Battle Bards Episode 168: Big bad boss battles of FFXIV

I have no idea, okay, guy? I don't know how you want to live your life or why you pick the ways you do. That's up to you.

Final Fantasy XIV fans know full well how Square Enix loves to dote on its huge and often bizarre boss battles — and includes the lengthy themes to match! This week, the Battle Bards have formed a light party to tackle several of the more unique and memorable boss themes from this MMO. Will they loot a few favorites in the process?

Battle Bards is a the world’s first, best, and only MMO music podcast. Biweekly episodes alternate between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 168: Big bad boss battles of FFXIV (or download it) now:

Episode 168 show notes

  • Intro (feat. “Alexander,” “Bismark,” and “Garlean Leader”)
  • “Shinryu”
  • “Omega Sigmascape”
  • “Titania”
  • “Sephirot”
  • “Calcabrina”
  • “Susano”
  • “Eden Titan”
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener note from Smuggler-in-a-YT
  • Jukebox picks: “Towards the Eternal Glory” from Code Vein, “Aquarius” from Castlevania III (Famicom), and “The Opened Way” from Shadow of the Colossus
  • Outro (feat. “Nidhogg”)

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Susano’s theme is definitely best experienced in-game.

It starts jovial and light… Like it was mentioned, almost like a ‘town’ theme. Susano isn’t taking things seriously so he’s playing around. Humoring the Warrior of Light in their duel.
The 2nd part which plays exclusively for the phase transition draws back a lot of the music because Susano steps outside of the battlefield. He grows larger than you and looms. It’s him testing the WoL in the moment, to see if he might be worth the effort next.
That third part which takes the initial theme and ramps it up, ‘At Both Ends’ is him taking the fight seriously now after you finish the phase transition. It’s him saying the kids gloves are off and he’s ready to go all in.

And Sigmascape’s music has a lot of FF6 to match in with the bosses, such as the theme played here! ‘Decisive Battle’, which we’ve actually heard before played with the Ultros+Typhon fight for instance. Good track nonetheless… And I don’t blame Justin for mixing it up either. I swore the theme was from 9, which is definitely a hard return to form, but eventually remembered 6 as well. I just don’t have a ‘Syl’ over my shoulder to correct me immediately!

Though I find your lack of faith in Brute Justice… disturbing. But I’ll give you all a pass on that one…
Or the NieR Raid music since… well… That is a dangerous one to try and even pick from! And not exactly fair to the rest of FF14’s themes. Besides, Yoko Taro said we should get 156 parts for the raid, so… we’ll have plenty of music to pick from! (or we could only wish….)


You’re right that the Decisive Battle plays for Ultros+Typhon fight that is part of the Hildibrand quest series…

The one from the Sigmascape fights is a slight remixing of that, mostly in that it’s an arrangement for a variety of different instruments – you can hear drums at the start along with guitars, and then it shifts into a piano section, and a little bit into it you can hear strings playing the melody before the midi-tone – that sounds to me like a keyboard synthesizer type sound (still layered with guitars and drums) – picks up the melody again.

Compare that to the Ultros fight that uses a midi-tone style that is very reminiscent of the original version exclusively throughout. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest the Ultros one may actually be the original version from FF6 in the Ultros fight simply ported straight into FFXIV.

And, befitting a remix of the track, they “remixed” the name and call it A Battle Decisively (the actual name of the track if you’re looking for it in Spotify or iTunes or anywhere else they have the OST).


What’s interesting about the The Worm’s Tail (the second half of the Shinryu song, the first part is The Worm’s Head) transition is that it is so reliant on the visual that comes with it in-game. You’ve been fighting the giant dragon, and all of a sudden he goes “The heavens are too small a field for our dance. Let us transcend this mortal coil!” and then flies beneath the platform and bursts through it, and it’s at that moment that the song shifts to the more triumphant sounding one while you are clinging on to the side of this massive dragon as he carries you into an almost ethereal, god-realm like battle-field.

Out of context it’s a nice build-up to more triumphant music, but is otherwise not terribly remarkable. In-game, it’s an amazing “oh wow” moment reinforced by the music.

Also, you mentioned leitmotifs for that part of the track. The first track, The Worm’s Head, also uses them, though they might not be as easily noticeable. It’s a variation on the song Scale and Steel, which is from when Shinryu first appears in the game and fights Omega…and that song is also using a leitmotif (that carries through into the track from this episode) that can heard in both the Fractal Continuum (Hard) dungeon as well as in the overworld music for Azys Lla.

Now, for What Angel Wakes Me – heh, don’t let the cutesy sound fool you, it’s almost certainly a fairly morbid song. If you look at the lyrics it can very easily be interpreted as being about dying and coming to the pixies to play with them (which is, ultimately how pixies are “born” in that world, they are the souls of children that have died that interact with aether in a way that leads to the birth of a new pixie that is influenced by the aether the soul interacts with), or is possibly about those that they make their “playthings” through their tricks and magicks (such as the leafmen all over the zone). Or both.

The worst part about Dancing Calcabrina is that it doesn’t play through the entire fight…like it ends maybe 10% into the fight and goes into the standard Heavensward boss battle theme, which is just a shame in my opinion. It’s pretty short fight too, so I don’t think it would overstay its welcome as it would were it a trial/primal fight.

The Susano (Revelations is the first part, Riot is the second part) tracks I think have the same thing going as the Shinryu one – there’s a visual element (and auditory, the spoken lines from the boss, actually, as mentioned he is chatty) that complement and complete the song. I don’t find it that listenable outside of the game, but do it enjoy it when its part of the context of the fight.

With Landslide, I agree on the energy, and I like listening to it as part of the fight cause of its energetic and fast paced nature, but I don’t really like listening to it outside of the game – unlike the more recently released Return to Oblivion song that came with the final boss of the latest 8 man raid, I absolutely love that song and how it remixes leitmotifs from both Footsteps in the Snow (another song I love) and Oblivion, as well as the Final Fantasy Prelude song (that scale that goes up and down) into something new that I think just really, really works.