After Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, Nobuo Uematsu says he started adding Latin to epic songs because "if no one understands the language, then it's fair for everyone"

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth's Sephiroth looking at their hand in contemplation
(Image credit: Square Enix)

If you've ever caught yourself jamming out to a Latin-filled song in a Final Fantasy game, or any other game in which Nobuo Uematsu was credited as a composer, you might've been wondering just what the heck the singers are saying so elegantly, yet powerfully.

If, on the other hand, you're scratching your head reading that sentence, I'll fill you in. Uematsu has a history of adding Latin words into his music; one particularly well-known example is the Sephiroth boss fight in Final Fantasy 7 and the 2020 remake. The battle is set to the song 'One Winged Angel' and prominently features Latin lyrics, and according to Uematsu himself, that's because he wanted to be fair to both English-speaking and Japanese-speaking players.

"It's interesting that I went with Latin - which I also used in the opening for Final Fantasy 8 - because personally I've always thought our songs should be written in Japanese," Uematsu said in an interview on the Square Enix Music YouTube channel (timestamped here). "But they wanted to appeal to the English speakers, so they asked for English. At the same time, we're Japanese developers who make games with tons of Japanese players, so I didn't think anyone would really understand if we had them sing in English.

"I tried it out in English anyway, but the reason I went with Latin for Sephiroth's music is because I figured only a handful of people around the world could understand it. If no one understands the language, then it's fair for everyone. Thus, I went with Latin."

After a little research, it seems Uematsu used Latin for 'One Winged Angel', 'Liberi Fatali' in the opening theme for Final Fantasy 8, 'The Promised Land' in the opening theme of Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children, 'Audi Famam Illius' in the main theme for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and the Fire Emblem theme from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There could be more, but those are the ones I was able to identify.

For my money, the decision to use Latin in some songs isn't just the diplomatic solution to a problem with an international release; it's also just flippin' cool, man. It adds so much drama and intensity to already epic scenes, and I personally wouldn't have it any other way.

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Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.