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Ryo Yamazaki

Ryo Yamazaki Date of Birth: July 1, 1972 (Niigata)
Education: Graduated from the University of Niigata
Instruments Played: Piano
Place of Residence: Tokyo
Joined Square: 1998
Official Web Site: Profile at Square Enix American Web Site


This biography was written by Terraguy exclusively for use at Square Enix Music Online. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission, as this is a violation of copyright.

Ryo Yamazaki was born on July 1, 1972 in Niigata, Japan, where he spent his youth and years at the University of Niigata. While at the university, he began taking piano lessons, and he also started becoming interested in music and sound programming. This would be the basis of his multiple jobs that he later took on. In 1996, Yamazaki joined a game company called Jaleco, where he worked as a composer, synthesizer operator, and sound programmer. Two years later, he joined Square, and he was employed as a synthesizer operator. He received his very first work for Square in 1998, which was as the synthesizer operator for the score of Chocobo's Dungeon (aka Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon 2). Here, he worked alongside Kumi Tanioka, Yasuhiro Kawakami, Tsuyoshi Sekito, and Kenji Ito. This was just the beginning, and while these initial collaborations didn't have much importance for his career, he was soon to meet a man he has been almost inseparable from since: Masashi Hamauzu.

Though Masashi Hamauzu's collaborations with Ryo Yamazaki are not as well known as certain other famous collaborations (e.g. Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata, or Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi), the results are just as appreciable. Their first collaboration they had together was in 1999 for Hamauzu's solo score for SaGa Frontier 2 Original Soundtrack. Here, they bonded and became friends, and this was what reunited them in Hamauzu's next solo score, the UNLIMITED: SaGa Original Soundtrack in 2002. They developed a unique production process while working on UNLIMITED: SaGa, whereby Hamauzu produced a rough draft for a piece, Yamazaki and Hamauzu analyzed it, and both worked together intensively to produce the final draft. Yamazaki also suggested that Mio Kashiwabara should be the diva for "Soaring Wings," having met her with Hamauzu at the Tokyo University of Art festival two years earlier.

Though most famous for these collaborations, Yamazaki has achieved fame elsewhere by synth operating for several immensely popular scores. One of these was the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack alongside Yasunori Mitsuda in 1999. It was principally Yamazaki that was responsible for its reputably good sound quality and realistic interpretation of instruments, and this was a wonderful achievement considering that it was a game for the PlayStation. He also worked as the synthesizer operator for Yôko Shimomura's score Kingdom Hearts in 2002. The quality of the synth, compared to Chrono Chross at least, was very strong once again. Yamazaki also worked alongside composer Naoshi Mizuta and fellow synthesizer operators Hirosato Noda and Hidenori Iwasaki in 2003 for the production of the Final Fantasy XI Vision of Zilart Original Soundtrack.

In 2003, Square Enix decided it was time to really test Ryo Yamazaki. Not only was he given the task of being the synthesizer operator of the whole Front Mission 4 Plus 1st Original Soundtrack, a four disc score, he was also given a composing role for the first time. Though he only composed eight tracks, most of which were short, "Rampage" is arguably the best action theme on the soundtrack. He certainly succeeded in creating fitting cut-scene music and he and Iwasaki made a wonderful team throughout the score. As 2005 will show, this was the turning point in his career, as he has been given many substantial roles since.

Not surprisingly, as a result of his collaborations with Masashi Hamauzu in the past, Yamazaki returned as synthesizer operator for Musashi: Samurai Legend at the start of the 2005, yielding yet more excellent results. Here, he also collaborated with Wavelink Zeal (Takayuki Iwai and Yuki Iwai) and Junya Nakano. Furthermore, he will work as the synthesizer operator on Hamauzu's solo score for Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, due for the release at the end of the year. His most exciting contribution this year will be the score for Front Mission Online, however, where he will work alongside Iwasaki once more in a composing role. Hopefully, this will see him receive the substantial composing role he deserves, and the fact Tsuyoshi Sekito will be arranging for the score makes it seem even more promising.

List of Game Projects

Note: This list only includes games that the composer has actively worked on, so those games that feature reprises of the composer's work from older titles are not included.

Key: C = Composer, A = Arranger, P = Performer, S = Sound Programmer, E = Sound Effects, M = Synthesizer Operator

Year Game Role
Sony PlayStation
1998 Chocobo's Dungeon (aka Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon 2) M
1999 SaGa Frontier 2 M
1999 Chrono Cross M
2003 Front Mission 1st M
Sony PlayStation 2
2001 Final Fantasy X M
2002 Kingdom Hearts M
2003 Final Fantasy XI Rise of the Zilart M
2003 Front Mission 4 M+C
2005 Musashi: Samurai Legend (aka Musashiden II BLADEMASTER) M
2005 Front Mission Online C+A
2005 Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII C+A
2003 Final Fantasy XI Rise of the Zilart M
2005 Front Mission Online C+A

List of Albums

Original Scores

Other Albums

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