Nobuo Uematsu talks FFXII, FFVII Advent Children and Tour
01.11.04 - 1:19 AM

In an interview with Dengeki Online, Square Enix's most famous composer recently covered a variety of topics ranging from his involvement in the soundtracks of Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, his career at Square respectively Square Enix as well as the upcoming Final Fantasy classic music tour in Japan. The six concerts will take place in Yokohama, Tokyo, Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka in March and April. With Taizou Takemoto, a big name in the classical music scene, will serve as conductor for all six performances. Uematsu's role will be less visible, as he is mainly in charge of organizing various aspects of the tour, such as selecting songs and deciding in which order they should be played. Especially the selection of the songs was always troubling him, he admitted. While no specifics are available as of now, he mentioned that at least one track from each (main series) Final Fantasy installment will be performed. There is also a chance that fans might get to hear a song Uematsu has composed for the still unreleased Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

Questioned about his current work at Square Enix, Uematsu, just like character designer and director Tetsuya Nomura in an interview late last year, mentioned he was working on another, yet-to-be announced project apart from the two big titles mentioned above. In regard to Final Fantasy XII's soundtrack, which he is jointly composing with Hitoshi Sakimoto, he mentioned that he was still in the middle of the songwriting. The stage when pictures and music could be played back together has yet to be reached. As far as the score for the CG movie sequel Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is concerned, it will feature three different styles of music: rock, classical and folk music. While he said he would not re-use a lot of material from the original Final Fantasy VII for Advent Children, he was thinking about using it in very few occasions. As an example, he mentioned three of the game's most popular themes (the world map theme, Aeris' Theme and One Winged Angel). Currently he has reached the stage where he was pondering which of the three he should implement in Advent Children and during which scene should this one selected song be played.

Looking back at his career, and in particular the Final Fantasy series, he mentioned he was still in good shape and would continue to devote his time to compose music for Square Enix's flagship series like he has done in the past, well aware of the fact that he won't have a lot of time for doing other interesting projects. He also mentioned the changing nature of the various games, due to staff changes. Final Fantasy began under the direction of Hironobu Sakaguchi, before Yoshinori Kitase took over. While Motomu Toriyama was director of Final Fantasy X-2, Yasumi Matsuno is producing Final Fantasy XII.

Asked about a possible change in the music during the many game soundtracks he has been working on, Uematsu jokingly replied that the mysterious thing that is music always stays the same. When pressed, he admitted that the transition from 16-bit hardware (Nintendo's Super Famicom) to a 32-bit platform (the PlayStation) was a rocky one, since he all of a sudden had to compose a lot of tracks just to cover the CG sequences aurally. Last but not least, he revealed a new album from his rock band The Black Mages would be forthcoming either this summer or fall. Regarding live performances like the one in Tokyo last year, Uematsu said he would like to play live in small locations, preferably in Tokyo and Osaka.

In a final comment regarding Final Fantasy XII and Advent Children, Uematsu spoke of the "Final Fantasy magic" that makes everybody on the development team come up with their last reserves during the last months of development. He described the series as a showcase of each individual staff member's strength.

Chris Winkler