1st Final Fantasy Concert in North America

Feb 18th 2004
SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS “DEAR FRIENDS – MUSIC FROM FINAL FANTASY–” CONCERT AT THE WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
FINAL FANTASY Debuts First Orchestral Concert in North America Celebrating Video Game Music


LOS ANGELES, Calif., (February 18, 2004) - Square Enix U.S.A., Inc. (“Square Enix U.S.A.”), the publisher of Square Enix™ interactive products in North Americaannounced today that they will present the first FINAL FANTASY® symphony concert in the U.S. on Monday, May 10, 2004, at the prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Calif. The performance will feature music from Square Enix's world-renowned FINAL FANTASY video game series, performed by the acclaimed Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. This exciting event will be taking place during the week of E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), the largest interactive entertainment trade show in the U.S.

“FINAL FANTASY's award-winning scores have captivated gamers worldwide and now we have an opportunity to share some of the series' most memorable melodies with our fans and concertgoers for the first time in the U.S.,” said Jun Iwasaki, president and CEO, Square Enix U.S.A. “We are thrilled to bring this event to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The audience will be able to experience the emotionally-moving and powerful scores that have made melodies of FINAL FANTASY the finest in games.”

Uematsu will create the score for the two-hour concert. Featuring a full orchestra and a 32-person choir, this concert will mark the first of its kind in the U.S. A dedicated Web site featuring composer Uematsu, the “favorite FINAL FANTASY music” fan survey and concert information can be found at http://www.square-enix-usa.com/uematsu. Additional information about the concert including ticket sales, prices and on-sale dates will be announced at a later date.

“AT&T Wireless' collection of downloadable content through the mMode service is industry leading. Our partnership with AT&T Wireless in the U.S. allows us to further extend the FINAL FANTASY franchise to today's mobile community,” said Yoichi Wada, president of SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. “Not only will our fans play FINAL FANTASY games in front of a TV or computer, but they will now be able to carry around their favorite characters on their phones. The wireless phone market presents an enormous opportunity for growth and we plan to continue to expand our offerings in this space.”

The first FINAL FANTASY concert was held in Japan in February 2002, performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Led by famed conductor Taizo Takemoto (New Japan Philharmonic), the sold-out concert was held at the Tokyo International Forum with over 5,000 guests. Building upon the success of the first concert, Square Enix recently announced a six-city, seven-show concert series titled “Tour de Japon – music from FINAL FANTASY–,” which will be held this coming March and April in Japan.

Video game music has become increasingly popular in the last few years — with the technology available in today's gaming consoles, video game music has been able to move beyond the stereotypical blips and bleeps of its predecessors and has become more sophisticated. Music in games today plays an integral role, enhancing the gamers' overall gameplay experience. While still a growing market, video game soundtracks are now sold in major outlets and feature a variety of genres including rock, hip-hop, electronica, classical compositions and songs performed by popular artists. The FINAL FANTASY soundtracks, which are original compositions, have grown to such popularity and the series' veteran composer Nobuo Uematsu was named as one of the “Innovators” in Time Magazine's “Time 100: The Next Wave – Music” feature. Square Enix hopes to pioneer the appreciation and awareness of not only its musical creations, but also video game music throughout the industry. Currently available exclusively on America Online's Radio@ Network, the FINAL FANTASY radio station features 200 tracks from the top-selling FINAL FANTASY video games and is available for listeners on Radio@AOL, Radio@AOL for Broadband and Radio@Netscape under the “Soundtracks & More” category. This is the first ever radio station on the AOL Radio@ Network dedicated to a single video game franchise.

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