Top 5 RPG Composers

The musical scores of RPG’s do so much more than just provide some pleasant background tunes. Some tracks give life to the fantasy worlds, while others provide personality to the game’s characters and some of the best pieces leave players with their fondest RPG memories. Many composers are as legendary as the games their soundtracks appear in and here are my top 5 RPG composers:

1. -Nobuo Uematsu –

Uematsu found fame scoring the magical soundtracks of the Final Fantasy Series. Uematsu’s strength lies in his ability to convey emotion, through his music, in a variety of scenes and situations. His most memorable compositions usually include character themes and battle music. He consistently pushed the limits of RPG music throughout the years and has delivered some of the most recognised tracks in video game history.

Best works: Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX

2. -Yasunori Mitsuda-

As a young composer at SquareSoft, Mitsuda was given the responsibility of providing the soundtrack to Chrono Trigger. After producing one of the best RPG scores of its time, he went on to establish himself as one of the greats of the genre. His celtic and jazz inspired music tends to define the world of the game it appears in and makes every location both unique and exciting. Mitsuda’s soundtracks leave a lasting impression both on the game and on the player.

Best works: Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Xenosaga: Episode 1

3. -Yoko Shimomura –

After starting her career with SquareSoft before going freelance, Shimomura has provided lots of different melodies to many RPG series. Her style lends itself perfectly to grandiose main themes and adds a sense of fun and adventure to any RPG her music appears in. Shimomura has provided plenty of diversity in her soundtracks, ranging from traditional compositions such as the Kingdom Hearts series to more experimental ones found in the Parasite Eve series.

Best works: Legend of Mana, Kingdom Hearts, Parasite Eve, Radiant Historia

4. -Hitoshi Sakimoto-

Sakimoto’s style is complex and translates differently to each of his soundtracks. Able to provide great ambiance in his musical compositions, his scores convey mystery and intrigue to perfectly accompany the narrative of the RPG, such as his score for Vagrant Story. His more recent orchestral soundtracks found in the likes of Final Fantasy XII, have taken this style to a grander scale and the outcome has been magnificent.

Best works: Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy XII, Valkyria Chronicles

5. -Masashi Hamauzu –

Used to working with other composers on many soundtracks Hamauzu developed his own style working on the SaGa series. Hamauzu was the sole composer for Final Fantasy XIII and he produced his finest work. His beautiful soundtracks add enchanting melodies to their respective games, but when the need arises he creates epic musical pieces to compliment the expanding nature of RPG video game development.

Best works: SaGa Frontier 2, Unlimited Saga, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XIII

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4 Comments

Filed under Chrono Series, Final Fantasy Series, Kingdom Hearts Series, Music, Parasite Eve Series, SaGa Series, Top 5 Lists, Vagrant Story, Xenogears

4 responses to “Top 5 RPG Composers

  1. I’ve probably heard music from all of them but the second person. When I play video games, it’s fun to think of the people who put all that effort into making great music for video games. They do a great job. These games would not be quite the same without the wonderful music.

    • The music adds an extra layer to the presentation and immersion. Some scenes would not have been so memorable without great music accompanying them, you have to listen to Mitsuda’s work and you must play the two Chrono games.

  2. boiofthestreets

    I have a particularly strong personal interest in all of these composers, because I am aspiring to become one myself involved in media. And as tough I know it will be to create anything close to this standard, Nobuo Uematsu will always remain my first and most prominent figure for gathering interest into this field. Despite the recency of my even playing such games as Final Fantasy VII, I have already taken to learning some of the music on piano, as I know many fans do. I don’t think it would be ill of me to say that work such as this is hidden gold, and I humbly wish to assist in making sure the standard can continue in the future.

    • That is awesome that you are looking to get involved as a composer. Soundtracks to video games (and especially RPGs) make such a big difference! Good luck with your quest.

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