The Final Fantasy XIV community has outdone itself this time, as over 1,000 players join with professional singers to perform a version of the game’s harmonic ballad, Close in the Distance, in honour of long-serving composer Masayoshi Soken, who worked on the game while recovering from cancer.
Alex Moukala, a music producer who performs updated and remixed versions of famous videogame tracks via their YouTube channel, organised 1,000 FFXIV players, along with professional singers and special guests, to record Soken’s song, which appears in the Final Fantasy XIV expansion Endwalker. Players performed their individual, solo tracks, and sent them to Moukala who arranged them into a rousing new choral version. You can listen to the entire song, and watch its accompanying video, below.
In 2021, at the close of the Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Fest, Masayoshi Soken, who is also working on the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI, and previously created music for the Drakengard series, announced that throughout 2020, he had been battling cancer. Working alongside Square-Enix executive officer Naoki Yoshida, during his seven months in hospital, Soken composed the climactic song for Final Fantasy XIV’s Shadowbringers expansion, titled To The Edge.
“I didn’t want to just sit there and do nothing, and neither did Yoshida-san and neither did our CEO,” Soken explained at the 2021 Fan Fest. “And so they worked it out that we could have a special arrangement while I was in the hospital. Seeing the reactions of all the players around the world, it helped me conquer this cancer”.
Moukala hopes to use the community version of Close in the Distance to raise money for charities, explaining that each time fans watch the video, they will “contribute to having a positive impact”.
“In honour of Soken’s story,” they write, “I’ll do my best to assure that this video’s monetisation goes to some good charities”.