This weekend at PAX Prime in Seattle, Washington, Square Enix hosted a Final Fantasy XIV panel featuring Sound Director Masayoshi Soken and Localization Lead Michael-Christopher Koji Fox. The primary focus of the discussion was Heavensward music, specifically the Primal battle themes.
At the start, Koji spoke a little bit about his work writing lyrics, and the lore that went along with them. He referenced “Answers,” the main theme of Final Fantasy XIV 2.0, and explained how it was sung from the perspective of Hydaelyn, the sentient Mothercrystal who guides players through Eorzea.
The lyrics were written to be Hydaelyn urging adventures to live, and assuring they must suffer and experience hardship so that they may learn more about themselves and the world. Koji also went on to say that “Dragonsong,” the main theme of Heavensward, shows Hydaelyn in a slightly different light, especially the final line of lyrics in which Hydaelyn admits to not understanding the actions and motivations of the races she helped to create.
The discussion then shifted to Ravana and the music associated with the insect-like Primal. Soken explained that he was inspired to compose a waltz because of Ravana’s many dancelike attacks and the butterflies “dancing” around the battle area. Koji also wrote the lyrics in three different languages before settling on English, the first iterations being in the fictional Gnathic and Dragonspeak languages he created.
Soken went on to say that it was particularly challenging to write music for Bismarck compared to all the previous Primals, and that the original theme intended for Bismarck later became one of the boss themes for Alexander. Koji recalled writing many of the lyrics for the Alexander music while riding home on the train after long, grueling workdays. Soken jokingly referred to the expansion as “Hellsward” throughout the panel, as the sound team’s schedule for creating Heavensward’s music and numerous sound effects was hectic.
Towards the end of the panel, Soken brought out an electric guitar and performed “Metal – Alexander Awakes,” the main boss theme of the Primal Alexander, while Koji sang the “gobbiespeak” lyrics (along with some help from the audience.)
You can watch their jam session at the 43:35 mark of the video above.