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Yuzo Takahashi

Yuzo Takahashi Date of Birth: March 11, 1979 (Kariya)
Instruments: Piano
Employment: Joe Down Studio
Game Works: Chocobo Tales, Chocobo Dungeon, Culdcept Saga


Note: This biography was written exclusively for Square Enix Music Online by Chris and is under copyright.

Yuzo Takahashi is a composer at the Hokkaido-based music production company Joe Down Studio. He is part of a small team of musicians and sound designers under direction by Shoji Tomii that work on video games, advertisements, ringtones, television programmes, and more. He came to attention in 2006 when he composed the background music used in three stages on the collaborative score Culdcept Saga. Keeping with the tradition of the series, he created two pieces of background music and a battle track for each stage. He instantly demonstrated his musical versatility and maturity with lush oriental themes for the windy harbor Clanovia, the ambient and techno blends for the dark castle Belzelback, and climactic electronic fusions for the great temple Omengald.

The same year, Takahashi was recruited to score the DS spinoff Chocobo and the Magic Picture Book, known as Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales overseas. The soundtrack was primarily composed of renditions of favourites from Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy VII selected by the game developer h.a.n.d. Most arrangements were straightforward given the DS couldn't permit much exuberance, but Takahashi nevertheless worked closely with synthesizer operator Yasuhiro Yamanaka to achieve the desired fantasy atmosphere. Takahashi nevertheless received opportunities to demonstrate his musical creativity by creating some novel arrangements of the Chocobo theme. He was also asked to compose the theme for the villain Irma, designed by Toshiyuki Itanaha, and blended his own musical character with the lyrical influences of Nobuo Uematsu.

Takahashi was able to be more ambitious in his score for Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Labyrinth of Forgotten Time, known as Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales overseas. He arranged a new selection of Final Fantasy music to carefully match the feel of the scenes they were used in. This resulted in stylistically diverse creations such as serene acoustic setting themes, dangerous orchestral action tracks, light-hearted ditties with humorous sound effects, and even some pieces integrating rock or electronica. He also ensured he added as much fun and novelty to the traditional dungeon crawler as possible. As the game was made for the Wii, he was able to stream convincingly synthesized compositions without technical restrictions. The soundtrack release was well-received, though did not featured all of Takahashi's arrangements.

Most recently, Takahashi has worked on the latest Chocobo titles released for the DS. The port of Chocobo Dungeon represented a challenge since the DS couldn't offer the same audio quality of the Wii. Takahashi meticulously remade all the arrangements to give a bright and crisp quality when heard on the DS speakers. In some cases, the arrangements turned out even better on the DS. For Chocobo Tales' sequel, Takahashi was more ambitious with his approaches to Final Fantasy arrangements and even integrated the Chocobo theme into two expansive orchestral opening and ending themes. He also composed four suites of music each featuring three thematically interlinked but stylistically contrasting movements. He was pleased that game designers were adventurous enough to give him the opportunity to create a unique musical course for the series.

List of Relevant Game Projects

Year Game / Role Console
2006 Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales / Chocobo and the Magic Picture Book (h.a.n.d. / Square Enix)
Composition ("Irma's Theme") / Arrangement of Final Fantasy Music
2006 Culdcept Saga (Omiya Soft / Bandai Namco)
Composition with Kenji Ito, Joe Down Studio
Xbox 360
2007 Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Dungeon / Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Labyrinth of Forgotten Time (h.a.n.d. / Square Enix)
Composition ("Irma's Theme", "Magic of the Picture Book") / Arrangement of Final Fantasy Music
2008 Chocobo and the Magic Picture Book: The Witch, The Maiden, and The Five Heroes (h.a.n.d. / Square Enix)
Composition / Arrangement of Final Fantasy Music
2008 Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Labyrinth of Forgotten Time (port) (h.a.n.d. / Square Enix)
Arrangement of Final Fantasy music from Chocobo Dungeon

List of Covered Albums

Album Title Catalog No.
Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon Labyrinth of Forgotten Time Original Soundtrack SQEX-10104
Chocobo and the Magic Books Original Soundtrack SQEX-10134/5
Chocobo and the Magic Book Original Soundtrack, The Best of iTunes
Culdcept Saga Original Soundtrack VGCD-0064