Nobuo Uematsu leaving Square Enix

Final Fantasy composer will establish his own independent studio, continue to work with the RPG publisher.

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TOKYO--Nobuo Uematsu, well-known composer of the soundtracks to the Final Fantasy series, has announced his plans to leave publisher Square Enix after nearly 20 years. In a newsletter sent to members of his fan club "Nobiyo no Shippo," Uematsu said that he will establish his own independent studio called Smile Please.

"I'll be leaving Square Enix as of October," reads the letter. "[But] it's not like I had any issues with Square Enix. I just wanted to work at my own pace. […] I'm leaving the company on good terms."

"The word 'quitting' has kind of a negative sound to it, so perhaps a better word would be 'graduating,'" Uematsu explains. "I'll continue to work with 'my old school,' writing music for games, doing concerts, and making more Black Mages albums," he said, referring to the recently formed Final Fantasy live rock band fronted by Uematsu. "I'll be working even harder than before--with the overseas market also in mind--for the future of those [projects], so thank you for your support."

Nobuo Uematsu joined Square in 1986 and quickly become known for his groundbreaking work on the Final Fantasy games. He also composed the music for most of Square's earliest game software, such as King's Knight and 3-D World Runner. His involvement with new Final Fantasy games has been declining in recent years, as he shared composing duties on Final Fantasy X, only composed a few tracks for Final Fantasy XI, and will contribute only one track to Final Fantasy XII.

On May 10, 2004, Uematsu hosted the first Final Fantasy concert to have taken place in the USA, which was held in Los Angeles. This December, he will release the second Black Mages album, which is currently planned for release in Japan only.

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