Ultima Final Fantasy | The Ultimate Final Fantasy Podcast

This time, we finish up our review of Final Fantasy x-2. We discuss the design, music, and legacy of the game. We also move on to read, and discuss some of our listener reviews, and answer their questions about the game. Enjoy the finale!

FFX-2

 

Final Fantasy X-2 was released for the ps2 on March 13th, 2003 in Japan, on November 18th in america, and February 19th, 2004 in Europe. Later, an HD remaster would come for the Ps3 and finally the Ps4 just last year.

 

It was to be the first ever direct sequel to a main-series final Fantasy game. There was no plans for a sequel, but with the short video called Eternal calm (which was released with a special edition of FFX in Japan) was so well received by fans that they decided to continue X’s story. Although many people in the company were hesitant about doing a sequel to X (especially Kazushige Nojima), Yoshinori Kitase decided that his team was ready for a challenge.

 

Not only was their challenge to do a sequel, but to attempt to make a game centered entirely around female characters. The game was also attempting to go away from the Macho female characters most hollywood action movies star. This created a light-hearted feel for the entire game. A brain-hurting difference from the more somber Final Fantasy X.

 

There was also a purposeful change in theme for the game, FFX was all about gaining independence, while X2 would be about the consequences of independance.

 

The development time for X2 was very short compared to that of most FF games (according to Tetsuya Nomura), taking an estimated year-and-a-half less time than the development of X. This was due to all of the reuse of many character models, it’s not like they had to start from scratch.

 

The music would be composed by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi (composers for the much-maligned game “The Bouncer”). The most famous song from the game (one of 2 pop songs) was the ballad “1000 words” sung by sung by Kuni Koda in Japan, and Jade Villalon for the English edition.

 

X2 would go on to sell 1.94 million copies in Japan (the highest selling game of that year) and 1.85 Million in America. It was also well acclaimed (more so in Japan) for it’s departure from the Final Fantasy form, it’s focus on side-quests, it’s political background, and it’s overall uniqueness from anything players had seen before.

 

But I ask you, does unique really mean good?








STORY

 

So… The uh story starts out at a fucking terrible pop concert with the “what can I do for you?” song blaring out of our TV speakers. Someone who looks like Yuna is singing terribly and YRP comes to save...Yuna’s garment grid from a disgusting looking woman named Lablanc.

 

What is a garment grid?

YRP stands for Yuna, Rikku, and a new smoking hot emo chick named “Paine”, and they make up the Gullwings (y’know, not enough nicknames for the group). They are a group of sphere hunters searching the world for rare spheres… and stealing them from people who they think shouldn’t have them.

 

When Yuna finds a sphere with what looks like Tidus on it, she sphere hunts even harder for the missing pieces. Also on the sphere, a dangerous weapon, the vegnagun, is shown to be hidden somewhere in spira. A weapon powerful enough to destroy Spira, apparently.

 

In the midst of all the sphere hunting and the Leblanc Syndicate (functioning like a lame team rocket) attempting to snatch the spheres from under our heroes noses, are the political factions of the Youth league and New Yevon. The Youth league, young ruffian sphere hunters looking to educate the world about the past; New Yevon, holding onto the teachings of the faith that failed them in FFX. THese two fractions never really do any harm to one another or fight for power in any real world sense, but hey, that’s ffx2.

 

With the new threat of Vegnagun, Nooj (leader of the Youth League), sets off to destroy the Vegnagun, but is possessed by Shuyin (the Tidus-looking dude). Chasing after him, Yuna falls into the farplane where the Spirit of Shuyin reunites with whom he thinks is “Lenne”, apparently a famous popstar Shuyin was unable to save with the power of Vegnagun from the Zanarkand he belongs to… 1000 years in the past.

 

A quick aside, who is this shuyin guy and why does he look like Tidus?

(not actually explained in this game, but we can figure it out)

 

The reason Shuyin mistakes Yuna for Lenne is because Yuna is wearing her dress sphere. Soon Yuna begins to relive Lenne’s memories, and eventually uses her singing ability and songwriting skills to bring the people of Spira together for…… a concert.

