Features / Weekly Musings

Square Enix Have Destroyed Final Fantasy Tradition

Square Enix Have Destroyed Final Fantasy Tradition

Written by Darryl — 12 Nov 2009

Today is a day of mixed emotions. Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy XIII would be seeing its Western release on the 9th of March, 2010 (good news), but they also announced that pop sensation Leona Lewis would be lending her song 'My Hands' to the Western version as its theme song (bad news).

Why is this bad news? Well, not only is Final Fantasy XIII the first game that Western gamers won't be able to hear any music composed by the legendary Nobuo Uematsu, but it's also the first time that Square Enix have featured licensed music from an artist in a main Final Fantasy game. Uematsu was originally hired to compose the theme tune for Final Fantasy XIII, but decided to hand off the responsibility to Masashi Hamauzu, who composed the rest of the soundtrack. The result was Kimi Ga Iru Kara, which is unlikely to be present in the Western version.

Progression is one thing, but in this case it's not something that many will have wanted. Leona Lewis' inclusion has blatantly been done to try and promote the game in the West, but if she was performing the vocals for a Nobuo Uematsu track, for example, as many have done in the past including Faye Wong and Jade Villalon, then there wouldn't really be much of a problem. The problem is that Leona Lewis is singing her own song which wasn't even written for the game. It's associated with other brands, such as the movie Precious, so there is no connection with Final Fantasy XIII at all, it's not unique.

The music of Final Fantasy is a big deal and it's easily one of the things that put video game music on the map. The fans are very passionate about it, and this move is just another faux pas by Square Enix. It shows that they perhaps undervalued the opinion of their fans because for many, it will seriously devalue the game. The only redeeming thing is that Nobuo Uematsu will at least be composing the score to Final Fantasy XIV, but it's not quite the same.


Darryl was playing Final Fantasy before he was even born - quite a feat! Often very opinionated on the Final Fantasy franchise, you will often find him musing about small details. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.