Interview with Eric Pavey, Cinematic Artist from Final Fantasy IX

Hey, Y’all!

Sorry it’s been a while – I’ve been spending the last few weeks preparing for a Pathfinder campaign that I’m about to begin GMing (and, admittedly, watching a TON of Yu Yu Hakusho, which I just finished up last week.  It’s my favorite TV show, by the way.  Highly recommended.  I’ll be doing a post about its similarities with FFIX at some point, I’m sure, as I feel I love both pieces of media for the same reasons).

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Eric Pavey, who worked on Final Fantasy IX back in the day.  I asked him about the game design industry, the Final Fantasy series, and assorted tips and tricks for you graphic-designers-in-training out there.  (Also, he told me that he had some cool exclusive FFIX-related content, and I’ve been trying to get in touch with Squeenix’s legal department, and they have not returned any of my calls.  Annoying).  Here we go!

FFIXBlog –  Do you play video games?  If so, did you play FFIX?  What did you think of it?
EP – I’ve played games my whole life (starting with the arcades in the late 70’s early 80’s).  I did play FFIX.  Honestly I wasn’t a huge fan of the series at the time:  I’d played quite a bit of FFVII, and some of VIII, but having to wait for the spell sequences over and over got really tiring for me 😛  While working on FFIX, I actually convinced the designers that the “American consumer didn’t want to see the same pre-rendered sequence over and over”, so they actually let you skip them after the first watch.  I was pretty proud of that 🙂
FFIXBlog –  I’ve witnessed that there’s still a thriving community of FFIX fans out there – why do you think that is?  What’s so special about it?
EP – Personally it seemed much more ‘fantastical’ than other others, that seemed more futuristic:  The whole look (more stylized\cartoony) and setting (fantasy world) was more approachable to me.
FFIXBlog –  How long have you been working with video games/video game art?
EP – I started professionally in 1995, so that means this is year 18.
FFIXBlog –  How did you break into the industry?
EP – I got my degree in Graphic Design, but grew up playing video-games, and had dabbled in CG for a while.  When I finally figured out people actually get paid to make video-games I went back to school to be an ‘animator’, and never looked back.
FFIXBlog –  On MobyGames, where I found the credits, it says that you were part of the “Field Map Graphics” team.  What exactly does that entail?
EP – I actually have no idea 🙂  I was part of the cinematics department:  We worked on all the pre-rendered sequences in the game.  Specifically I did a lot of the intro movies, and worked on one of the big climax movies.
FFIXBlog –  What programs/languages did you use to do your work?
EP – At the time, Alias PowerAnimator, v7 StudioPaint, and Maya v1, all SGI machines.
FFIXBlog –  I know that much of the work on FFIX was done in Hawaii.  Was that where you were?  Regardless, what was working with Square like?
EP – Downtown Honolulu, across from the Aloha Tower Marketplace, at the top of a beautiful skyscraper.  The whole game team was there, along with the film team working on “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within”.  Working at square was an amazing experience:  90% of the team was from Japan, and to be immersed in that culture was a big enjoyable eye-opener.  Plus, to be paid good money to work in Hawaii was a deal of a lifetime.
FFIXBlog –  Any advice for aspiring video game artists?
EP – There is so munch competition, you need to love this line of work.  You need to do it all, day, every day.  Find who is better than you, strive for that level of quality, and then crush it.
FFIXBlog –  Do you still have any art/anything from that era that you would like to (or have the rights to) release via FinalFantasyIX (dot) com?
EP – I do, but I have no idea about the legality of releasing it 🙁
Many thanks to Eric for taking the time to answer my questions!  If y’all have any questions for him, I could definitely get in touch with him again 🙂
See y’all soon!

Got a Final Fantasy IX Guide, Now Rendered Useless Due to the Absence of PlayOnline Content?

Nope.  There’s a site that hosts all the info that has been taken off of the official PlayOnline site.

Check it out!