 

After this, Yuna, The Lablanc syndicate, members of The Youth League, as well as members of New Yevon, team up to finally destroy Vegnagun and the spirit of Shuyin who tries to control it.

 

After all is said and done, Spira is saved, and The Youth League compromises with New Yevon.

 

The end?

 

Taken from neoseeker.com:

 

Good Ending

As Yuna is walking in the flower field in the Farplane, press "X" and Yuna will hear a whistle. She looks around to hear where it's coming from. That little Fayth guy will appear and tell you that he's heard your wish to see Tidus again. He will then ask you if you want to see him again and you have to answer. If you really hate Tidus and answer "I'm fine with the way it is," Yuna will tell the Fayth that she doesn't need to see him because he's in her heart. The Fayth will disappear and you'll just get the Normal Ending.

Assuming that you chose "I want to be with him" the Fayth will tell you that he'll try to bring him back, but there's no promises. Yuna will walk away and you'll see the cut scene for the Normal Ending. After the credits run through, you'll see the scene at the end of FFX where Tidus is in the water. This time, he'll emerge outside Besaid Island. He whistles and swims towards the shore, at which time the Celsius comes roaring in, and Yuna jumps out and embraces Tidus. Yuna asks if he's the real thing to which he answers, "what do you think?" Yuna nods in agreement. Paine and Rikku look on, smiling for their friend from the Celsius. As they're hugging,Wakka shouts out from the shore. Most of the population of the Island is there witnessing their reunion, including Lulu and the new baby Vidina. Yuna and Tidus agree to go meet them and start running towards the shore. Tidus tells Yuna that she's changed. She responds by saying that a lot of things have happened. Tidus yells out that he wants to hear about it. The camera zooms out to a fade.

Explanation? (a guy from reddit)

 

I think it's because the fayth felt indebted to Yuna because she released them from their dreaming at the end of X, and she also saved them at the end of X-2. Because the little boy/Bahamut asks Yuna if she wants to meet someone, and that's how you unlock the "Good" ending. So maybe he and the rest of Yuna's aeon's fayth dreamed up Tidus again? As kind of a thank you and compensation for Yuna's work.

I'm not too sure. This is just my theory of it.

Direct download: UFF_110_FFx2p2_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am MST

We have finally completed Final Fantasy X-2. Here are our thoughts on the game.

FFX-2

 

Final Fantasy X-2 was released for the ps2 on March 13th, 2003 in Japan, on November 18th in america, and February 19th, 2004 in Europe. Later, an HD remaster would come for the Ps3 and finally the Ps4 just last year.

 

It was to be the first ever direct sequel to a main-series final Fantasy game. There was no plans for a sequel, but with the short video called Eternal calm (which was released with a special edition of FFX in Japan) was so well received by fans that they decided to continue X’s story. Although many people in the company were hesitant about doing a sequel to X (especially Kazushige Nojima), Yoshinori Kitase decided that his team was ready for a challenge.

 

Not only was their challenge to do a sequel, but to attempt to make a game centered entirely around female characters. The game was also attempting to go away from the Macho female characters most hollywood action movies star. This created a light-hearted feel for the entire game. A brain-hurting difference from the more somber Final Fantasy X.

 

There was also a purposeful change in theme for the game, FFX was all about gaining independence, while X2 would be about the consequences of independance.

 

The development time for X2 was very short compared to that of most FF games (according to Tetsuya Nomura), taking an estimated year-and-a-half less time than the development of X. This was due to all of the reuse of many character models, it’s not like they had to start from scratch.

 

The music would be composed by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi (composers for the much-maligned game “The Bouncer”). The most famous song from the game (one of 2 pop songs) was the ballad “1000 words” sung by sung by Kuni Koda in Japan, and Jade Villalon for the English edition.

