- Final Fantasy 16 is an action RPG developed by Creative Business Unit 3 and published by Square Enix.
- The game has launched to highly critical acclaim for its groundbreaking spectacle and boss fights, as well as its deep and satisfying combat system.
- According to the main composer of the game, Masayoshi Soken, Final Fantasy 16 uses a system called a “Mini Soken System” in your PS5 that “edits the music in real-time and adjusts the volume to match the style and speed of each individual’s gameplay.”
According to main composer Masayoshi Soken in an interview with Natalie, Final Fantasy 16 installs a “Mini Soken System” on your PS5. The Mini Soken System is a dynamic music program that changes the pacing and volume of the music in real-time to the player’s performance in combat. Soken-san says that the system is always working in real-time to ensure the music perfectly adapts to every situation.
Soken-san says, as translated by Genki_JPN on Twitter:
When you play FF16 a ‘Mini Soken’ is installed on your PS5 along with the software. The ‘Mini Soken’ edits the music in real time and adjusts the volume to match the style and speed of each individual’s gameplay.”
There are indeed moments in Final Fantasy 16 that hints at the use of such a feature, particularly during the game’s boss fights and set-pieces. One such example of this was in my second playthrough when I was fighting an early game boss during which I had a moment where the music lined up perfectly with the action happening on-screen.
Even if you play without trouble or it takes you a long time you can feel ‘good music plays at a good place’ and when the battle ends the music tightly closes matching the scene. This is possible because ‘Mini-Soken’ is working hard in real time.”
Dynamic music is something that has been used in plenty of games nowadays, it is when the music shifts depending on the action on display. This could be something like the Deus Ex or Payday games incorporating different “phases” of a song, where an alternate version of the song plays if you decide to play stealthily while a louder, more powerful version plays if you decide to go all-out assault.
It could also be something akin to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance or Devil May Cry, where the music gets more intense over time. In the case of the former, it introduces lyrics for every final phase of a boss fight while the latter progressively intensifies the music the better you play in any given encounter.
However, Soken-san said the Mini Soken System in Final Fantasy 16 works slightly differently than what we’re used to. He avoided going into detail as he suggested it becomes “a very academic story” so he just calls it the Mini Soken System.
If I have time, I can explain how the music of FF16 is played and how it works, but if I start talking about the details, it becomes a very academic story, so I call it the ‘Mini Soken System’ without permission and explain it.”
An interesting detail mentioned in the interview is that Final Fantasy 16 was originally intended to have 140 songs. According to composer Takafumi Imamura, the full game’s soundtrack ended up with 200 songs instead of the 140 intended earlier in development. Soken-san added that the number of songs gradually increased as they created songs meant exclusively for the cutscenes.
One of the standout aspects of Final Fantasy 16 is indeed its music and how it’s implemented into the game’s most important moments, especially as it elevates said moments to entirely new heights. It is certainly interesting to get a deeper look under the hood and see how it all comes together in-game to deliver the best experience possible for the players.
Final Fantasy 16 launched last month exclusively for the PlayStation 5 and has sold 3 million copies since its launch. While the game hasn’t met Square Enix’s personal sales expectations, the company expects FF16 to be a slow burn when it comes to its commercial performance.
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