Square Enix Cuts Sound Team

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Square Enix Cuts Sound Team

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Square Enix has reportedly done away with its internal music team, laying off the composers responsible for scores in games including Dissidia, The Last Remnant and Final Fantasy.

The music team was cut for budgetary reasons, according to a report by Square Enix Music Online. Square Enix will now rely primarily on independent composers and production studios to create the scores for their games, similar to the approach taken by many Western developers, which is generally cheaper than maintaining an internal music department. Among those affected by the cuts:

  • Masashi Hamauzu (Final Fantasy XIII, Dirge of Cerberus, SaGa Frontier II)
  • Junya Nakano (Final Fantasy X, Threads of Fate, Musashi: Samurai Legend)
  • Tsuyoshi Sekito (The Last Remnant, Dawn of Mana, Founder of The Black Mages)
  • Naoshi Mizuta (Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Gaiden, Founder of The Star Onions)
  • Kumi Tanioka (Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Chocobo Series, Code Age Commanders)
  • Takeharu Ishimoto (The World Ends With You, Dissidia, Compilation of Final Fantasy VII)

The decision to close down the music team was actually made at the end of 2009 and was responsible for a number of "well-publicized" departures from the company over the past few months. How deep the cuts actually go isn't yet clear but it's rumored that aside from the six principal composers, the layoffs could affect synthesizer operators, sound programmers and other related staff.

Among the contractors the publisher will "rely extensively" on are the studios operated by former Square Enix composers Nobuo Uematsu, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yoko Shimomura, and Kenji Ito. Some of the composers affected by the shutdown, each of whom had been with the company for 12 to 15 years, could also find themselves working in a similar capacity, creating music for Square Enix games as independent musicians.

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At least no one involving Kingdom Hearts 3 was cut.

I'm not surprised. After all their best talent bailed and became independent contractors, who Square-Enix was still hiring and paying, having the internal departments was kind of redundant.

I wouldn't be surprised if half of them end up working with their former colleagues at their independent studios.

Takeharu Ishimoto (The World Ends With You...

*frowny face* I quite enjoyed TWEWY's music.

well i think most of them wil keep working for enix just as outside composers, so they will only be payed while making music and not be on staff

Well that's a bitch ain't it.

Yay outsourcing

that woman from Kingdom Hearts isn't fired, so that's cool.

At first I was saddened by this news, and it's never good news when people get the axe, but then I remembered that it's been a long time since I could point at a Square game and know unerringly that it would have amazing music.

Final Fantasy 4, Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Maaa... godly music that hasn't been touched since.

I was a little worried at first... But if they're going to be working with their old staff... I don't really see much of a problem. Though I'll miss Takeharu Ishimoto and Junya Nakano a little... But I've missed people who left before, so it's all equal.

Huh didn't I read an article on this very site a few months ago about how Square was trumpeting their inhouse music department as being better then "western" developers?

but.. i loved last remnants music..

Eh, I'll live.

A couple of people from Crystal Chronicles got sacked... Pity really, that game had amazing music.

Junya Nakano (Final Fantasy X, Threads of Fate, Musashi: Samurai Legend)

ouch...that's a shame, I rather like musashi, way better than kengo if u asked me. (especially in the music department)

aw well.

Well so long as it has Nobuo I'm not concerned.

balls deep.

Way to get rid of the best part of your games.

Seriously, I want their fucking soundtracks more than the disc to play them.

it begins. their changing shit around because they cant handle the pressure of remaining the same. i've heard that XIII would be the last final fantasy of its type.

Hybridwolf:
Well so long as it has Nobuo I'm not concerned.

Uematsu left them a few years ago and is independent now. He is coming back to do FF14 though as he still enjoys working with SE. They didn't part on bad terms, Nobuo left because he didn't like working in the city.

You're kidding! Square's games had arguably some of the best music in the industry!

It's the Square-Enix garage sale! Everything must GO! Sound teams, game quality, THE LOT!

Nah but seriously this seems like a stupid thing for them to do. Granted it will save money on production cost, but it may end up doing some serious damage to the feel and presentation of some games. Although I do have to admit that them relying more on Nobou Uemetsu does sound good since all my favourite Squaresoft and every Mistwalker games. Only time will tell I suppose.

Seriin:

Hybridwolf:
Well so long as it has Nobuo I'm not concerned.

Uematsu left them a few years ago and is independent now. He is coming back to do FF14 though as he still enjoys working with SE. They didn't part on bad terms, Nobuo left because he didn't like working in the city.

Ah, I know he left, I just want him to make the music. Last J-RPG I played was lost odessy, and say what you want about the game, the music was awesome.

Oh thank god Nobuo Uematsu isn't on that list.

Tsuyoshi Sekito?! NOOOOO!

oh well square has good tastes in music and have had many games with different composers that sounded great so if this means even more variety I welcome it.

Proteus214:
Oh thank god Nobuo Uematsu isn't on that list.

Uh he left square in 2004...

The FFXI and Dissida people are gone...

I am very sad now...

So basicly we still get the same music but junst in another cover ? o.O

They do this in TV a lot. Get rid of departments, then hire them as independent contractors. You get the exact same thing, but you don't have to pay benefits, holidays, etc. Happened to me last year.

Though it's good they're maintaining the status quo, I guess. It just makes the whole thing seem to damned pointless.

"You! You are fired, go away now! Wait, come back, you are hired now! NOT YOU TAKAHASHI! YOU ARE FIRED FOR REAL! Wait Takahashi, you are hired now!"

:[
I love Takeharu Ishimoto! But if they're still working with Uematsu and Shimomura in some way it's not so bad.

keybird:
At least no one involving Kingdom Hearts 3 was cut.

True true.

So they're basically using the same composers, just saving some money? Makes sense to me. So long as they keep using Uematsu and Nakano, I'm happy.

StriderShinryu:
At first I was saddened by this news, and it's never good news when people get the axe, but then I remembered that it's been a long time since I could point at a Square game and know unerringly that it would have amazing music.

Final Fantasy 4, Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Maaa... godly music that hasn't been touched since.

Wow. i can't believe you ninja'd what I was gonna say word for word. XD

I agree. I feel sad these people were cut, but SE still has the REAL AWESOME talent at least.

As a composer I can really say this is not a bad thing and probably even better for the composers. We mostly work on contract, and working independently, we can retain most copyrights to the music we compose rather than it being "property of (production company)." I'm not sure if it's different in Japan, but this is probably a great thing. Plus, they will be able to take on more jobs from different developers and work more.

I wouldn't be surprised if the composers themselves asked for this or had a big hand in it.

This actually seems like a good thing overrall. Their soundtracks will probably stay the same if not get better since it just seems like they won't have their own music department. They could still use the same people those people would just be independent. Them getting cut will probably be tough at first but I'm sure they could be quite successful independently or at least get a job with another company. Junya Nakano's resume: Final Fantasy X soundtrack. Result: fucking hired.

I'm just glad Yoko Shimomura wasn't cut. That woman's a genius.

I doubt such big name composers have troubles getting back on their feet. As long as I can still hear new music from them, I´m fine. What worries me, however, is whether or not there will be further cuts down the line. Hopefully I´m just being pessimistic.

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