I nearly lost it when Theatrhythm was announced for the Nintendo 3DS. I was already excited about the 3D visuals offered up by the platform, and a dream game combining the music of Final Fantasy with rhythmic elements was not only completely unexpected, but was seemingly too good to be true. But true it was, and I watched the game closely leading up to its release.
Now it’s here, and I’ve had a lot of time to play it. Complaints are already flying that the game is built as a DLC platform, but is the game a whole lot more than that, and does it pave the way for other exciting Theatrhythm games encompassing other Square Enix franchises?
Check out our review after the jump. (more…)
Alternately, this post could have been titled “Limited Release Part Three.” It’s like a three-part series on new, immediately hard-to-find albums.
Square Enix has been doing these retailer-specific bonus discs for some time now. They did a Village/Vanguard bonus disc for SQ Chips (with all chiptune arrangements), and then they split the bonuses among Tower Records and Village/Vanguard for Cafe SQ (Jayson reviewed those here). All the comments on that post were along the lines of “why is Square Enix holding out on us?” I agree.
And I’m about to make you feel that way, even more, with this next batch. And it’s even more frustrating, since there are two unique tracks per disc and two shared tracks (as opposed to only one unique track per disc on the Cafe SQ bonus discs). After the jump, I’ll give the details. (more…)
3 years ago, I sat anxiously waiting for the orchestra to appear from the sidelines. With a curious gaze towards the stage and the many surrounding me, the shared excitement was palpable, and whispers echoed in the Philharmonic Hall as the seated audience prepared to experience game music evolved. I was at Symphonic Fantasies in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall on September 12th, 2009, and on that night, with tears in my eyes, I experienced what is the greatest video game music symphony ever produced.
Since that day, many shows have come and gone, many concerts have been set up around the world, but the impact that Symphonic Fantasies had on the industry is undeniable; it changed the playing field entirely. Audiences wanted more, deeper arrangements, pure production designs, greater stories. Simple medleys did no longer suffice; Symphonic Fantasies proved that game music, like any music, can become something much greater by understanding its message, its intentions, its soul. But even with a subsequent CD release, the demand was high from the eager fans to experience the concert for themselves. It was therefore that Thomas Böcker took his production and team to Japan at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, and returned home to the birthplace of the orchestral game music concert and the Square Enix video games, to show that the concept had evolved, and the music which so many hold dear, has grown up to become something much larger. The result was 2 sold out shows in Japan, heralded in the press and by its peers as a true achievement not easily matched. It was due to this success, that the decision was made to once again provide fans around the world the opportunity to hear Symphonic Fantasies in the form of an album release.
But is it worth the purchase a second time around? Find out after the jump! (more…)
In 2009, the most beautiful video game symphony was performed in the cultural meeting place of Germany, Cologne. Fans from all over the world rushed to the Cologne Philharmonic Hall in excitement and anticipation of what was touted as the very best orchestrated video game concert of all time, based on the timeless works over the years by Square Enix, showcasing their greatest titles throughout their history in suites of unparalleled beauty and splendor. On September 12th, 2009, the day finally arrived when the world experienced Symphonic Fantasies, the greatest video game symphony of all time.
The legacy that Symphonic Fantasies left behind shook the industry by its core. No longer was the idea of video game music performed by an orchestra enough, the concept evolved and the emotions, the stories and the essence of each game was emphasized to bring the true nature of the game’s soul and heart out for the listener to feel, embrace and cherish. It is now 3 years since the event took place in Cologne, bringing all corners of the world together in a philharmonic hall, and as the concept has kept on growing, so has Symphonic Fantasies in the memories of those who heard it, and the anticipation and demand increasing, with fans eager to experience for themselves what the sell out audience in Cologne spoke so much of after 2009. After the incredible success in Tokyo for their January shows, the team ventured to Stockholm, Sweden in order to showcase just exactly why so many fans from around the world have spoken of its magnificence.
Check out the report from event after the jump. (more…)
Daniel Brown is gearing up to a live broadcast of his Final Fantasy/Phantom of the Opera crossover project Final Phantom on Monday 7th at 9PM EST. For those who have not heard of it yet, Final Phantom is a showing of the 1925 public domain Phantom of the Opera motion picture back-dropped by a live piano performance using music from the Final Fantasy series by arranged by Daniel Brown. Brown has toured different conventions performing for audiences across the East Coast in the past, delivering a very true atmosphere to the silent film era for the attendees.
The broadcast will begin at 9PM EST at Kareshi’s Twitch-TV Channel, and there will be a tip jar in place in case some of the listeners wants to fund equipment and future DVD release of the project. Brown’s earlier releases, including his Mystic Awakening: Music from Final Fantasy VI album, can be found for free at his Bandcamp page.
