quarter) through my life, but I just cannot understand why people put this guy on a pedestal. While a lot of his music is good, a lot of it is essentially elevator music. Also, have you heard some of the stuff that he has put out seperate from video games? I once gave a listen to his album 'Phantasmagoria,' and it was quite awful . . .

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel