Fantasian is Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi’s first full-scale RPG in a decade — and it might be his last. The same goes for Nobuo Uematsu, the iconic composer responsible for the soundtrack of many Final Fantasy games who is once again collaborating with him.
In a recent interview with VGC, Sakaguchi states he approached the upcoming Apple Arcade exclusive as his final full title.
“I think it is certainly possible that this could be my last project and that was kind of in the back of my mind as we were developing it,” he tells the publication. “We’re currently developing the final touches for part 2 of Fantasian and things are finally beginning to calm down, I would say.”
He elaborates that he hasn’t “given much thought to the next steps for the company or where we want to go, and I think I could use a bit of vacation time in between now and whatever it is we do next. So we’ll see what happens, that remains to be seen.”
Earlier this month, Sakaguchi told Mobile Syrup that Uematsu has indicated this game is likely his last full soundtrack. In September 2018, the legendary composer had announced on his personal blog that he was going to step down from work due to health issues he had been battling for several years. Rather than have his illness affect the quality of his work, he wanted to take time to rest and reconsider future projects. He returned to work at the start of 2019.
It is due to health issues that Sakaguchi says Uematsu will likely stick to composing individual pieces, like his contributions to the music of Final Fantasy VII Remake, rather than full soundtracks after this project. Fantasian has a significant 60-piece orchestrated soundtrack — a feat which required a great deal of work that Sakaguchi was initially uncertain Uematsu was going to be able to do. Ultimately, if this is to be the final collaboration in their special partnership spanning over three decades, he expresses he’s pleased with the end result.
“He poured his heart and soul into it,” Sakaguchi says. “For me, when I heard it, it almost made me tear up a little bit, because it was a very big moment in both of our careers.”
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Speaking with IGN not long afterwards, Uematsu asserted the possibility.
“After making music for Fantasian for over a year, I feel that giving my everything for one soundtrack might become difficult in the future, both from a mental and physical perspective,” he shared. “Composing the soundtrack for a big RPG is time consuming, and once you’re at it there’s no time for anything else. This time, all my concerts were canceled due to the pandemic, so I really had the chance to focus just on Fantasian. But now that I’ve composed so much music in my life, I want to create more opportunities to play music in front of people in the future, rather than just working on the next game.”
Excitingly, he expressed that while each Final Fantasy title he worked on has two or three pieces he’s very proud of, Fantasian has many more. “I really did everything the way I wanted it. Quality of music is mostly a matter of taste, but for me personally, I think that Fantasian has become the best soundtrack I have ever made,” he says.
Developed by Mistwalker — the studio Sakaguchi formed in 2004 after departing from Square Enix — Fantasian is a tale that will center on multiple dimensions, the balance of Chaos and Order, and memories. It will have unique “Dimengeon Battles” in which you can send enemies you’ve previously encountered to a dungeon in an alternate dimension, freeing you of constant combat interruptions while exploring the world. It will also have over 150 handmade dioramas that will blend physical environments and 3D characters. From the screenshots you can see on the game’s official site, it’s going to be a stunning game.
The first episode of Fantasian is debuting on Apple Arcade. This installment is a story-focused endeavor that will be approximately 20 to 30 hours long. It currently has no release date. The second episode, which will come out at an unspecified point in the future, will focus more on quests. As someone whose life has been impacted by Sakaguchi and Uematsu’s work in immeasurable ways, I’m excited to see what they have in store with Fantasian.