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Lightning Returns Skips on Promo Theme Song

November 8th, 2013 by Tony Garsow

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will skip out on a promotional theme song (unlike its two predecessors) in favor of a theme composed by the game’s triumvirate of composers: Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, and Mitsuto Suzuki. Previously Final Fantasy XIII featured Leona Lewis “My Hands”/Sayuri Sugawara “Kimi ga Iru Kara” and Final Fantasy XIII-2 featured Charice “New World”/Mai Fukui “Yakusoku no Basho e”. This news comes from the official Lightning Returns twitter in Japan.

This doesn’t mean that Lightning Returns will be lacking vocal pieces, as the soundtrack for all three games has featured many vocalists from different genres of music. Perhaps the decision for all three composers to write the ending song for the game will add a more personable touch than a promotional theme song — as this is the last entry in the Final Fantasy XIII saga.

How about you? Would you prefer a promotional song instead or do you support the decision for the composers to write the ending song? Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

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  • stevenm281

    Personally, I’d rather they do like they used to and use the same theme in english and japanese, if the jap singer can’t sing in english well use the jap version in the overseas version as well.

    (FF8-9-10-11-12)

  • What I “prefer” is a much less habituated look at what a FF is to deliver musically. Ending themes have now become a cliché of production, everyone expects them; in the case of FFXIII, an actual Western Pop song was used which, although not bad, had a lyrical setting as related to the story as Snow’s bandana, possibly less (ignorance towards the lyrics, i.e. not understanding them, probably made the experience of the song better for some).

    The golden time of vocal themes was seen with VIII, IX and X. Between an attempt at creating that significance once more and using some song from some album, well, I’d say the former is the best. At least it is a directed effort, not a promotional stunt for would-be appeal.

  • Necromunkey

    I’d prefer Final Fantasy not have ANY pop piece, Western or Japanese, translated or not. So this is good news to me (I was certainly a fan of the eclectic style of many of XIII-2’s songs).

    The only caveat I can perceive is as to where to draw the line between a Pop song and a piece that is legitimately made for the game, and not written for an album and appended to the game (essentially the gist of what Lilay stated).

    As a way of example Suteki de na works (I think, if only because its folk), but real Emotion (and the untranslated variant) are dangerously close to crossing the line (close because they tenuously involved the music with the beginning events of the game) and both XIII and XIII-2 themes unabashedly cross said line. Adding Pop music, especially such that is relevant to modern music culture only helps to deface, in my mind, the allure of what Final Fantasy is. Also, adding Pop feels to generic anime to me XP

  • GaaraDDragon

    The Leona Lewis song was horrible; run of the mill, american idol-esque corny ballad with laughable lyrics.

    The second one was not as bad but it was a terribly miss placed song, who on earth approved an upbeat ballad for an “end of the world” ending ?!

  • Ever since the magnificent Uematsu left seat I get this feeling like FF is trying to “re-discover itself” musically. Uematsu had a classic opera setting and stuck to it, adjusting it to whatever the scenery of the game demanded. Now the music just seems all over the place. Heavy metal and pop are things that definitely do not have a place in a jrpg, no matter how “futuristic” it may seem (I remember Esthar having a nice musical background). Still, I’ll give them credit for experimenting with new stuff… Some things work, some things don’t! XIII was more like a “transition” towards the next generation of FF. Though Square Enix has to know that these sort of miscalculations will not be tolerated so easily for XV!

  • AnimaMagna

    @alexsam
    In terms of XV, I think, since the composer is the one who composed the amazing “Hikari”, we can be assured that it shall be an epic, semi-classical score. After all, it has been said that she was inspired by Beethoven and his like.

  • @AnimaMagna
    That’s an odd example since “Hikari”, or rather the English version “Simple and Clean”, featured the same problem that “My Hands” did later on, that being: lyrics which were irrelevant/did not fully pertain to the story. Furthermore, Hikaru Utada was behind that song, not Shimomura.
    In any case, the theme that gave KH its core was “Dearly Beloved”; arguably Shimomura’s loveliest and most simple piece yet.
    As for XV: the direction always seemed to be the pompous dramatic choir approach, which has never been done with FF (assuming that’s what’s happening). The question could be: to what extent will such music comprise the game; there’s always the chance the themes have been composed for trailer-effect only. Even if one of them (“Somnus”) has already been officially released, in 2008 no less.

    @alexsam
    That’s an understandable point, except for one bad jump made there, which is: Uematsu did not make any prancing with any instrumentation because he’s from a different era; an era which allowed entire scores to be fully arranged with a keyboard, a composer like Uematsu benefited from this because he was, and is, extremely melody-oriented.
    Furthermore, declaring he had some overall method of “classicism” is demonstrably false, as effective use of both mellow-ish/ballad Pop (VIII, IX and X) and Heavy Metal (X) were done under his artistic wing. Additionally, three whole Progressive Metal albums (The Black Mages) indicate Uematsu’s and fellow composers’ open love for a Metal spirit in Final Fantasy.

    @GaaraDDragon
    I take it that was a rhetorical question but, Japanese entertainment (mostly anime) has actually built a penchant for this grotesque way of enhancing drama by using crisp melody, stripped structures, Pop ballads and the like; creating their own distinct brand of emotion-drawing settings. It all started in the 90s with the famous Evangelion, particularly the movie.

  • Terrorofzanarkand

    I really loved Eyes on me (FFVIII), Otherworld & Suteki da ne (FFX), Real Emotion & 1000 words (FFX-2), Kiss me goodbye (FFXII) and ofc Susan Calloways Answers! To me, those songs are worth remembering.

