Keiji Kawamori on the “pressure” of adding new music.
Publisher Square Enix has released the first entry in its Inside FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE video series and in the first episode, members of the development team give fans an introduction to the upcoming action role-playing game by touching on topics including the game’s story, music, combat system, and character models.
Keiji Kawamori, music supervisor for Final Fantasy VII Remake, spoke about the task of matching the game’s soundtrack with the visuals and noted the pressure of adding new music, especially in cut scenes containing dialogue.
“In the original [game], the music that went with the graphics used an internally generated sound source, but ultimately, we had to limit what we tried to get across with the music due to the restrictions of the hardware,” Kawamori said.
“For [Final Fantasy VII] Remake, there is a massive advancement in the hardware capability – the expressiveness of the graphics and the cut scenes is greatly improved and we wanted to raise the level of the music to match,” he said.
Kawamori added: “We have used new arrangements and completely new themes for the new scenes in the game, but the music from the original was brilliant, so there was quite a bit of pressure when adding any new music – but the enhanced visual storytelling power made it important to do right.”
“In recent years, it seems that interactive music is becoming more popular wherever around the world you look,” said composer Mitsuto Suzuki.
“Final Fantasy VII Remake has incorporated this style of music too,” he said. “You might have a certain scene that needs three different versions of the track. The tempo and the composition would be the same for all of them, as would the melody when it comes in, but they would all have different arrangements.
“All three are playing in parallel and cross fading between the different versions, switching freely between them – it’s like a really top class DJ performance getting it to all flow smoothly.”
“By having the music shift seamlessly to reflect the developments in the current scene, the emotional high points can have suitable music for them,” said composer Masashi Hamauzu. “And when it calls for the mood to suddenly get quieter, then you can make that a natural and non-jarring shift to match the player’s actions and the visuals.”
“Another thing is that while there are many people who played and liked the original, there will probably also be many new players who first encounter Final Fantasy VII with the remake,” Kawamori noted.
“And I want those people who hear the music for the first time to think: ‘Wow, Final Fantasy VII has some great tunes,'” he said. “It would also be great if that could then inspire them to go back to the original Final Fantasy VII and appreciate the music from them both.”
Final Fantasy VII Remake is developed and published by Square Enix with a release set for 10th April on PlayStation 4.