Throughout the twenty five years of its existence, one of the defining attributes of the Final Fantasy series has always been its music, which has evolved from simple 8-bit compositions into an array of critically acclaimed arrangements that are performed by orchestras around the world as part of the Distant Worlds series of concerts.

Predominantly created by the Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu until his departure from Square Enix (the company that develops the games) in 2004 (after which he continued to occasionally contribute on a freelance basis), the thirty tracks selected for this list were chosen after much deliberation, as choosing such a small number from a selection consisting of hundreds of deserving pieces proved highly difficult.

Some inclusions may come across as surprising and some exclusions may come across as head-scratching, but without further ado, here are thirty tracks that will contribute to the legacy of the Final Fantasy series for many years to come.

There may be mild spoilers for those unfamiliar with some of the series’ storylines.

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This article was first posted on November 8, 2012