At the very end of the Final Fantasy XIV May 2021 Fan Fest activities, there was a final announcement. FFXIV Lead Composer Masayoshi Soken and Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida announced that Soken composed music for the game while fighting cancer in 2020. Soken said he is now “almost in full remission” and was cleared to attend and perform at the event with THE PRIMALS by his doctor.
Soken began by saying he wanted to talk about something in his personal life. After expressing his thanks, he then announced in around March 2020 he was diagnosed with cancer. He said he “didn’t really tell anyone at that time.” Until October 2020, he spent 6-7 months hospitalized, being treated. He said he didn’t want to sit there and do nothing. So, there was a “special arrangement” where Soken both fought cancer with chemotherapy and composed FFXIV music at the same time. He specifically mentioned working on patch 5.3 music and “To the Edge.”
Soken also said “it was because I wasn’t treated differently, because you gave me the same amount of work, the same kind of orders that you always do you, that made it feel like nothing had changed. That’s what got me through this.”
After Soken’s announcement, Yoshida tearfully spoke about what happened. He confirmed Soken didn’t tell anyone to keep them from worrying about him or for his illness to affect their performance. Yoshida then said, “Welcome back, Soken” and expressed how it was a “tough decision to talk about this or not.” Yoshida also said, “Soken said, ‘If I don’t have something to do, then I don’t have anything to live for. So don’t change anything.’”
Here’s Soken’s response to #WelcomeBackSoken trending on Twitter following the announcement.
I’m looking at you! I owe it all to every one of WoL. Ill pay u back with the contents! ! I hope y’all keep enjoying our game!
見てるよ！ヒカセンのみんなのお陰だよ。ほんとにありがとう。感謝はゲームで返していきます！これからもよろしくね！#FFXIV #FF14 https://t.co/zokxZlvkjH
— ニー祖堅 (@SOKENsquareenix) May 16, 2021
You can hear Soken’s announcement at about the 10:36:30 mark of the FFXIV Fan Fest 2021 Day 2 stream, after THE PRIMALS performance of music from the game. (THE PRIMALS concert begins after the 8:43:56 mark.)