Nobuo Uematsu, the veteran Final Fantasy composer often referred to as ‘the Beethoven of game music’, could have scored his final soundtrack.
That’s according to long-time collaborator and Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who said that Uematsu indicated their new game, Apple Arcade exclusive Fantasian, could be the famous composer’s last full soundtrack.
Uematsu, who also composed music for Chrono Trigger, Lost Odyssey and The Last Story, will likely stick to contributing individual pieces of music going forwards, due to health issues, Sakaguchi told Mobile Syrup, like how the composer recently contributed music to Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
“Before we approached him to work on Fantasian, he was going through some health issues, and there were concerns if he was going to be able to compose everything or if was it even possible for him to work on this,” said Sakaguchi.
The composer ultimately pulled through to compose Fantasian’s entire 60-piece orchestrated soundtrack, the director said, adding that it may prove to be an important milestone.
“I think he kind of hinted that Fantasian is maybe the last game that he does from end to end in terms of scoring an entire soundtrack,” Sakaguchi said, adding that while Uematsu will likely continue to do individual compositions for games, Fantasian “might be his last record.”
“On a positive note, he poured his heart and soul into [Fantasian],” Sakaguchi said. “For me, when I heard it, it almost made me tear up a little bit, because it was a very big moment in both of our careers.”
Uematsu is a 35-year collaborator of Sakaguchi, with the pair having worked together at Square until the early 2000s, after which they continued to work together via the director’s own studio Mistwalker.
Uematsu’s video game compositions have been performed at numerous concerts over the years, and in 2013 he was inducted into Classic FM’s Hall of Fame.
The pair’s next work, Fantasian, is “coming soon” to Apple Arcade, the iOS subscription service which offers unlimited access to over 100 games for $4.99/£4.99 per month.
The game is described as an exciting, new RPG set against a spectacular backdrop made from over 150 handmade dioramas that blends physical environments and 3D characters.
Speaking in an interview with GQ this week, Sakaguchi said the game was inspired by Final Fantasy VI, the 1994 SNES instalment he produced at Square, which he had replayed around three years ago with his colleagues at developer Mistwalker.
“It reminded me how much I enjoyed the genre,” he said, “and made me realise that, wow, I did a really good job of creating a very wholesome experience back then.
“[Fantasian] was about returning to those origins, and I know technology has changed immensely over the years, but I think there’s still some core values you can extract from an experience like that.”