There’s a ton of quality music in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m a plebeian who’s only ever played the original Realm Reborn and not dipped my toes into Heavensward or Stormblood yet, but I love a ton of tracks from the OST — even some from the expansions that I haven’t had a chance to experience yet.
Masayoshi Soken is responsible for the vast majority of work on the 282 tracks across the three versions of XIV, although that number doesn’t include some orchestral arrangements and other side work. When you consider the scope, the MMO’s soundtrack is truly a remarkable accomplishment. And this isn’t a Tales-esque situation where you can tell several songs were mailed in — there are a ton of unique compositions that do an expert job of setting the stage for the vastly different areas across Eorzea.
Since I got a big promotion and have some extra cash laying around (but no time in which to use it #frownyface), I decided that I would subscribe to XIV again on a monthly basis, because I missed the game quite a bit. It turns out that casual play is actually possible in an MMO; I’d never have the time to jump in balls deep anymore, but logging on once a day to run a 20-minute duty dungeon or knock out a couple quests? That works pretty well. If anything, it’s nice to have gaming in smaller snippets that don’t necessarily involve a deep, overarching story.
I spend the majority of my time away from where I started the game, but one track in particular stands out to me as being the epitome of Final Fantasy XIV: Serenity. It’s essentially the music that plays in a variety of places around the Black Shroud. My first class — like always in any MMO, because I’m dumb — was a healer, which meant my Conjurer spent her time in Gridania and the surrounding areas hearing these tracks quite a bit.
There are three songs baked into one here, essentially, and while I like all three, I loooooove the softer piano song that starts around the two-minute mark. It starts off very quiet and mysterious sounding, the perfect fit for an ethereal forest-like region. It eventually picks up steam and adds some playful woodwinds and strings and even a choir, culminating in a beautiful crescendo. Sometimes, if that part of the song was playing, I would stop what I was doing just to enjoy the scenery and song for a bit.
There are three versions below, along with some game footage if you’re unfamiliar with XIV. First up is the one from in-game and the OST, followed by orchestral and piano arrangements. I like all three, but I’m partial to the original because like I’ve mentioned in this series, part of my love for video game music is tied to the feelings and sensations that come with playing the game in that moment. But hell, they’re all good.
Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.