A nearly complete catalogue of Final Fantasy soundtracks was quietly added to Spotify today. The mass upload includes the soundtracks to the entire main Final Fantasy series up to Final Fantasy XV, including the two sequels to Final Fantasy XIII, and separate entries for the various expansions to online multiplayer entries Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV. Both original and updated track lists for early entries like Final Fantasy IV that received remasters on later hardware are included. Even numerous spin-off titles like Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Type-0, and, for some reason, the free-to-play mobile app Final Fantasy Brave Exvius are on tap. Many of the soundtracks have Japanese metadata, but if you’re used to listening to them in massive, compressed, three-hour YouTube videos, then this will still be a godsend.
The new library is impressive, though not totally exhaustive. Final Fantasy X-2 was snubbed, a significant exclusion considering its pop music fixation and the inclusion of other direct sequels to main entries. Several more obscure titles were perhaps too blurry in the cultural memory to be worth including, like Final Fantasy XII’s semi-forgotten Nintendo DS sequel Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, the GameCube exclusive Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, and spinoff-to-a-spinoff Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and its own sequel Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift.
Square Enix’s attempt at giving Final Fantasy VII a pre-Disney Star Wars-style expanded universe — the so-called Compilation of Final Fantasy VII — has been largely ignored too, with one merciful exception: the well-received 2008 PlayStation Portable prequel Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Crisis Core was one of the better Compilation entries, in no small part thanks to Takeharu Ishimoto’s rustic, acoustic guitar- and piano-driven take on the series’ music. Final Fantasy music tends to lean towards the epic, with series legend Nobuo Uematsu pushing the Super Nintendo’s humble sound chip to churn out literal operas, and Yoko Shimomura never shying away from barking, howling choirs. Ishimoto, though, kept Crisis Core’s soundscape intimate, the perfect scale for its more personal and inevitable tragedy. Ishimoto’s sterling work on the Dissidia fighting game series has also been included in today’s update, and is equally worth checking out. The screamingly hip and modern music he composed for Nintendo DS cult classic The World Ends With You, the polar opposite of his woody and earthy Crisis Core soundtrack, is also incredible, but tragically not on Spotify.
Hey Square Enix, if you’re reading this, here’s an idea. You’ve got a great big remake of Final Fantasy VII in the pipe, right? I know series regular Nobuo Uematsu is a no-brainer for this one, since he wrote the original score and everything, but free advice: rope Ishimoto into this one too. Final Fantasy VII is a game about travelling inwards as much as outwards, so you’re going to need more than just apocalyptic spectacle to get that point across. Don’t let me tell you how to make your game or anything. I’m just saying.