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Chris Mar 2, 2010

SEMO has revealed that Square Enix have axed their sound team.

http://www.squareenixmusic.com/musicnew … m=&ucat=2&

They'll instead adopt the Western approach of outsourcing to external talent rather than relying on internal staff. At present, it's unclear whether the entire sound team is affected or just the six composers (Nakano, Hamauzu, Sekito, Tanioka, Mizuta, Ishimoto). Either way, it's certainly the end of an era and a very sad fate for so many long-term employees.

Your thoughts? Is there still a future for sound teams in general or will this become the general trend?

the_miker Mar 2, 2010 (edited Mar 2, 2010)

I think it might be time to change the name of your site Chris. tongue

Seriously though that's awful news.  If any news story warrants the phrase "the end of an era" that would be it.  Square Enix is making a lot of bad decisions lately it seems.  I don't even enjoy most of their games anymore, aside from the main Final Fantasy series, but even that's not what it used to be.  Long live Squaresoft.  It's good to read that they'll still be relying on Nobuo Uematsu, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yoko Shimomura, and Kenji Ito though.  Uematsu is doing FFXIV and Shimomura is doing FFvsXIII.  I wonder what's in store for Sakimoto and Ito.. interesting. (maybe this?)

Does this mean The Black Mages are done for too?

Herrkotowski Mar 2, 2010

I think it may mean that. I mean, at the recent Vanafest, the new group the "Tokyo BusinessMen" played arrangements of FFXIV music. The members consisted of Nobuo Uematsu, Michio Okamiya (former Black Mage), and Narita Tsutomu (Guin Saga's orchestrator/arranger).

Ashley Winchester Mar 2, 2010

Zane wrote:
Chris wrote:

Your thoughts?

Square Enix can suck it.

Yeah, ever since the merger I'ver become less and less enamored with the company and their games. All they seem to do anymore is find smaller companies to absorb and snack on.

the_miker wrote:

I think it might be time to change the name of your site Chris. tongue

Lol, no offense to Chris but I have to give mike props for that one.

the_miker wrote:

If any news story warrants the phrase "the end of an era" that would be it.P

Agreed, but I personally felt the era was over a long time ago.

the_miker wrote:

Square Enix is making a lot of bad decisions lately it seems.

I don't know if Square Enix made the decision or if the exodus of composers made it for them. Something is obviously up and I can't say I'm surprised, music composers just gave more weapons and sway in today's world than they did 15~20 years ago. Freelancing has grown exponentally.

the_miker wrote:

I don't even enjoy most of their games anymore, aside from the main Final Fantasy series, but even that's not what it used to be.

Yeah, seeing the words "Final Fantasy" doesn't exactly excite me like it once did. Hell, I think the last SE game I bought was Star Ocean: Till the End of Time in 2003, and you can agrue of that was mainly a Enix creation since it was being developed around the time of the meger.

Out of it all, I'm wondering where Sekito will end up.

Chris Mar 2, 2010

Agreed about the name. Alternative suggestions please? wink

The recent exodus is the consequence, not the cause, of the disbandment. Hamauzu, Nakano, Tanioka, et al. left because of the axe. sad

Ashley Winchester Mar 2, 2010 (edited Mar 2, 2010)

Chris wrote:

The recent exodus is the consequence, not the cause, of the disbandment. Hamauzu, Nakano, Tanioka, et al. left because of the axe. sad

Yeah, my bad. I read the story over at SEMO after posting that.

Still, it seems SE's corporate model became more cutthroat after the merger. This has probably been a long time coming. One has to wonder what Konami will do with Michiru Yamane leaving and the new Castlevania (Lords of Shadow) being done by a different developement team - it was a European team right?

Capcom is the company I'm least worried about in this respect however even though I do feel this will become a trend.

Boco Mar 2, 2010

Already posted my thoughts at SEMO so I'll just summarize: I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner and I think it was the right choice. The in-house sound team never seemed like a very good idea to me and SE finally adopting this ancient model makes a lot of sense. I look forward to what these changes will yield.

Cedille Mar 2, 2010

Boco wrote:

The in-house sound team never seemed like a very good idea to me and SE finally adopting this ancient model makes a lot of sense.

Yeah, from the standpoint of cost, having composers paid for spare time is nothing but a waste. Mitsuda said at the eariler stage of a cinematic game composers just had to wait for the materials to come, and SE actually had several underused composers recently.

One possible bad trend is that the distance between the composers and the rest of the team is getting even vaster, which can result in less interactiveness and affect the overall quality.

Idolores Mar 2, 2010

Zane wrote:
Chris wrote:

Your thoughts?

Square Enix can suck it.

