Square Enix’s music department is gearing up for a pretty ridiculous summer in terms of album releases. It’s a little overwhelming, and we’re still in the dark on some of these albums, but it’s worth noting that they’re on the way.
Specifically, Square Enix is going overboard for the tenth anniversary of their MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. With expansion content included, the game sports about 10 hours’ worth of original music, so there’s plenty to arrange.
Before even getting to those albums, though, it’s worth noting that in Los Angeles there’s going to be a tenth anniversary concert! All FFXI! That’s crazy. I hope to be there, but I’m not sure if I can get out to the west coast. It’s going to be on September 22 (right on the “technical border” of Summer and Fall) at the Zellerbach Auditorium. Tickets went on sale as of a few weeks ago, and there is a VIP ticket level that includes meet-and-greet with Arnie Roth, Kumi Tanioka, and Naoshi Mizuta. If you ever played FFXI for any period of time, this will be an unforgettable event. I’m psyched about it. Also, if you’re still playing FFXI, buying tickets will net you a special in-game item “Maestro’s Baton.” (tickets here)
Okay, so now for the album releases. Alongside the planned SQ Chips 2 (CDJapan | Play-Asia), they’re doing a special chiptunes mini-album just for FFXI called “XI Chips -Final Fantasy XI Chiptune-” (CDJapan). There’s also going to be a compilation album (with one exclusive bonus track) called “Sword Songs ~ Final Fantasy XI Battle Collection” (CDJapan). Nice!
Beyond FFXI, this summer will have normal editions and limited editions for “SQ Chips 2,” “Beer SQ,” and “Battle SQ.” If you head to vgmdb (that’s what those links point to), you can check out the full tracklists for these three albums. We don’t know what the bonus tracks will be for the LEs yet, but we do know they will come on a separate disc. Very interesting things to note about the song selection: first, that Masashi Hamauzu is getting a lot of love. Both Beer and Battle have arrangements for SaGa Frontier II, and the latter also has something from Sigma Harmonics! There are some other great, obscure titles represented across these albums as well, including Tobal No.1, Bahamut Lagoon, Live A Live (an apparent favorite at SE Music for all the times they’ve been including this game on their SQ albums), Seiken Densetsu 3, Rudora no Hihou, Chocobo’s Dungeon, and more! Great oldschool FF selections as well! Audio samples suggest that Beer SQ will be of a similar soundscape to Cafe SQ, whereas Battle SQ will just rock hard. And “Chips” … well, it’s chiptunes!
Purchase Beer SQ (LE): CDJapan | Play-Asia
Purchase Battle SQ (LE): CDJapan | Play-Asia
Purchase Beer SQ (Standard): CDJapan | Play-Asia
Purchase Battle SQ (Standard): CDJapan | Play-Asia
So, those 3 albums are all planned for July. Then, in August, SE is making good on their promise to publish “self-arranged” albums from the Mana series. Last year we got Kenji Ito’s album which covered the first Seiken Densetsu, as well as the Sword of Mana GBA remake and Seiken Densetsu 4: Dawn of Mana. Next up is a Hiroki Kikuta album, entitled Secret of Mana Genesis / Seiken Densetsu 2 Arrange Album (CDJapan). We’re not sure why this doesn’t include Seiken Densetsu 3, but we’re hoping it means that SD3 will get its own album too! On top of that, Kenji Ito is following up on the aforementioned SD arranged album Re:birth with his own spin-off album Re:Birth II / Romancing Saga Battle Arrange (CDJapan | Play-Asia). Yikes!
All this to say, start saving now, it’s gonna be a Squeenix-heavy summer.