Final Fantasy XIV’s composer reveals he was battling cancer last year while working on the game

    
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See, it's a fountain. It works like a fountain.

Final Fantasy XIV’s digital fan festival has been full of moments; plenty of game reveals, some brilliant developer dancing, and a moment where composer Masayoshi Soken took the stage to deliver a rendition of the track Civilizations complete with Otamatones. It also was the place where it was revealed that Soken had been fighting against cancer while working on music for the MMORPG.

The revelation was made at the end of the fan festival by both Soken and director Naoki Yoshida. Soken’s diagnosis was made last year and saw him spend months in the hospital; however, Soken had asked Yoshida to not tell any other members of the team in order not to worry them. Despite being in the hospital, the composer had continued to work for months on patch 5.3 and the song To the Edge at the time, and he says that the positive reaction from players to his work had given him a reason to live, along with the support from Yoshida, Square-Enix’s CEO, the company’s HR department, and the devs from the sound team.

During the discussion, Yoshida broke down in tears as he apologized to the devs for not revealing this to them sooner, while also saying that he was happy to have his friend back. Indeed, Soken is back; he was given the go-ahead by his doctors to make it to the fan festival as his cancer is almost in full remission. Soken further offered some personal thanks to players for the outpouring of support while promising to pay back that support with more music, and indeed the support keeps coming.

source: Twitter (1, 2), thanks to Danny for the tip!
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Danny Smith

Soken is a goddamn legend. He was alone in isolation during corona lockdown getting cancer treatment and didn’t just put out some of his best work for FF14 but people a lot more knowledgable about music than me swear the unconfirmed composer for FF16 is soken as well given how the theme shares all his signature style touchstones.

I’m just glad he is okay. The FFXIV devs are probably the most genuine, sincere and passionate developers working in videogames today and certainly without any compare in the cold, number crunching retention trap factory farm mindset of almost every modern mmo studio. To think about losing Soken is a big deal. It would probably have crippled Yoshida after losing one of his best friends to cancer last year and a lot of people either forget or don’t know that when he was given the hot mess of 1.0 the only person that supported the A Realm Reborn idea was Soken. Without these two, not to dimish the rest of the team mind you, final fantasy would still be firmly in the “20 years ago it used to be a respected IP” place it was after the decade of lightning when kids in japan only knew of it from the ds Theatrythmn games. To think he kept working with cancer alone in a hospital room “because i don’t want to let our audience down” -note not “consumers” but “audience”- is more than the players deserve.

The man is a treasure and i wasn’t at all surprised to see on every server if you go down to Costa Del Sol where a giant crab boss called Cancer appears it was being perma camped by people waving glowsticks yelling “DO IT FOR SOKEN!”. Because its not just a game where the devs care about the players. Its a game where the players care about the devs and thats rare to the point of barely existing anymore and thats a special thing.

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Rndomuser

Also, you forgot to link the best part of Fanfest involving Soken:

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SwordBreaker35

I will say like I always do I think FFXIV is the best mmo game to date and sure there is a few stuff I want to hate with FFXIV like it´s stupid housing system but that’s personal preference.

But the reason I think it´s the best of the best is becuse of the people behind the game do their damn best to make a good game for us all they always try to listen to the whole community and they really care about their game and fans.

Soken and Yoshida both are the rest of the team is legends I wish more developers took note of.

Shamefully the fan community has become a bit worse over the years but that how it always is.

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Vincent Clark

No game is perfect. The difference with FFXIV, however, is that when mistakes or missteps do happen (and they have), you won’t see the harsh negative backlash like you do with other MMORPGs. Mostly because of the humility, passion and genuine love for the game on display at these type of events.

Yoshi-P and his team have earned a lot of good will from the community (all deserved) and they continuously try to pay that back by pouring everything they have into the game. I mean…the man was in the fucking hospital with cancer and still kept going, kept creating, kept sharing his love of music and his love of the game.

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Rndomuser

Glad to see him feeling better. Also nice to see FFXIV developers behaving like real humans with real emotions on the scene, something I rarely seen from developers in US.

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Vincent Clark

The words humility and grace come to mind. Something developers in the U.S. could stand to learn.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

“To the Edge” is one of my favorite songs ever. That he composed it under these circumstances makes it that much more significant.

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Armsman

Glad to hear he’s in remission.. FUCK CANCER.

(And yes he did a phenomenal job with the music. It’s one thing that really sets FFXIV apart from the majority of other similar MMOs. The music they have really adds to the game and the immersion.)

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Eamil

Soken is a treasure. Not just his work as a composer but the man himself. I sincerely hope his cancer stays in remission and he lives a long life.

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blahlbinoa .

IMO, this is why this game is better than WoW at the moment. This is the second time Yoshi-P has cried on stage in front of everyone.

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Kickstarter Donor
Louie

It’s pretty crazy to see the reverence XIV players have for the development team, Yoshi-P and Soken in particular–the guys are practically celebrities for fans of the game. Compared to other MMOs nothing comes close. The emotion on the stage was something I wasn’t expecting, and it made me grateful for the game even more.

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SketchySeaBeast

You used to have guys like Chris Metzen that were their own form of rock star, but yeah, Yoshi-P and Soken are on entirely other level of love and support when you look at the modern MMO scene, and it’s well earned I do believe.

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Danny Smith

Honestly i think the fact they still call their subscribers things like “players” and “audience” and not “consumers” says a lot.

Tizmah
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Tizmah

This seems like an extremely hurtful and petty thing to make this about “better than WoW”. But, gamers like to be divisive I guess.

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Bruno Brito

extremely hurtful and petty

Sorry, what?

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Emiliano Lozada

They are still waiting for their first content patch. Emotions are high right now.