Also, Sorry about the LP taking so long – I’ve been doing a lot of Awesomenauts-playing and, uh, drinking recently.  I’ve finished editing the audio, though, so it’s in its final stages 🙂

FFVI Remix Album – Balance and Ruin Review – Disc 5

Howdy y’all, and welcome to the review of the LAST DISC of “Balance and Ruin”.  I’m super excited;  this is a bonus disc, so it’s basically just other remixes of some of the songs that have already been done.  Since I think we went through the entire soundtrack.  Which is effin’ boss.

Anyway, on to the music!  We’ll be using a rating scale of 1-5 Sabins.

Track 1 – Omen: I. Black Dawn (Opening Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard

Have you ever heard of the word “lugubrious”?  It’s one of my favorite words.  “Lugubrious”, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, means “exaggeratedly or affectively mournful”.  That’s basically how I feel about this first track, and not in a very good way.

The song takes its sweet time getting started, and I feel like it’s playing up its own importance.  This is the first time these guys have done a track since Disc 1, and I feel much the same way towards this one that I did their first effort – it just seems like they’re trying way too hard to make something a dark, glorious epic.  Like, it was okay, pretty badass, I guess, but it was just way too slow-moving for me.


Track 2 – Omen: II. Terror March (Opening Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard

Impressive!  It’s like they heard me and took my advice or something!  :p

But seriously, this song has a different energy from the start.  It kicks right off and rocks on out throughout.  The song goes through many different movements throughout the 8 minutes, getting increasingly intense and double-bass-y as it progresses.

Towards the end (about 7:30), I started to lose it – it didn’t sound too terribly much besides anything but a jam-session, which was kind of annoying, but it worked out overall.  The last 10 seconds were great, transitioning into the next track.


Track 3 – Omen: III. Daydream (Opening Theme, Battle Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard

Oh God, we’re right back to the lugubriousness again.  Look, I’m sorry, I understand what they’re trying to do, and yes, the original music is epic as fuck.  HOWEVER, you don’t make something MORE epic by simply slowing it down an absurd amount and using a guitar and double bass.  That’s just not how epic works.  I think the opening theme just ended, almost 6 minutes into this track.  Which means I’ve been listening to the opening theme for about 26, 27 minutes.  NO.

To make things worse, I’m almost a full minute into the “Battle Theme”, and literally the sound has changed once.  Is this supposed to build anticipation or bore me to death?

I’m sick of it.  One and one-half Sabins, just because I am, amazingly, still listening.


Track 4 – Omen: IV. Polemos (Battle Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard

Great.  I’ve got a 10-and-a-half minute battle theme to listen to.  I’ll try to be objective.  Taking a deep breath…  Okay.  Here we go.

Okay.  Two minutes in, and it still sounds pretty badass.  It’s the “Battle Theme” we all know and love, with, of course, a bit of a metal twist.

Four minutes in, aaaaand I’m kind of losing it.  Oops, they brought it back at around 4:30, doing a little keyboard-y breakdown that isn’t bad, I guess.  I am wondering if all of this is necessary, however.  Especially after looking at the track list for the rest of the album (the next-longest song after these four is less than six minutes long…  Maybe they should take note of that?).

At around six minutes, it gets all right again.  I can tell where we are in the “Battle Theme”, at least.  Not much to comment on.

It sounded like it was about to stop abruptly around 8 minutes.  Excitedly, I look over, thinking that somehow, the full 10.5 minutes had passed.  I was wrong, and they just started “breakin’ it down” again.  Which I did not appreciate.

Long story short, if all of the songs above were less than five minutes, maybe I wouldn’t have a problem.  But they were all super long and pretty boring. Ick.  This one was…  better than the last one, but not my much.

Track 4 Rating:


Rating as a cohesive piece, Tracks 1-4:


Track 5 – Following Forgotten (The Mines of Narshe) by Patrick Burns

(NOTE:  I didn’t find this in my FLAC folder…  Is anyone else missing this track?  Anyway, it was in the MP3 folder, so I played that instead :D)

Sounds nice.  Peaceful and foreboding…  Yeah, I dunno, I think this one’s pretty weird.  I also think my speakers suck.