Symphonic Fantasies set the benchmark for what a symphonic game music concert should be. On September 12th 2009, the audience were not only hearing their most beloved game music pieces performed by an orchestra, but transported into the world in which the games represented, with landscapes built on emotion and the memories in the hearts of the listener being transcended by an all new experience, with the music becoming alive in a way no other concert before it had ever been able to accomplish. Fantasies managed to bridge the world of classical music and video games purely through music, and the production which Team Merregnon carefully crafted has traveled around the world with the award winning CD released in 2010. With the incredible success of concert and the CD recording, Symphonic Fantasies traveled to Tokyo in January of 2012, marking the first time a fully European video game symphony production has taken place in Japan.
Now, Symphonic Fantasies is returning home to Europe for another round, promising again to bring the full beauty of Valtonen and Wanamo’s arrangement to life once again, revisiting the worlds of Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger/Cross. The first concerts will take place in Cologne on the 5th and 6th of July, with Niklas Willén conducting the WDR Radio Orchestra and the WDR Radio Choir. On June 9th, Fantasies will for the first time come to Stockholm, Sweden, with Andreas Hanson conducting the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Katarina Choir.
Tickets for the Stockholm show is at sale at Konserthuset.se, while the Cologne show, as expected, is sold out. Be sure to check back on OSV for more news and information on Symphonic Fantasies 2012!
Izumi Tsukushi and Akio Shiraishi told us there would be several music releases over the course of 2012 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy. We’ve already reviewed the first PIANO OPERA album, but this DVD recording celebrating the anniversary of Final Fantasy XI was actually the first release in this celebration.
Recorded on November 11, 2011 at the Vana Con event in Japan, this is a live recording of the one-off concert that took place to commemorate nine years of Final Fantasy XI.
Hit the jump for our review. (more…)
Did you happen to tune in to the PIANO OPERA FINAL FANTASY IV/V/VI USTREAM interview with Nobuo Uematsu and pianist Hiroyuki Nakayama about the album tonight? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t, as I only found out about it today myself, but about 450 fans tuned into the Famitsu-exclusive stream to hear the interview along with samples from the album.
We have a lot of info for you courtesy of Justin Pfeiffer who I dragged in to listen on OSV’s behalf. Hit the jump for details! (more…)
We got a huge response from our Final Fantasy XIII-2 unboxing video last month. The biggest question most mainstream gamers had, however, was how the packaging from the Japanese soundtrack releases compared to what’s included with the US collector’s edition. I didn’t think it was necessary to record another complete unboxing video, so I just took a couple quick shots to demonstrate.
While the CE packaging is quite nice, you’ll see that the soundtrack doesn’t get as extravagant as a presentation as with the Japanese releases. The four discs are housed within the same ‘book’ as the game disc, manual, and art book. The game disc is on the left, the soundtrack on the right, with all the other materials in the middle. In terms of track listing, there’s a separate foldout (also pictured above) that lists all the song titles in English.
Let us know what you think of the CE packaging. The idea of making a book out of the whole thing is pretty clever!
Also, hit the jump for another shot of the entire collection in its open configuration. (more…)
It goes without saying (although I’m saying it now) that the Symphonic series is probably the best concert production in the world focusing on game music. Not only are they impressive feats of arrangement and orchestral performance, but Thomas Boecker and crew managed to pull off two such shows in 2011: Symphonic Legends focusing on the music of Nintendo and Symphonic Odysseys, a concert dedicated to Nobuo Uematsu, not to mention a repeat production of Symphonic Fantasies in Japan that just took place a couple weeks back.
While it’s unlikely that we’re see Symphonic Legends on CD given Nintendo’s track record with licensing music (a real shame), we do have Symphonic Odysseys courtesy of Dog Ear Records, and it’s just as good if not better than previous Symphonic efforts.
Hit the jump for more. (more…)
Square Enix has been doing some pretty neat stuff with Village/Vanguard stores throughout Japan with the release of their SQ series albums. Customers who’ve picked up their copies at these stores have received a neat little cardboard case for More SQ, a customer bonus disc containing several exclusive tracks for SQ Chips, and now more exclusive music for their most recent release, Café SQ.
You can read our review of the entire album here, but what makes the customer bonus discs for Café SQ even more interesting are the fact that there are two: one for customers who picked up their copy at Village/Vanguard stores, and another for those who shopped at Tower Records.
As you’re not likely going to be able to get your hands on these outside of Japan, are they even worth worrying about? They just might be! Find out in our review after the jump. (more…)