Tonight, Play For Japan (a game industry organization created in the aftermath of the tsumani to benefit Japanese relief efforts) announced its most ambitious and exciting benefit project to date: Play for Japan: The Album, a collection of music created by some of the industry's most respected composers.

The project is being spearheaded by Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill series, Shadows of the Damned) and will include contributions by Final Fantasy legend Nobuo Uematsu, and Woody Jackson (Red Dead Redemption), among others.

On a new page of the Play for Japan website, Yamaoka described the inspiration behind the project in a letter to gamers:

The challenge facing Japan is unprecedented and immeasurable. People around the world have already reached out, working together to help Japan rise up and rebuild. As citizens of the same planet, we share and take strength from this bond.

In the video game industry, composers like myself are responsible for engaging the player through music. Music, too, creates bonds, inspiring listeners to share their passion with others. In this spirit, many gifted composers, musicians and artists — from East and West — have come together to record a benefit album. For creators whose role is to inspire, it’s only fitting we come together, across borderlines, for those in need.

It’s our desire you’ll hear our hope for a brighter future, and the prayers heard from around the world given voice.

We are all united by one common bond.

You are not alone.

So far, the lineup is very impressive. Here are the artists that are confirmed:
    •    Akira Yamaoka (Shadows of the Damned, Silent Hill series)
    •    Woody Jackson (Red Dead Redemption)
    •    Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, SOCOM 4, The Walking Dead)
    •    Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger, Luminous Arc, Xenoblade)
    •    Nobuo Uematsu (Blue Dragon, Final Fantasy series, Lost Odyssey)

Play for Japan: The Album will be released in May, 2011 on iTunes.