Anyway, I like the piano work.  However, I’m not sure if it was a super appropriate choice of style.  I know it’s “The Mines of Narshe”, but…  Again, too slow-moving for me.


Track 6 – Royal Blood, Fraternal Love (Edgar & Sabin) by pu_freak

As a piece of music, I think this remix is great.  I mean, I think that about most of the tracks on this album, but anyway.

Even though I called the previous song “too slow”, I really like the pacing of this remix.  I don’t think it captured the same regal essence as the original, but overall it was pretty legit.  I also always love beautiful piano.


Track 7 – Bass of the Returners (The Returners) by bLiNd

Worrrrrrrd.  I actually knew which song this was a remix of, as opposed to the previous “Returners” remix on Disc 1.  It sounds way different from anything else on this album so far, which really is a godsend.

It sounds like bLiNd had some fun creating this remix;  it shows in his music.  Wonderfully done.


Track 8 – Dark Blue Substance (Cyan) by Mattias Häggström Gerdt

Ooooh…  Once you get halfway through the song, it starts getting very peaceful, techno-y, and awesome.  I love what he did with the original theme at that point.  However, for much of the rest of the song, I’m left wondering what’s going on.  The little breakdown in the middle is easily the best part, and that part is great.  Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of what it’s sandwiched by.


Track 9 – Savage Dance (Wild West) by McVaffe

Word, this one is pretty sweet – not deviating too much from the original, giving it just enough so that it has its own voice.  About halfway through it stops being quite so flat, a heavier beat giving needed texture to a pretty good song overall.



Track 10 – The 6th Kingdom (Terra) by Jovette Rivera


Yeah, this song was pretty fun.  It was very ridiculous.  Very, very insane.  But you know what?  I enjoyed it.  It was about two and a half minutes too long, but eh, at this point, whatever.



Track 11 – Slam Shufflin’ (Slam Shuffle) by bLiNd

Oooh, a super-danceable “Slam Shuffle” remix.  Pretty ballllllerrrrr, yo.

Again, I think it could be shorter, it seems pretty repetitive, but it’s more fun to listen to than anything else so far, at least.


Track 12 – Jidoorian Rhapsody (The Wedding) by sphexic

Very impressive piano work, for sure.  Not really sure what else to say…  It was fun?  I guess?  There really wasn’t much to it, but the piano really was great.  I think it would’ve been better if it were accompanied with something – then again, I kinda like the whole solo-piano thing.  Better than average, regardless.


Track 13 – Strange World (Another World of Beasts) by WillRock

Ooh, I very much enjoyed this one.  Nice pacing, nice buildup, nice ambience. Foreboding, dark, delicious.

Halfway through, it takes a turn for the SUPER intense.  With almost no warning, the sound exploded out of my speakers into a crazy mess of awesome.  Just as I was getting ready to yell at this song for being too long, too.  Very well done, WillRock.


Track 14 – Umaro’s New Groove (Umaro) by Archangel

Overall, an enjoyable track.  Umaro is a super fun character with a fun, bouncy theme, so I feel like it’s necessary to keep all that bounciness intact in any remixes.  Archangel did a great job with that, and it wrapped this album up well.



Well, here we are.  Five days and five discs later, I have to say that I’m extremely impressed by the quality of the songs that have come off this remix album.  I think it’s great that OCRemix has such a diverse community, submitting all sorts of different music to these albums.  This is their 40th album since their inception, and although I’ve only heard bits and pieces of others (their Donkey Kong Country 2 album is amazing, too), it seems like what they’ve got going is quite impressive indeed.

This disc picked up towards the end, which is good, since I was afraid it’d be a flop.  It turned out okay, and the album itself turned out incredibly.  Great job, OCRemixers!

Disc 5 Rating:


Overall Album Rating: