Industrial Band Accuses Final Fantasy XIV Composer of Plagiarism; Square Enix Denies Claims

With the release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn‘s patch 2.0 “The Gears of Change,” Square Enix added the Containment Bay S1T7 instanced fight, prompting players to fight the evil Sephirot (not that Sephirot), and apparently Industrial Metal/Rock band Powerman 5000 has taken issue quite vehemently with one of the songs, accusing Square Enix’ prolific composer Masayoshi Soken of plagiarism on Facebook.

Really? Got to say that the level of unimaginative theft that was used in creating this music for ‪#‎finalfantasyXIV‬ is mind blowing! I mean, this is When Worlds Collide! Using something as inspiration is one thing but a straight up rip off is another! Did they really think no one would notice? ‪#‎FFXIV‬ ‪#‎ripoff‬

To clarify, this is music from the game. If it was a song made by a fan, we wouldn’t care.

At the bottom of the post you can check out the video of the fight including the soundtrack, and “When Worlds Collide” the song that Powerman 5000 alleges was plagiarized.

Today Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida took to the official forums to provide a response, denying Powerman 5000’s claims.

“Regarding the Music for the 2nd Phase of Containment Bay S1T7

I have read through your comments concerning the BGM for the 2nd phase of the Containment Bay S1T7 battle with Sephirot, and I would like to personally explain how the track was conceived.

As most FINAL FANTASY fans already know, Sephirot (the Fiend) is a legacy boss character who originally appeared in FINAL FANTASY VI. When considering how to portray Sephirot’s return in FINAL FANTASY XIV, we decided to pay tribute to FFVI by working VI’s “Battle to the Death” track into the Containment Bay S1T7’s first phase, while opting to create an FFXIV original for the second.

Building upon the motif of Sephirot as a representation of the World Tree, to create this FINAL FANTASY XIV original track, we further incorporated story-driven themes of death and a warped obsession with life, all while utilizing a musical genre─industrial rock─which we believed would provide substantial emphasis to the message.

Industrial rock is a popular genre that can be further divided into numerous sub-genres. Countless songs from these genres have been released worldwide, and I have been made aware of an allegation regarding similarities between an existing track and the track created for the 2nd phase of Containment Bay S1T7. However, track composer Masayoshi Soken, has also stated to me that he was unaware of the track in question while working on this FINAL FANTASY track.

We hope that you continue to enjoy FINAL FANTASY XIV battle content.”

While I can’t claim to be a big music expert, I can personally say that the similarity between the two songs seems quite vague, on a rather common progression in industrial rock.

Reddit user Lemagex posted a rather detailed analysis on the issue, and it expresses what I mean much better than I ever could:

“Take my opinion as you will, as a musician of only 17 years.
The songs are as “Similar” to eachother as both are similar to all “Nu Metal” and “Grunge” released since 2001.
The drum track? Different tempo, different instruments, different pattern, different beat. PM5K sticks to the 4×4 pattern of Kick | HiHat | Kick+Snare | Hihat | Variating every so often but very little. and the XIV track seems to ignore anything not producing bass for most of it, using more loose and open hats. sometimes at 4×4 sometimes 2×2 sometimes otherwise.
The guitar? The only similarity if you can even call it that is the 2 chord progression (lol)
The intros? XIV is more bass, PM5K is more treble.
The vocals? XIV is more lower range hz and spread out, PM5K is more higher range and closer together with screaming, the only words the two songs share in common are “World’s” “Taking over” nothing else.
The song overall is a different tempo, the XIV track is deeper and has more of an industrial feel to it.
I’ve been a fan of PM5K for a lonnnnnnnnng time, but this is making me have serious concern for their hearing abilities.
Personal conclusion: Calling this a “Rip off” of PM5K is like calling Gangnam Style a ripoff of Baby. LOL”

Masayoshi Soken has produced countless tracks for Final Fantasy XIV, and demonstrated at several events a very strong ability to compose on the fly. That’s why I’m rather inclined to believe that this isn’t a case of plagiarism. Soken-san definitely doesn’t seem to need to copy from Powerman 5000 or anyone else.

One thing is for sure: this kind of vehement and fairly unsubstantiated claims thrown on social media with the risk of falsely smearing the reputation of a fellow artist aren’t a pleasant show, no matter how edgy one wants to appear.

In any case, you can judge on your own below.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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