 

X2 would go on to sell 1.94 million copies in Japan (the highest selling game of that year) and 1.85 Million in America. It was also well acclaimed (more so in Japan) for it’s departure from the Final Fantasy form, it’s focus on side-quests, it’s political background, and it’s overall uniqueness from anything players had seen before.

 

But I ask you, does unique really mean good?







STORY

 

So… The uh story starts out at a fucking terrible pop concert with the “what can I do for you?” song blaring out of our TV speakers. Someone who looks like Yuna is singing terribly and YRP comes to save...Yuna’s garment grid from a disgusting looking woman named Lablanc.

 

What is a garment grid?

YRP stands for Yuna, Rikku, and a new smoking hot emo chick named “Paine”, and they make up the Gullwings (y’know, not enough nicknames for the group). They are a group of sphere hunters searching the world for rare spheres… and stealing them from people who they think shouldn’t have them.

 

When Yuna finds a sphere with what looks like Tidus on it, she sphere hunts even harder for the missing pieces. Also on the sphere, a dangerous weapon, the vegnagun, is shown to be hidden somewhere in spira. A weapon powerful enough to destroy Spira, apparently.

 

In the midst of all the sphere hunting and the Leblanc Syndicate (functioning like a lame team rocket) attempting to snatch the spheres from under our heroes noses, are the political factions of the Youth league and New Yevon. The Youth league, young ruffian sphere hunters looking to educate the world about the past; New Yevon, holding onto the teachings of the faith that failed them in FFX. THese two fractions never really do any harm to one another or fight for power in any real world sense, but hey, that’s ffx2.

 

With the new threat of Vegnagun, Nooj (leader of the Youth League), sets off to destroy the Vegnagun, but is possessed by Shuyin (the Tidus-looking dude). Chasing after him, Yuna falls into the farplane where the Spirit of Shuyin reunites with whom he thinks is “Lenne”, apparently a famous popstar Shuyin was unable to save with the power of Vegnagun from the Zanarkand he belongs to… 1000 years in the past.

 

A quick aside, who is this shuyin guy and why does he look like Tidus?

(not actually explained in this game, but we can figure it out)

 

The reason Shuyin mistakes Yuna for Lenne is because Yuna is wearing her dress sphere. Soon Yuna begins to relive Lenne’s memories, and eventually uses her singing ability and songwriting skills to bring the people of Spira together for…… a concert.

 

After this, Yuna, The Lablanc syndicate, members of The Youth League, as well as members of New Yevon, team up to finally destroy Vegnagun and the spirit of Shuyin who tries to control it.

 

After all is said and done, Spira is saved, and The Youth League compromises with New Yevon.

 

The end?

 

Taken from neoseeker.com:

 

Good Ending

As Yuna is walking in the flower field in the Farplane, press "X" and Yuna will hear a whistle. She looks around to hear where it's coming from. That little Fayth guy will appear and tell you that he's heard your wish to see Tidus again. He will then ask you if you want to see him again and you have to answer. If you really hate Tidus and answer "I'm fine with the way it is," Yuna will tell the Fayth that she doesn't need to see him because he's in her heart. The Fayth will disappear and you'll just get the Normal Ending.

Assuming that you chose "I want to be with him" the Fayth will tell you that he'll try to bring him back, but there's no promises. Yuna will walk away and you'll see the cut scene for the Normal Ending. After the credits run through, you'll see the scene at the end of FFX where Tidus is in the water. This time, he'll emerge outside Besaid Island. He whistles and swims towards the shore, at which time the Celsius comes roaring in, and Yuna jumps out and embraces Tidus. Yuna asks if he's the real thing to which he answers, "what do you think?" Yuna nods in agreement. Paine and Rikku look on, smiling for their friend from the Celsius. As they're hugging,Wakka shouts out from the shore. Most of the population of the Island is there witnessing their reunion, including Lulu and the new baby Vidina. Yuna and Tidus agree to go meet them and start running towards the shore. Tidus tells Yuna that she's changed. She responds by saying that a lot of things have happened. Tidus yells out that he wants to hear about it. The camera zooms out to a fade.

