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Interview With Nobuo Uematsu

With a number of projects on the go, Square's music director Nobuo Uematsu has been a busy man of late. He surfaced earlier this week, however, in an interview with Famitsu PS2, a branch of the popular Japanese media outlet Famitsu. Several excerpts of the interview were translated by Core Magazine. Of the excerpts, the first dealt with the inclusion of spoken dialogue in the game. Uematsu's take?

"I think the voices of Tidus and Yuna are well done. They'll take the RPG genre to a new level by changing the way music is needed in future RPG's. For example, sometimes melodies will play along with the spoken dialogue, but very quietly. If the music is too loud during these sequences, it would get in the way, so we had to approach the music differently. After all, the spoken dialogue is paramount, so when a character starts talking the background music will automatically decrease volume. Compared to previous games in the series, X has the most spots where there's silence. But it also has the second largest number of songs in a Final Fantasy game."

Uematsu then went on to describe in greater depth some of the deeper elements of the soundtrack of Final Fantasy X:

"I think it sounds more cinematic, but everyone's favorite theme songs such as Chocobo are included. There is a song sung by the characters in Final Fantasy X called 'Song of Prayer.' While the game isn't a musical, everyone sings in videogames for some reason. [laughs..] We ended up doing 10 different arrangements of 'Song of Prayer' alone. Until now, sounds effects were done in monaural, but in 'X' we've switched to stereo and it's very different. Now the effects really add to the atmosphere, and they're key to the story."

Next, Uematsu gushed about the impact Rikki had on some of the songs, as well as the importance of her voice in shaping the game's audio:

"Our manager brought us one of Rikki's albums, and after just one listen, we unanimously decided she was the only singer for us. Rikki really gets Yuna's personality across. Yuna has a theme song in Final Fantasy X, but it's essentially the main melody of the game. The lyrics are still secret, but it's a great song. The scriptwriters got their inspiration from Rikki's singing, so the game flows from her voice."

Finally, he went into detail about how he goes about creating songs, as well as giving his opinion of what Final Fantasy X will sound like:

"At night I setup a synthesizer in my office and worked on the music. At one point I turned out 15 songs in an hour, one of which ended up being the theme song. I'd say I like the main theme the best, followed by the opening theme, and then Puritsu Boru third. Puritsu Boru is a battle song, but it's completely different than traditional Final Fantasy music."

Final Fantasy X is currently slated for a July 2001 release in Japan, followed by a November release in North America. It will be interesting to see how the quality of its soundtrack matches up to previous entries in the series, as Uematsu has been placed under increasingly large workloads with each successive game.


by Andrew Long    
Sources: [Core Magazine]
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