Yoko Shimomura has worked with Square Enix on quite a few different projects, including the Kingdom Hearts series, but Final Fantasy XV is the composer’s first Final Fantasy game. In a new post on the PlayStation Blog, Shimomura reflects on her 10-year journey of making the music for XV, including some of the ways she tries to link gameplay and music.
Shimomura started composing music for the game 10 years ago, back when it was still Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Her first song, called “Somnus,” is actually still featured prominently in the game. The composer feels like she’s almost worked on two projects because of the shift to Final Fantasy XV, but she tells the PS Blog that this fact wasn’t daunting.
“Had the development started as XV, I would probably have felt a lot more pressure from the beginning, but when this shift happened I had already worked on the project for a while, made a number of songs and had a clear idea of the concept and direction that I wanted to go with for the score. It made it a lot easier for me to continue doing that.”
Final Fantasy XV involves very specific themes like brotherhood and emotional realism, something that Shimomura says she tries to properly convey through the music. It wasn’t easy as she describes, because music is an abstract art form,
“I really felt like I was better suited to approaching it by looking at the world of Final Fantasy XV, and I created what I felt fitted with each individual aspect. This is how the bond between comrades is presented in XV, with music that I felt suited that theme.
For the battles, I pictured music suited for battles and then specific visions with the scenery. I tried to get the best music to fit with each individual aspect rather than thinking about the bigger abstract concepts.”
Shimomura elaborates even more on how she ties music to gameplay, by talking about specific trigger points in battle. For example, when you’re dealing the final blow to an enemy in battle, the music needs to be able to cut away at the exact point you land that blow. As she describes it, there are a number of points where the music needs to adapt to gameplay,
“There certainly are a number of ways with which we tie the music into the gameplay, as well as certain conditions that govern the changes in the music. For example, with the day-night cycle we’ve got music changes covering early morning, day, mid-day, evenings, and nights.”
Final Fantasy XV launches on November 29, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can head over to the PS Blog to see the full interview with Yoko Shimomura. You can see the latest story-filled trailer for the game from Tokyo Game Show right here, and also check out some of our thoughts on the anime, Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV.
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