If you listen to the Axe of the Blood God RPG podcast—and if you don't, get to that before I call your mother and tell on you—then you know Kat and I highlight a "Track of the Week" every episode. It's cathartic to talk about RPG music since it's such an important part of the gaming experience. Final Fantasy's staff has its favorites too, as a recent interview with Final Fantasy 9's creators reveals.
Square Enix published the first part of said interview last week, just in time for Final Fantasy 9's 20th anniversary. The first part of the interview contains tidbits about the beloved RPG's development that weren't common knowledge for the past two decades. For example, big parts of Final Fantasy 9 were put together by people from all over the world who worked at Square's then-new Hawaiian branch.
In the second half of the interview, Final Fantasy 9 artist Toshiyuki Itahana throws us another interesting fact: His favorite song in the game's excellent OST is the theme for Quina Quen, the strange and perpetually hungry party member with a special love for tasty frogs.
Itahana says, "There are a lot of well-known songs from FFIX so I'd like to talk about one that doesn't get much attention. I love 'Quina’s Theme.' The banging rhythm of the drums when the song starts—that strong, steady sound gives me a lot of courage. When I'm super overloaded or really feeling the pressure of an approaching deadline, in the middle of the night I'll often listen to 'Quina’s Theme' while working."
It's easy to see (hear?) why Quina's Theme resonates with Itahana. It is indeed a very good driving song with a great buildup. If you're looking for decent work-out music, you could do worse.
Despite its excellent composition, "Quina's Theme" is indeed overlooked when the Final Fantasy 9 soundtrack gets shout-outs on social media and elsewhere. To be fair, it has to compete with the likes of "You're Not Alone" and "Rose of May".
We wrote our own piece about Final Fantasy 9's enduring legacy for the game's 20th anniversary. Give it a read, preferably while listening to a Final Fantasy 9 playlist.