Yoko Shimomura Discusses Final Fantasy XV Music and the Creative Process

By Chanse Wareham, 1 year ago
As the release date for Final Fantasy XV draws nearer and nearer, we continue to learn more about the upcoming entry in the long-running RPG series. Today we take a look at the musical score, and the creative process therein.

In a recent interview with PlayStation.Blog (which can be seen in its entirety here) composer Yoko Shimomura discussed her creative process and the score for the game.

Phone Call

Rather than re-iterate the interview word for word, it is worthwhile to cover a few of the big answers she gave.

In regards to the themes present in the music, especially in relation to how Final Fantasy XV is darker than other entries, she had the following to say:

It comes down to how to express realism in music. From my personal perspective, I was brought up with classical music so, to me, that’s very immediate and very real, but I know that it depends on individuals and the kinds of music they are used to. It’s a very difficult thing to pin down.

The other thing with the idea of realism is that it’s an abstract concept. Music itself is abstract; it’s not as solid as other forms of art. Trying to depict something abstract on an abstract medium… well, that’s challenging!

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.

Another interesting question regarded her pressure to provide an outstanding musical score, given the rich history of previous Final Fantasy titles:

It’s very interesting with XV actually because in some ways, it feels like I’ve been asked to do two projects! At the time the game was Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and it wasn’t part of the mainline series. I was on that project from the start, and because it wasn’t a numbered Final Fantasy, I felt like I could approach it a little more freely.

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.
Of course, there are other questions in the interview, which I encourage anyone with an interest in the game to read in full, including some more lighthearted inquiries such as her favorite entry in the series, and favorite song from other games.

Final Fantasy XV is set for a November 29th release on Xbox One.
Chanse Wareham
Written by Chanse Wareham
Chanse has been gaming for a few decades now, and only just recently became a TA Newshound. When not roaming amongst the pages of TrueAchievements, he is usually gaming, reading or otherwise working to learn as much as he can about pretty much anything.