Explanation? (a guy from reddit)

 

I think it's because the fayth felt indebted to Yuna because she released them from their dreaming at the end of X, and she also saved them at the end of X-2. Because the little boy/Bahamut asks Yuna if she wants to meet someone, and that's how you unlock the "Good" ending. So maybe he and the rest of Yuna's aeon's fayth dreamed up Tidus again? As kind of a thank you and compensation for Yuna's work.

I'm not too sure. This is just my theory of it.

Direct download: UFF_109_FFx2p1_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am MST

This special minisode is brought to you by KupoCon! This is the fan event we've all been waiting for. Kaleb will for sure make the event, and we hope many of you are able to join us. We'll see you guys again on Saturday!

 

Check http://kupocon.com/ for up to date news, and tickets. Tickets will go on sale June 21st.

Direct download: KupoCon_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23pm MST

This time, we talk about the Eternal Calm. This small piece of Final Fantasy lore takes place between Final Fantasy X, and it's sequel Final Fantasy X-2. It shows the transformation of Yuna as a character, and serves as a twenty minute changing of clothes. We also talk FF with one of our longtime Patreon supporters, Kefka Palozza! Enjoy the listen!

Direct download: UFF_108_eternalcalmofkefkapaloza.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am MST

This week, we continue with our Spotlight on Nobuo Uematsu. Enjoy!

 

PART II

 

Last week we looked at the beginnings of Nobuo Uematsu’s career, from being hired at Square Co. to his first two masterpieces that we can agree on with his soundtracks of FF4 and FF6. As a reminder, this is a special kind of Spotlight, one where you sit back, and enjoy the music.

 

Let’s continue from 1995. Chrono Trigger, the one fucking game that we need to play but can’t because of the official order of things, was a gigantic project for Square, and is often cited with FF6 as the greatest RPG game ever. Most of the music was composed by veteran composer Yasunori Mitsuda, but Nobuo would leave his mark on the classic game as well, composing 8 of the tracks for the game. Here’s the haunting theme “Silent Light”:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T4WB2zfmps

 

No, no no no. Silent LIGHT. Not Silent night… Jesus.. That was Josef Mohr.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ccv48ZiX1I&index=10&list=PLTHOcnhIuPOvEJd8WJI6kaJbQG0NeKtaY

 

1996 would be kind-of a dud year for Uematsu. The little known game “Dynami Tracer” would be his only solo work in 1996, and it’s definitely not one of his better soundtracks… But we wouldn’t wanna keep you wanting! Here’s a little piece called...music factory.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-T4JU01UoA&list=PL70567EDAFF96BD39&index=3

 

We’re not gonna even bother with his next work, contributing to the album for Front Mission: Gun Hazard with a half a billion of other Square composers. His next game was 1997’s fucking Final Fantasy 7. We can’t give you just one. Here’s his band, the black mages’ version of perhaps the most popular FF7 song One Winged Angel:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHzEaKFqboI

 

One of the most beautiful pieces from the game, Aerith’s theme, taking a cue from Terra’s theme in the last game, here’s an orchestral version of that song:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU0TcnsLop8

 

We can’t forget Kaleb’s favorite. This is Cosmo Canyon.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBk58XDx5gY

 

His next game would be that of FInal Fantasy 8. Nobuo has stated that with 8’s soundtrack, he worked hard to reflect the charcter’s emotions at certain parts of the game. It would be one of the more successful FF soundtracks with what is now as of 2016 the second-biggest video game music single ever, Faye Wong’s “Eyes on Me” selling over 500,000 copies.

