Spent 5 bucks on this because I have no self control
Nobuo Uematsu is hands down the most recognized and respected composer in the video game industry, with his scores for the Final Fantasy series among the greatest not just among video games, but in modern composition. If there was ever a list of greatest video game composers, there is no doubt who would occupy the top spot, and that man just happens to also be my favorite.
Nobuo Uematsu was born in the Kochi Prefecture, Japan in 1959. Unlike most professional musicians, Uematsu taught himself how to play the piano at around the age of twelve, and graduated Kanagawa University with a degree in English as opposed to Music. In 1986, while working at an instrument rental shop, he was asked to compose music by a Squaresoft employee for some of the company’s upcoming games, and he agreed, considering it a side job and nothing else. His first score was for Cruise Chaser Blassty, and it was here that he met Hironobu Sakaguchi, a game designer that quickly took a liking to Uematsu and they formed a close friendship. In 1987, after a string of failed games, Sakaguchi asked Uematsu to compose for his “final contribution to the gaming industry,” an RPG titled Final Fantasy. The title surprisingly was a critical and commercial success, propelling the duo’s careers for many years to come.
For the next several years, Uematsu composed dozens of acclaimed soundtracks to highly popular games, most of which he worked on solo. In addition to the subsequent Final Fantasy games, he worked on Rad Racer II, Romancing SaGa, and Front Mission: Gun Hazard. When Yasunori Mitsuda developed ulcers while working on Chrono Trigger, Uematsu stepped in to score the final 10 songs for the game, which is considered one of gaming’s finest soundtracks. By 2001, Uematsu was feeling uninspired with his work, and employed Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano to assist in scoring Final Fantasy X, the first in the main series of games that he did not write all the music for.
In 2004, he left Square (now Square Enix) to form his own production company called Smile Please, as well as Dog Ear Records in 2006. Since his departure, he has remained close friends with Sakaguchi, who also left Square in 2003, and has composed for his titles at Mistwalker Games such as Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and The Last Story. Uematsu still does contribute to the Final Fantasy series, though in a mostly limited fashion, scoring the animated film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children in 2005 and the main theme for Final Fantasy XII. However, in 2013 Square hired him as the lone composer for the online only title Final Fantasy XIV. His most recent projects have been writing the main theme for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Level 5 title Fantasy Life, and many other upcoming games such as Project Phoenix.
Uematsu has been active outside of the video game industry as well. In 2002, he and some colleagues formed the rock band The Black Mages, which original and Final Fantasy music while touring the world and releasing three albums. The group split in 2010, and thus Uematsu joined the rock group Earthbound Papas.
Nobuo Uematsu has produced great music that only gets better with each new entry. One can easily do an entire blog dedicated to his scores alone, and I considered doing just that when I made this Tumblr account. Uematsu is renowned for many things, and if you should ask any one gamer they may say it’s his timeless battle themes, his sweeping world map music, his heartbreakingly emotion scores, or his epic final boss anthems that make him so great; all of these answers would be correct.
Track: Battle Scne
Artist: Nobuo Uematsu
Album: Final Fantasy
Developed by Squaresoft
Published by Squaresoft