Yoko Shimomura (b. October 19, between 1960 and 1970) is a Japanese composer and musician best known for her soundtracks for various video games.
Yoko Shimomura was born in Hyogo prefecture, Japan. Her parents enrolled her in piano lessons when she was five years old. She took quickly to the instrument, and she often pretended to be composing her own music by playing the piano randomly.
After high school, she enrolled as a piano major in Osaka Music University. Upon graduation, Shimomura intended to become a piano instructor. She had been a video gamer for many years, though, so on a lark, she sent some samples of her work to various video game companies. Squaresoft invited her in for an audition and interview, and she was offered a job there. Her family and instructors were dismayed with her change in focus (video-game music was still not mainstream in Japan at the time), but Shimomura accepted the job at Square.
Shimomura's first project with Square was the score for the role-playing game (RPG) Live A Live in 1994. After this, she was paired with more experienced composers for a time. For example, she teamed with Noriko Matsueda on the strategy/RPG Front Mission in 1995. In 1998, she went solo once again for the soundtrack to the RPG Parasite Eve.
Shimomura’s most notable recent score is for Kingdom Hearts (2002), the joint Square/Disney venture that features Disney characters in an action/RPG environment. Shimomura rejected the project initially, skeptical that such a combination could ever work. However, she eventually relented, and her work for the game (which became a best-seller) is often cited as her finest to date.
She remains an avid gamer to this day, only now, she plays more often to get a feel for the games she is composing the soundtracks for than for her own pleasure.
Video Game Soundtracks (incomplete)
King of Dragons (1991)
Street Fighter 2 (1992) (with Alpha Lyra)
Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition (1994) (with Alfh Lyra)
Live A Live (1994)
Front Mission (1995) (with Norika Matsueda)
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (1996) (with Nobuo Uematsu and Koji Kondo)
Tobal No. 1 (1996) (with Masashi Hamauzu, Junya Nakano, Yasuhiro Kawami, Kenji Ito, Noriko Matsueda, Ryuji Sasai, and Yasunori Mitsuda)
Parasite Eve (1998)
Legend of Mana (1999)
Kingdom Hearts (2002)
Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga (2003)