Sebastian Deken calls in to discuss his book, Final Fantasy VI from Boss Fight Books, and how his musical background led to his unique approach in covering the game. We go over the Final Fantasy series’ history in the US and how the games have progressed over time. There is almost no gotcha journalism.
If you’re already a fan of the Boss Fight Books series, you know that each author tends to bring a unique approach to their installment. Some books revolve around deeply personal stories while others are a result of incredibly thorough investigative journalism. In Final Fantasy VI, Deken introduces yet another approach: a music-first exploration of one of the most popular RPGs of all time.
Deken brings the perspective of a well-studied professional musician to the challenge of capturing what makes Final Fantasy’s metronome tick, and he’s been reflecting on the magic of the third/sixth installment (we refresh this timeline in the episode) since the day fate placed a knowledgeable toy store sales associate in his father’s path just after the game’s North American release. His verdict? Final Fantasy VI’s music is much more than background noise.
“I pitched it as sort of a look at the game through the music and how the music functions within the game to advance the drama and to hold the game together, because the script is a disaster,” Deken joked during our discussion. “It’s just–it’s a trainwreck. There’s so much going on that it’s hanging by a thread, the story.”
During our chat, Deken explains how music helps move the game’s narrative throughout its notorious twists and turns in gameplay. The book explores these choices, the soundtrack’s later transition to live performances, and the composer’s achievements in bringing video game music into its own as a legitimate genre.
Final Fantasy VI is available in ebook format from Boss Fight Books with a paperback edition coming this summer.
Todd Mitchell is a US Midwest-based comedy writer and game developer with bylines at Weekly Humorist, Fanbyte, Slackjaw, End of the Bench Sports, and more. He’s the author of Inside Video Game Creation, the founder of CodeWritePlay, and host of the GameDev Breakdown podcast. Follow him on Twitter @Mechatodzilla.