 

Now… Final Fantasy VIII… This is a tough one because neither of us really care for the soundtrack of FF8. There’s something about the tone of the instrumentation and the terrible engrish lyrics of “eyes on me” that leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths, but no one can deny the power of the opener, Liberi Fatali!!!!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4MMhY4RyxQ

 

Eh, fuck it, we’ll give you “Eyes on Me”.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANw53vQFJeM

 

Along this stream of Final Fantasy games, the often-underappreciated Final Fantasy IX would follow. FF9 would take a departure from the previous games with the soundtrack offering a more medieval scottish highlands inspired milieu. Nobuo would do the entire 160 tracks on his own for this game. Here’s one of them, “The Place I’ll return to someday”:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OK29BoxomE

 

We can’t forget “Rose of May”...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKw3eJV6XFM

 

Along with these classic pieces, Nobuo wrote yet another J-pop single to go with the game. This the greatest cover of “Melodies of Life” ever made:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wffHREGnTiA

 

The same year as FF9, the year 2000, would be Nobuo’s first foray into feature films, where he would compose the main theme for the animated film “Ah! My Goddess: The Movie”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2VTbUCek8E

 

The first FInal Fantasy game without a soundtrack composed entirely by Uematsu himself would be the PS2 smash hit…. You guessed it! Final Fantasy X. One would guess that he may have been a bit burned out from FF9. In the end Nobuo ended up composing 51 of the game’s 89 tracks, including the Joe favorite “To Zanarkand”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3eQuEm4R10

 

One of the most commonly performed songs by The Black Mages is the incredibly zany “Fight with Seymour”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87e5qQnVerI

 

Can’t forget a Kaleb favorite, “Auron’s Theme”.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaAhtI1_HU8

Oh, and one of the decent theme songs for a Final Fantasy, probably because it wasn’t awkwardly forced into the english language, here’s “Suteki Da Ne”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikunVjaG2hw

 

Final Fantasy XI, despite the arguments between Kaleb and I on whether or not he composed the soundtrack for the game, was composed in large part by him. NOT THE EXPANSIONS, but the original release. Here’s one of his tracks, “Ronfaure”:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ-ZDsFUEP8

 

Another insanely cool track from FF11 from Uematsu is “Despair”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joxCId9SvAU

 

...And one of the best-ever FF songs, one that Joe actually likes. This is the epic “Distant Worlds”.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzbzAXKCn-Q

 

Between 2003 and 2004, Uematsu seems to have been put on the backburner a little big, scoring for minor games like Hanjuku Hero Tai 3D and Egg Monster Hero, and only contributing one track for Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced during that time… Here’s the Main Theme:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqGNeqc26go

 

In 2004 Square veteran Hironobu Sakaguchi famously quit Square-Enix to create Mistwalker Studios, and in a way Nobuo left with him. Wanting to work on his live performances, his band the black mages, and seeking other opportunities creatively, Nobuo decided he was going to forge ahead as an independant contracter, and since that departure he’s returned to the FF series 3 times. For the soundtrack of Advent Children he built on his previous themes from FFVII, with FF12 he gave us another pop song I really don’t have the stomach for right now, and with FFXIV… Well, despite creating a lot of tracks for the original release, A Realm Reborn got rid of much of the original music from FF14. His biggest recent contribution to the FF series is probably the song “Answers” from the tragic end of the original game.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMhcyzQ7mKw

 

Nobuo Uematsu has gone on primarily to work with his old friend “The Gooch” on the games Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and The Last Story. All of which feature great soundtracks.  Here’s one from Blue Dragon, titled Waterside

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAzwlwkcFaU

 

And here’s another from his non-Square Work. Here’s the terrifying Howl of the Departed from Lost Odyssey:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmCp20CW-Pw

 

Nobuo Uematsu's touch can be felt upon the whole series. Without him FInal Fantasy wouldn't be the same, and would be worse off for it. Nobuo Currently works hard at his live performances and various little composing projects for games and movies that he decides to work on. He’s doing so much, we can’t even cover it in a two-parter, but it seems he won’t be doing a full FF soundtrack anytime soon We are grateful to him and his work. What say we close with a gorgeous piece from “The Last Story” and close the book on our Spotlight of Nobuo Uematsu? This is “Lost Time”:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agAlOe0PoxY

 

Direct download: UFF_nobuospotlight2_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am MST

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