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Masashi Hamauzu talks about his work on Final Fantasy VII Remake with Famitsu

Masashi Hamauzu talks about his work on Final Fantasy VII Remake with Famitsu

Written by Brayden — 25 May 2020

Famitsu has continued their interview series with people involved in the making of the music for Final Fantasy VII Remake and in one recent installment they spoke to one of the lead composers of the game in Masashi Hamauzu.

In it he talks about joining the project, working with other composers and the amount of tracks.

You can read it below in English thanks to 黒凧 BlackKite.

Famitsu: Hamauzu-san, the first FF you were involved with was the original FFVII, but more than 20 years have passed since then, and it’s now being developed as FFVII remake. We would like to hear your thoughts about being involved as a composer for that title.

Hamauzu: In the original version I was just helping a bit, and nowadays it’s no longer a rare thing to see remake works of anime and games, so at first I didn’t have a very special feeling. But when I think I’m going to share the same space with the main staff members at that time like Kitase-san, Toriyama-san, and Uematsu-san, I have a very deep emotion. However, when we begin the development I almost never met them though.

F: The soundtrack’s volume is 7-disc large, and a lot of the songs are also being worked on by Hamauzu-san, but were there so many orders from the start?

H: This time the amount of songs was not decided; the general volume wasn’t even being made clear. I got a feel of “as much as you possibly can do” from Toriyama-san, and a lot of scene developments were also being processed at the same time, so I had trouble grasping the volume feel until the final phase of development. Also, a majority of the songs are made in a seamless way by partitioning a song into multiple parts that can be connected anywhere, so if I counted the partitioned data as well there would be an enormous amount. Things like how to use these, where to partition them, and how to add versions change from moment to moment, so the management was more hectic than song composition, and I really had no time to count until the very end (laughs). When I tried counting them after the development has ended, the amount of songs produced de-facto by me is around 45, and if I include seamless data it becomes more than 100.

F: A lot of people participated in creating songs, from FFVII arrange music to songs being worked on by Mr. Mitsuto Suzuki and other composers. But was there something like a unified direction or theme?

H: There was no designation of direction or theme in particular. It’s a remake so there is a world that’s already completed once, so perhaps it was not necessary. Toriyama-san rather said something like “You can do more as you like” during an early demo presentation. Also, I was in charge of mostly new scenes as well as new strong features that keeps on showing up like Feeler (EN: Whisper), so I was never stuck by the original. I rather felt a nostalgic relief in the contrary when I did an arrange of Aerith’s theme.

F: Which songs did you feel challenging in particular among the songs you made this time? Also, if you have songs you struggled with, had a deep impression or anything else, please mention them as well as the reasons why.

H: I unexpectedly struggled with the seamless system. There is a lot of data and I must take that into account when recording and producing the musical scores. Other than that, I also have to think about coherency in a song so that it can connect wherever you make the cut, so it was hectic as I couldn’t really use my methods of continuously changing tempo and tones that I had been doing in prior RPGs. I am personally not really good with a rather dark world setting either, so my task was to just break that shell. Even so, at the end I couldn’t bear with it and I almost ignored the seamless thing, and furthermore I got tasked to make a battle music that includes a transition to a brighter latter half. That song is my favourite (laughs).

F: [Please tell us] if you have any other episodes on composing songs.

H: Toriyama-san said “Hamauzu-san never listened to what I said” while laughing. That means I didn’t create them in accordance with the orders (laughs). Despite having such a recognition, I was truly honored for taking up this request as well. I remembered how Toriyama-san would eventually say “I’ll leave it to you” during FFXIII’s development. Game music in general doesn’t have sound supervision (which also includes jobs on ordering what kind of songs are needed), so I felt once again about how the job is not only about creating according to what have been told, but also –in the contrary– how giving proposals are important as well.

F: Please leave a message to fans who are looking forward to the soundtrack.

H: This title has become something like an omnibus where a lot of great composers participated in. I hope you will enjoy the new FFVII world which has its base expanded.