March 28, 2008, Square Haven has ceased updates indefinitely. What you see below is an archived version.

Square Haven Features
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The Pioneers | Interviews | Miscellaneous

The Pioneers

The Pioneers series of articles offers highlights from the work of prolific creators within the Square Enix sphere.

The Pioneers: Junya Nakano

Junya NakanoAugust 1, 2007 Junya Nakano started out as a music composer for Konami's arcade titles and began composing for Square during the 16-bit era. Since then, he has contributed to such soundtracks as Final Fantasy X, Musashi Samurai Legend, and Project Sylpheed. Square Haven takes a look back at the music composer's career thus far, including samples from nine of his game soundtracks chosen by Totz of Square Enix Music Online. more »

The Pioneers: Yoko Shimomura

May 6, 2007 Yoko Shimomura's parents wept with sadness when the young composer decided to take a job at Capcom following her college graduation. Today she is one of the most prominent composers of game music, and her songs from the Kingdom Hearts series have been performed by live orchestras in Japan, Australia, and the United States. Here, Square Haven takes a look at the musician's influential career thus far, supplemented by selections from her soundtracks. more »

The Pioneers: Masashi Hamauzu

May 5, 2007 Masashi Hamauzu is a classically trained musician and vocalist. Inheriting the talents of his father, an opera singer, the composer lent his voice to the chorus of "One Winged Angel" in Final Fantasy VII, and years later was selected to compose music for the game's long-awaited sequel. Here, ten music samples highlight the composer's career thus far, from his interning position at Square on up to his preparations for Final Fantasy XIII. more »

The Pioneers: Hitoshi Sakimoto

April 24, 2007 Hitoshi Sakimoto is currently one of the most prolific music composers in the game industry. He began his career working with Quest on the Ogre Battle series, and later joined many of the same core collaborators for Square games Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. From Medieval strategy RPG's to sci-fi sidescrollers, the composer maintains a complex yet recognizable style across his diverse and influential titles. more »

The Pioneers: Ted Woolsey

March 20, 2007 Ted Woolsey was the primary translator and US producer of Squaresoft's role-playing games during the Super Nintendo era. He joined Square in 1991, and took the localization of console games to a new level. His translations, influenced by his studies in Japanese literature, raised the standards for storytelling in interactive entertainment. more »

The Pioneers: Hiroki Kikuta

February 27, 2007 A professional writer, illustrator, and game producer, Hiroki Kikuta is best known as the musical innovator behind Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, and Soukaigi. After several years of silence, the composer has returned recently, both with a self-published album entitled Lost Files and in Dawn of Mana, where his Seiken Densetsu themes have been remixed for the Playtastion 2 console. more »


Square Haven's Q&A sessions are an opportunity to hear the points-of-view of various creative individuals directly involved in the videogame industry.

Piano Squall brings tempest of music

July 31 , 2007 Various have tried, many have failed. But one, Michael Gluck, has made success out of video game music performance and recently released his album GAME--Game and Animé Music Emotions--to the delight of connoisseurs and convention goers everywhere. Square Haven recently talked to Gluck, who frequently takes on the guise of "Piano Squall", to talk with him about his musical career and his most recent accomplishment. more »

Conceptual Design: A Conversation with Christian Lorenz Scheurer

July 17 , 2007 Christian Lorenz Scheurer is a concept artist and illustrator whose first published book is entitled Entropia: A Collection of Unusually Rare Stamps. In the realm of games, he has contributed during the conceptual stages of Final Fantasy IX and Lost Odyssey. Today Square Haven talks with the visual artist and filmmaker about a few of his experiences designing videogames and motion pictures. more »

Where Angels Fear to Tread: A Conversation with Hiroki Kikuta

June 9 , 2007 Hiroki Kikuta is the music composer behind Squaresoft action RPG's Secret of Mana and Seiken Denstesu 3. Just as his electronic music for Square left a lasting impression on the era of 16-bit games, his live orchestral tracks found in Soukaigi and Koudelka are among the most original songs created for the Playstation console. Today Square Haven talks with the composer and game designer about his latest album, Lost Files, and the future of Hiroki Kikuta. more »

Chain of Memories: A Conversation with Amanda Katsurada

May 19 , 2007 Amanda Jun Katsurada has contributed to the production of such Square games as Legend of Mana, Vagrant Story, and Kingdom Hearts as a localization specialist. Born in Gunma, Japan and graduating from Penn State University, she has studied archeology in Athens, and covered motor sports events for Japanese rally magazines. We caught up with Amanda to learn about her background in translation and interpretation, and to discuss her experiences in the videogame industry. more »

Breakbeat Alternative: A Conversation with Riow Arai

May 5 , 2007 Riow Arai, the Tokyo-born techno and hip hop musician, trained himself on the synthesizer. Beats and edits on his seven solo albums are mixed and mastered by Riow Arai--same goes for the soundtrack to Square's Front Mission Alternative. We caught up with Riow to talk about the development of his style and his distinctive contribution to videogame music. more »

Localization Tactics: A Conversation with Alexander O. Smith

April 27 , 2007 Alexander O. Smith is a localization specialist who translates Japanese media through his independent company, Kajiya Productions. His projects for Square include Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII. We touched base with Alex to learn more about his career in the game industry, and his most recent projects adapting Square Enix games for the English-language market. more »

Voices and Choices: A Conversation with Shawn Lee

January 25 , 2007 Shawn Lee is blessed with an abundance of musical gifts. During 2006 he was burning the midnight oil in recording studios all over London to furnish listeners with a dazzling array of sounds. Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra released Strings and Things in February on Ubiquity Records. His eagerly awaited album Soul Visa, previously available only in Japan, emerged in April, featuring the Witchita-born composer's very own vocal talents. Today he is here to talk about Bully Original Soundtrack, his videogame music debut. more »

Setting the Stage for Balthier: A Conversation with Gideon Emery

January 14 , 2007 Gideon Emery hails from Windsor, Berkshire and studied theatre at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He has acted extensively in South Africa, on stage, screen and radio, and received the National Vita Award for Comedy for his performance in the play Heel Against the Head. Today he is here to talk about his role in Final Fantasy XII as the sky pirate Balthier Bunansa. more »

Not Afraid To Be Strong: A Conversation with Kari Wahlgren

January 6 , 2007 Kari Wahlgren gave voice to such anime characters as Haruka of Cartoon Network's FLCL and Robin of Witch Hunter Robin. This afternoon she is talking to Square Haven about some of her experiences portraying two of Square Enix's most memorable recent characters: Final Fantasy XII's Lady Ashe and Dirge of Cerberus's Shelke. more »


Other random crap we did over the years.

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