Some video game soundtracks can not be ignored, they transcend the limits of a single medium and recall recognition for true talent. One individual is recognized by a world of fans for his contributions to creating atmospheres and memories that unite a story in theme and feeling. Nobuo Uematsu is the legend responsible for the majority of the songs in the Final Fantasy series, as well as other everlasting games, such as Chrono Trigger.
A self-taught piano player at the age of twelve, Nobuo began to really develop his passion in music after he graduated college and starting playing in bands as a keyboard player. He learned that he preferred writing music to playing it and became a composer while working at a video rental company. At the time, one of Nobuo’s friends worked at Squaresoft and asked if he was interested in writing music for one of their games. He accepted and excelled as his skills grew with the rest of the company.
Here is a small excerpt of some of the soundtracks Nobuo Uematsu composed for:
- Final Fantasy
- Final Fantasy VI
- Final Fantasy VII
- Final Fantasy X
- Chrono Trigger
- Lost Odyssey
- Blue Dragon
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Project Phoenix
After leaving Square Enix in 2004, Nobuo created his own production company called Smile Please. Two years later he created the music production company Dog Ear Records. Smile Please worked with Square Enix to provide concerts in North America for the performance of the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children compositions. Dog Ear Records publishes video game soundtracks digitally and on disc. A few of the soundtracks the company was responsible for releasing are The Last Story OST and the Lost Odyssey OST
How has this individual inspired the world? His massive list of compositions for Square Enix has graced a generation of gamers and stunned the remainder of the world. His music has appeared on multiple Hall of Fame charts and inspired musicians to re-envision his tracks in a plethora of different manners.
How does a man like Nobuo Uematsu get inspired? Originally, Elton John inspired Nobuo to begin playing the piano. Besides that, simply having a space and concept to write for are necessary components. For example, the intro track to Final Fantasy VII came about after he watched the opening scene with no sound and began working towards something that would compliment the feel of the expression being conveyed. Also, one of the big reasons Nobuo left Square Enix was simply because the company changed their location. He was faced with a long commute to Shinjuku and upon arriving he found the change was too crowded for him to clearly envision the way he felt he needed to.
“I believe that there are still people who believe that game music is something equal to just an effect incorporated into the game, something like a BGM. And therefore this is something that I would like to show that is not true.”
The amount of compositions and skill Nobuo Uematsu has displayed over the years has been enjoyed and played by people of all ages and types; his music transcends boundaries. Finding such a composer so many years ago was one of the luckiest things to happen to Square. Do any of Nobuo Uematsu’s tracks resonate with you? Which ones do, which ones don’t, and which will be remembered by history?
By Garrett Jutte