Final Fantasy 10's main theme was never intended to be part of the game, confirms composer Nobuo Uematsu

Auron stands on a ledge in Zanarkand
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Zanarkand is, arguably, one of the most haunting pieces of music ever composed for a Final Fantasy game. However, in a recent interview with Japanese outlet Weekly Ochiai, accomplished Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu revealed that the legendary theme from Final Fantasy 10 had an unlikely origin. 

According to Uematsu, "Zanarkand was actually not meant to be the theme for Final Fantasy 10. There was a flute player from France who originally asked me to write a song for them to play during a recital. When I wrote the piece, I thought perhaps this sounded a bit too sad for a recital. So I set it aside for the time being."

Uematsu went on to describe the theme's strange route into Final Fantasy canon. "Sometime after [writing the piece], when I was making the score for Final Fantasy 10, I was falling behind all while the producers were hounding me. So since that flute piece was unused, I just kinda meekly handed it to them. They listened to it and said 'Yes! This is brilliant!"

This information comes courtesy of a translation from @aitaikimochi on Twitter / X.

Zanarkand's haunting melody is synonymous with Final Fantasy 10, fully embodying the role-playing game (RPG)'s somber, bittersweet tone. 

Uematsu is famous for his towering accomplishments as a video game music composer. In addition to the iconic Final Fantasy Prelude and main Final Fantasy Theme, Uematsu served as composer on Final Fantasy 1 through 10 and has musically contributed to almost every Final Fantasy game ever made. 

Perhaps most famously of all, Uematsu is known for One Winged Angel, the foreboding and dramatic theme of Sephiroth, the main antagonist from Final Fantasy 7. As you might expect, Uematsu's music features prominently in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, re-imagined by composers Mitsuto Suzuki and Masashi Hamauzu. 

Want more Final Fantasy-type goodness? Check out our lists of the best RPGs and the best JRPGs.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on,, and, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.