While working for Capcom, she was a member of the company's in-house jazz band Alph Lyla, and composed the soundtrack of Street Fighter II.
In 1993, Shimomura transferred to another game company, Square (now Square Enix). Her first project at the company was the score for the console role-playing game (RPG) Live A Live in 1994. Afterwards, 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, and in 1996, she composed and arranged the music in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, arranging music from Koji Kondo's Mario series music, and three tracks from Final Fantasy IV by Nobuo Uematsu.
She went solo again in 1998 for the soundtrack to Parasite Eve. One of her most famous works was achieved in 1999 with Legend of Mana, a follow up to the Mana series.
In 2002, Yoko Shimomura left Square to work as a freelancer. One of her first projects as an independent was to compose the soundtrack for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance.
Shimomura's most notable recent score is for Kingdom Hearts II from 2005, the sequel to the first joint Square/Disney venture that features Disney characters in an action role-playing game environment. She also composed the score to the game's predecessors, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts. Shimomura was initially apprehensive about the Kingdom Hearts project, skeptical if she could successfully pull it off. but she managed to more than pull it off, making them some of the most popular video game soundtracks available.
In March 2008, Shimomura's best works compilation album Drammatica was released containing her compositions from Kingdom Hearts and other games in a full orchestrated score. It includes music from Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Live A Live, Kingdom Hearts, Front Mission, Legend of Mana, and Heroes of Mana. In an interview with Music4Games regarding the project, Shimomura commented that with the sheet music generated for the project, she'd be interested in pursuing a live performance of Drammatica for fans if the opportunity arose.[
Yoko Shimomura was born in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. She developed an interest for music at a young age, and at the age of four, she started taking piano lessons. Inspired by classical music, she began composing her own music by playing the piano randomly. Shimomura attended Osaka College of Music, and graduated as a piano major in 1988. Upon graduation, Shimomura intended to become a piano instructor, but as she had been an avid gamer for many years, she decided to send some samples of her work to various video game companies. Capcom 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, but Shimomura accepted the job anyway.
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