There’s plenty of iconic music in the Final Fantasy series, but perhaps no jingle is as memorable as the battle fanfare.
Its style – instrumentation, arrangement – differs across the series, reflecting the world and characters of each game.
In Final Fantasy 16, the battle fanfare has (for the first time outside Final Fantasy 14) lyrics and is sung by a choir. Not only are those lyrics in Ancient Greek, they’re a major plot spoiler for the game.
It was localisation director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox who wrote the lyrics.
“[Composer Masayoshi] Soken came to me one day and he was like ‘ok, we’re gonna do this, I think it needs lyrics’,” Koji Fox told Eurogamer in an interview during a hands-on preview of the game.
“The first thing I thought of is, if we’re going to have lyrics, if it’s going to be English, I thought it would sound kind of cheesy, especially if it’s being played a lot. And then it could sound very gimmicky, and I didn’t want it to sound gimmicky.
“But we don’t want it to just become some nonsense language. So what can we do? I decided on Ancient Greek. And there’s a reason behind this, but if I explain the reason it becomes a spoiler.”
Koji Fox wrote the lyrics in English and then had them translated into Ancient Greek. “Then we got the chorus to sing them. And the meaning actually has very deep meaning that pertains to pretty much the whole story and Clive’s journey as well,” he said, before producer Naoki Yoshida cut him off for fear of more spoilers.
The lyrics themselves will not be revealed in-game, though Koji Fox hopes that if the soundtrack is released, they will be included in its booklet.
From my time with Final Fantasy 16, Soken’s score overall is beautiful – from bombastic Eikon clash music, to battle music that seemingly references Final Fantasy 8, to a sombre and delicate piano tune. Yet hearing lyrics to the iconic fanfare immediately struck me as potentially important.
We’ll have to wait until the game’s release on 22nd June to understand the significance of the lyrics. Unless, of course, you understand Ancient Greek.
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