During a boss battle introduced in the latest update to Final Fantasy XIV a song plays that sounds a lot like Powerman 5000's “When Worlds Collide,” so much so that the band is calling it “a straight up rip off.”
If you’re not familiar with the work of Powerman 5000, the American rock group fronted by Rob Zombie’s younger brother, Spider One, you’re probably at least familiar with “When World’s Collide.” If you didn’t catch it on the radio in the late ‘90s, you might have heard it while playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.
Here’s the video for the song from the band’s Vevo.
The Final Fantasy XIV music in question comes from the second stage of the newly-introduced boss battle with the fiend Sephirot (not to be confused with Final Fantasy VII villain, Sephiroth).
YouTuber Mekkah Dee went through the boss battle with all other sounds disabled in order to capture the tune by itself.
There’s no two ways about it, parts of the Sephirot Phase 2 Theme are incredibly similar to Powerman 5000's hit. It’s so close at times that many commenters on the YouTube vid assumed the original poster had simply replaced the game audio with a remix of the band’s tune. Had I heard the music out of context, I would have thought “When Worlds Collide” was about to begin.
While it’s not a note for note, word for word rip, the FFXIV music certainly seems heavily inspired by the song, and the band is not happy. A post on the official Powerman 5000 Facebook page (thanks C.J. for the tip!) features Mekkah Dee’s video, along with a scathing admonishment.
Really? Got to say that the level of unimaginative theft that was used in creating this music for #finalfantasyXIV is mind blowing! I mean, this is When Worlds Collide! Using something as inspiration is one thing but a straight up rip off is another! Did they really think no one would notice?#FFXIV #ripoff
Its habit of breaking the standard fantasy MMORPG music formula is one of my favorite aspects of Final Fantasy XIV, and contemporary tunes accompanying a big boss battle isn’t new to the game. The boss battle with Titan downright rocks.
But if a tune is similar enough to make me remember that Powerman 5000 is a thing, then someone making music for Square Enix might have taken their inspiration a bit too far.
I reached out to Square Enix today for comment on their song’s similarities to “When Worlds Collide,” and should they get around to responding you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime, we rock out, like rockers.
UPDATE - 2/25, 1:57pm: FFXIV director Naoki Yoshida commented on the forums last night, explaining how they created this track. “I have been made aware of an allegation regarding similarities between an existing track and the track created for the 2nd phase of Containment Bay S1T7. However, track composer Masayoshi Soken, has also stated to me that he was unaware of the track in question while working on this FINAL FANTASY track.”