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With burnout in sight, Final Fantasy composer takes indefinite sick leave

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‘While I cannot commit to ... a timeframe for my return, I’m very hopeful’

Nobuo Uematsu in a studio Polygon

One of Square Enix’s linchpins is Nobuo Uematsu, the longtime composer on series like Final Fantasy. But with potential burnout in sight, Uematsu announced that he’ll be taking an extended, indefinite break from work.

“From composing new works to holding concerts around the world, my days have been hectic, yet fulfilling,” Uematsu, 59, wrote on his personal blog. “The resulting fatigue, however, has finally caught up with me, and I find it mentally and physically difficult to go on at my current pace.”

The idea is to use at least the rest of 2018 to rest and reset, so that he can regain his health and stamina. (Sounds like he could use one of those Final Fantasy inns.) Whether he needs to take additional time off in 2019 is up in the air, but Uematsu sounds committed to coming back only when he’s ready.

“Do not worry. Once I’ve made a full recovery, I’ll be back doing what I do best,” he said.

Uematsu has been with Square Enix since it was still just Square, back in 1985. He found his footing making video game music with Final Fantasy in 1988, and has gone on to compose the score for nearly every sequel since — notably skipping Final Fantasy 13 and Final Fantasy 15. Other games in his credits include big names like Chrono Trigger, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and The Last Story, directed by his old friend (and Final Fantasy’s creator) Hironobu Sakaguchi.

Watch Uematsu talk about one of his most famous Final Fantasy tracks in our interview with him below.