Relax and Reflect – A Fading Summer’s Eve – FINAL FANTASY XV with sheet music
Music of Final Fantasy XV
The music for the video game Final Fantasy XV, developed and published by Square Enix as the fifteenth mainline entry in the Final Fantasy series, was composed primarily by Yoko Shimomura. Having previously worked on the Kingdom Hearts series, among various other titles, Final Fantasy XV was her first project for the series.
Shimomura was brought on board the project in 2006, when it was a spin-off title called Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and stayed in her role during the game’s ten-year development cycle. Her music, based around themes of “friendship” and “filial bonds”, incorporates multiple musical genres, such as orchestral, bossa nova, and American blues. Several tracks, including the main theme “Somnus”, feature Latin lyrics written by the game’s original director Tetsuya Nomura.
Final Fantasy XV was expanded into a multimedia project dubbed the “Final Fantasy XV Universe”, for which other composers were hired; John R. Graham composed the music for the film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, with additional tunes from Shimomura. Yasuhisa Inoue and Susumi Akizuki of Righttrack wrote the music for the original net animation Brotherhood, while a team from the music studio Unique Note, who also worked on the base game, handled the mobile spin-off title Justice Monsters V.
English indie rock band Florence and the Machine collaborated on three songs for the game, including a cover of Ben E. King‘s “Stand by Me“, which acted as one of the two official theme songs. Later contributors to the soundtrack, via downloadable content packs, were Keiichi Okabe, Naoshi Mizuta, Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu, Tadayoshi Makino, and Taku Iwasaki.
Multiple albums have been released containing music from Final Fantasy XV and its spin-off media. Final Fantasy XV Original Soundtrack released in December 2016 in multiple versions, including a four-disc CD release, a Blu-ray release with additional tracks, and a special edition. The standard four-disc release was published internationally in 2017 by Sony Classical Records. The score for Kingsglaive released in September 2016 as a two-disc CD. Other releases include a digital album for Justice Monsters V in September 2016, and limited digital albums for both Kingsglaive and Platinum Demo, a commercial demo acting as a prequel to Final Fantasy XV.
The songs from Florence and the Machine were released in August 2016 as digital singles under the banner title “Songs from Final Fantasy XV“. Reception of the albums was generally positive, with the main soundtrack album and Welch’s tracks reaching high positions on music charts.
The game’s official soundtrack album, Final Fantasy XV Original Soundtrack, released first in Japan on December 21, 2016. The album was produced by Koyo Sonae. The soundtrack came in multiple editions. The standard four-disc CD and one-disc Blu-ray releases featured the entire in-game soundtrack with the exception of “Stand by Me”, coming to ninety tracks of music.
A limited edition featured two Blu-ray discs and a CD; the first Blu-ray featured the full game soundtrack, the second Blu-ray disc held the track selection from the party’s car radio in addition to Welch’s rendition of “Stand by Me”, while the CD featured versions of selected tracks arranged for piano by Yui Morishita and Takuro Iga.
The limited edition also had additional contents, including behind-the-scenes footage concerning the recording of the soundtrack. The piano arrangements were performed by Yui Morishita, a noted Japanese pianist. Selected tracks were also included in a “Special Soundtrack” Blu-ray disc released as part of the Final Fantasy XV Ultimate Collector’s Edition. The four-disc edition, which includes all available tracks from that version, was released internationally by Sony Classical Records in 2017. This version was released in Europe on February 24, and in North America on March 24.
The Blu-ray and CD versions both entered the Oricon charts at #35, remaining in the charts for a further nine weeks. The album was nominated for the 2017 Game Audio Network Guild’s “Best Original Soundtrack Album” award, though it lost to the soundtrack album for Abzû. Samar Farag of RPGFan was highly positive about the album and its mixture of tracks, saying that the shifts in style captured the game’s theme of a road trip, with the exception of the track “Bros on the Road” which he said was “more appropriate in Sonic Adventure 2“.
The rest of the album was generally praised, with the last section’s dark tones and use of leitmotifs from “Somnus”, the environmental track “Valse di Fantastica”, and the character track “Ardyn” earning particular praise. Video Game Music Online’s Lucas Versantvoort gave the album a score of 3/5; while several tracks stood out as being good, he felt there was a lack of cohesive style present in other recent Final Fantasy scores, feeling that it was a lower-quality example of Shimomura’s work than her earlier work on Kingdom Hearts.
He also found the other contributors’ work mixed, and disliked the mixture of different musical styles. Both reviewers praised “Somnus” as the album’s best track; Farag said he could “easily call “Somnus” one of Shimomura’s greatest songs”, while Versantvoort felt that it was underused in the soundtrack as a whole.
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