This. It isn't even credible to say it's just nostalgia goggles talking when one says Squaresoft was a much different company. The discrepancy definitely exists.

allyourbaseare Mar 2, 2010

Zane wrote:
Chris wrote:

Your thoughts?

Square Enix can suck it.

Bingo.  Now where's my Super Nintendo?

Ramza Mar 2, 2010

Chris wrote:

Agreed about the name. Alternative suggestions please? wink

The recent exodus is the consequence, not the cause, of the disbandment. Hamauzu, Nakano, Tanioka, et al. left because of the axe. sad

Wow, that's interesting that the cause and effect is the way it is. Thanks for the info on this Chris.

As for new name suggestions? "The website formerly known as SEMO."

Totally awesome. Prince is a god of naming conventions.

Smeg Mar 2, 2010

Chris wrote:

Agreed about the name. Alternative suggestions please? wink

Sleazy Uncle Music Online ("SUMO").

GoldfishX Mar 2, 2010

As much as I want to repeat what I've been saying for years (that Square's sound team of the past decade or so pales in comparison to their high point in the 90's), Zane's line of text is much more to the point. We're not losing much here.

Personally, I like the fact that Mizuta and Ishimoto don't have that umbrella of being employed there anymore, as I think very negatively about their contributions to the SE catalogue (and the FF series, inparticular).

rein Mar 2, 2010

These six known casualties were each employed by Square Enix for between 12 to 15 years and have accumulated dozens of scores between them.

Echoing GoldfishX and others, what's most notable about some of these composers is how they haven't distinguished themselves in the many years that they've been at Square Enix.  Nakano deserves better than to be unceremoniously downsized, but the storied institution of Square music composition died long ago.

Wanderer Mar 2, 2010

Those composers need to get out there and write for games that are actually GOOD. I can't even remember what Square Enix's last decent game was. Dragon Quest VIII?

GoldfishX Mar 2, 2010

Wanderer wrote:

Those composers need to get out there and write for games that are actually GOOD.

lol, just a random thought...I'm not the world's biggest Hamauzu fan, but methinks his career would have taken off MUCH earlier if it hadn't been centered around the SaGa series. Usually the music is the best thing about those games. tongue

Cedille Mar 2, 2010

GoldfishX wrote:

Personally, I like the fact that Mizuta and Ishimoto don't have that umbrella of being employed there anymore, as I think very negatively about their contributions to the SE catalogue (and the FF series, inparticular).

Mizuta is still scoring the FF Add-on and I'd be not surprised Ishimoto is called for the next FF/KH spinoff, or perhaps Subarashiki 2!

I'd be curious what if they hadn't stop hiring new graduates. Like BNGI and Falcom, the younger generation would have been brought into the scene and replaced some of these tired veterans, but I know the emphasis of SE was more on the individual than the style.

Chris Mar 8, 2010

Clarifications about the departures:

http://squareenixmusic.com/musicnews2.p … m=&ucat=2&

Seems more like a mutual decision (voluntaries redundancies, I guess) and there are two composers remaining at least for the timebeing. However, a lot of secrecy still shrouds what's happening so I suspect there will be future developments in the story later.

Apologies for misleading initial article. It seemed completely legit given it was confirmed by three very reliable people, but I guess there were a future subtleties after all.

GoldfishX Mar 8, 2010

No apologies needed...Basically it sounds like they made their sound team expendable, so as opposed to being underappreciated by their employers (and limited to a single companies projects), Hamauzu and the others left. That's more plausible than canning them outright, in any case.

Guess Mizuta and Ishimoto are working cheap to stick around. Can't say I blame them. lol

Grassie Mar 9, 2010 (edited Mar 9, 2010)

This is such a weird hobby: To comment on specific alien individuals change of employer would be quite absurd in about any situation. Especially if you consider their work to have no value and their employer to make poor products.

I'm pretty much indifferent to Square Enix in general, but I like a good deal of Hamauzu's music, though I don't like the FFXIII soundtrack too much. I think it would be nice if he managed to become a solo artist, and that should be within reach when he has worked on that game, shouldn't it? I hope so. But if he doesn't manage to make publish more work, then there's a lot of Debussy, Satie and Ravel I haven't listened to yet. And they make good music too, which Hamauzu's is reminiscent of. And yet, there are other French composers like Fauré and Saint-Saëns with the same kind of sensuality, so to say.

If Mizuta continues producing music I never listen to for games I never play, I'll say "good for him". If Loof Lirpa does the same, I'll say "good for him". When Hamauzu makes average music for a game I'll most likely play, I say "good for him", and if Yamaoka starts playing the erhu I'll say "good for him". If the next FF uses licensed music, I hope the licensed music will be good, and that it fits the game. And that should be possible. And I'll say "good for me".

Btw, thanks for your work, Chris. It's very cool that some of you people do free work for the community. smile

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