    My Hands by Leona and New World by Charice are OK songs, but I dont see the “FF magic” over them. They didnt really bring it as the others mentioned above.

    I would LOVE to hear the japanese versions of the songs while playing – to me there is more magic over them.

    I think that they should make a promo-theme song, but maybe with a twist? Not like Leona and Charice XD sorry dude, but those were bad!

  • AnimaMagna

    @Lilay
    Sorry, forgot Hikari was a pop song too. I was thinking of the orchestral version. You know, the one that was used in the opening section of GameTrailers Kingdom Hearts Timeline video.

  • TheKurgan

    No Leona Lewis? Oh thank God. Her impact on the game made me wish there was an option to lower the music volume. I most certainly did mute my TV earning the plat on XIII-2.
    Born Anew was awesome, by the way. It’s not like FF didn’t become known for cool battle themes with vocal pieces. Pop music, however, will always be a hit-or-miss genre.

  • @AnimaMagna
    Right. I really did assume it was the Pop theme; there is an orchestrated version (Hikari -KINGDOM Orchestra Instrumental Version-) which can be heard in the video that rolls if you leave the title screen on standby. Indeed, it is quite beautiful. Also, for the credits, “March Caprice for Piano and Orchestra” plays, it too is very good as well.

  • While I disagree with most opinions that Charice’s “New World” is a bad song (I even remember my older sister coming into my room to hear the song during the credits, and she’s not into FF music!), it’s definitely misplaced, as an upbeat song should not be playing during a main character’s death.

    @Lilay Yes, you are right when you say that Uematsu has a few pop and maybe one or two metal songs (I specifically remember the one that was playing during the Jecht battle). But, overall, Uematsu’s style was orchestrated music. And he was able to adjust the music style to better suit the game’s setting. Boss battle, quiet town, action sequence, the man knew how to evoke feelings through the musical notes and despite the lack of lyrics. He was a genius. And ever since he left, there’s been sort of a gap there. The only time I may have actually “felt” by listening to a FF song that wasn’t Uematsu’s must be in FF XIV in the lower parts of Upper La Noscea. There’s this part that has the most quiet theme song ever! If I could post a link here, I would. Anyway, apart from that, FF music hasn’t really been that good without Nobuo. And tbh, I don’t really like “Somnus” all that much.

  • CalmingPurgatory

    Most of u guys are looking at New World the wrong way. New World was ment to help emote Serah’s feelings in the final moments of her life and to make the player think everything is going to be fine. Serah wanted to succeed at defeating Caius and help Hope raise his new ark, and she did, or so she thought. She wanted to see the new world rise and for things to be at peace again. The reason the song has a peaceful tone is because these are Serah’s thoughts, hopes, and dreams even though she knew of her imminent death and was accepting of this because she thought everything was going to be okay. But as the song ends and her life fades away everything goes wrong and the requiem bells ring signing that the “New World” Serah wants to see is no longer possible. From a storyboard view it is proficient at what was to be shown and SE saw that. You guys say you don’t like the song because it is out of place when really it’s exactly where it’s suppose to be.

  • AnimaMagna

    @CalmingPurgatory
    I think the song is very apt. It reminds me of that Irving Berlin song “Won’t you Play a Simple Melody”, where there are two rythms that normally clash, but in that case complement each other. New World and the tone of XIII-2’s ending work in the same way. And you’re right about Serah. It makes it all the more tragic that Lightning, Snow, Noel and Mog blame themselves for her death: she chose to take the risk and accepted the consequences.

  • roundtables

    This is an extremely big let down for me. Like, I could get it if it was a new game series (Although I’d still be disappointed.), but the other 2 games have featured pop ending songs, and I’m really disappointed this game won’t either.

    Also, the fact my favorite games have featured ending pop songs of some sort (P3, P4, KH, KH2, XIII, XIII-2.) makes me a bit biased to featuring pop songs. I don’t know how to explain it, but it just is something I really want in games now.

    As for “Pop has no place in JRPGS” the music features in XIII is part of why I love the game so much. I honestly did not like any FF music as much as I like the work in XIII and XIII-2.

    “While I disagree with most opinions that Charice’s “New World” is a bad song (I even remember my older sister coming into my room to hear the song during the credits, and she’s not into FF music!), it’s definitely misplaced, as an upbeat song should not be playing during a main character’s death.”

    If you listen to the lyrics, it actually does fit with the ending. The lyrics can either refer to Noel going on without Serah, or it can also relate to the loss of Cocoon. It may be instrumentally wise upbeat, but it is definitely not a happy go lucky song. It’s definitely one of loss and fits in with the them they got going there.

    I just really really love the music in XIII and XIII-2, and I’m just so disappointed there’s going to be no promo theme or ending song. Like exceedingly disappointed.

  • Please be attentive of the information in the post: what is stated pertains to the fact there won’t be any promotional theme featuring an artist’s name. That does not imply there will be no Pop-ish ending theme.

  • SharckSLZ

    Actualy, I had no problem with any of the ending songs on both games. They did not felt off or nothing, they fitted quite rigth for both games, Dont actual care if they are “pop” songs, nor did I care about the language… Now about having no song at the end? or promo? or anything? well, its also a nice choice. As long as the theme they use is (forgive the word xD) Epic! it is fine, many of the best songs I´ve ever heard in games, are non vocal, and one can feel the greatness on the song! well I think it is a pretty nice idea, and hope to see how they pull this on. (plz forgive my english, I know its pretty bad xD) peace out! -SLZ-

  • On a side note, according to a recent interview with Abe and Toriyama to a german magazine, the magic spells Flare and Ultima are back but it will be extremely hard to find and get them. Also, expect a new trailer in the next hours.