Halo & Destiny Composer Says He was Fired by Bungie "Without Cause"

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Halo & Destiny Composer Says He was Fired by Bungie "Without Cause"

Halo theme composer Marty O'Donnell has claimed on Twitter that Bungie's board of directors fired him "without cause" earlier this month.

Marty O'Donnell, the man responsible for Halo's legendary theme, has been fired by Bungie studios. This was revealed by O'Donnell himself over on Twitter, where he also claims that the termination by the studio's board of directors was "without cause."

Here's O'Donnell's tweet in full:

Over on the studio's official site, Bungie has issued a statement confirming the recent layoff, but has not given the reason for the termination, nor does it address O'Donnell's claims.

For more than a decade, Marty O'Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans. Today, as friends, we say goodbye. We know that wherever his journey takes him, he will always have a bright and hopeful future.

We wish him luck in all his future endeavors

O'Donnell joined Bungie in 1999, just ten days before the studio was acquired by Microsoft. While working with Bungie on the Halo franchise, O'Donnell composed the now-iconic theme for the shooter. Before his departure from the studio last week, O'Donnell was composing music for Bungie's upcoming sci-fi shooter, Destiny.

We'll update the story once more developments unfold.

Earlier this year, former Bungie creative director who worked on Halo, Joe Staten, returned to Microsoft, though it's said he won't be working on the next entry in the Halo franchise as some assumed. Could O'Donnell be going back to Microsoft as well?

What do you think Bungie's cause is for firing O'Donnell? I assume the studio just didn't push out one of its most veteran employees without any cause, but then again, stranger things have happened.

Source: Twitter, Bungie

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What madness is this? I bet even my grandmother would recognize the first tunes of the Halo soundtrack at this point. Hopefully we get some sort of explanation, as ludicrous as it may be.

Maybe 343 Studios will hire him so Halo 5 won't have a shit soundtrack like 4 did.

Wait, what? WHAT?! How... what?!

Well this is shitty news to wake up to. Can't even begin to think why he'd be terminated. That Bungie news-post is really bare-bones, too. At least compared to when Joseph Staten left.

Man, this really sucks.

"One of the things that I think really gets [Bungie co-founder] Jason Jones's goat sometimes is that there is still one person who can make a contribution that's outsized, and that's Marty O'Donnell," Chris Butcher tells us. "There's only one composer." - from this interview.

Wonder if that has something to do with it.

Soviet Heavy:
Maybe 343 Studios will hire him so Halo 5 won't have a shit soundtrack like 4 did.

Sounds like a plan tbh, someone needs to grab this guy. Can anyone imagine a world without John Williams? Composers are important, they offer a sense of wonder and joy as you listen to the music. It sets off memories of fantastic movies and moments in games. It's ridiculous to think that you can just buy "stock music" and still give me the same feeling i get when i hear the first few bars of the Indiana Jones theme.

I wonder what the reason was since getting rid of someone like him without reason doesn't make sense.

Soviet Heavy:
Maybe 343 Studios will hire him so Halo 5 won't have a shit soundtrack like 4 did.

Oh god I hope 343 has the brains to do this.

If Bioware was smart they would hire him to produce the score for Mass Effect 4. Hopefully they hire him.

Cyrromatic:
Hopefully we get some sort of explanation, as ludicrous as it may be.

Call me cynical, but I bet it's Activision removing anyone with an expensive bonus deal should Destiny become a hit, since it backfired so enormously when they did it directly at Infinity Ward, this time they're doing it by leaning on Bungie's directors and having them do the dirty work in advance.

Of course, I hope I'm completely wrong, but Activision have lots (and lots and lots) of form for these kinds of dirty tricks and the directors of a company don't fire long standing senior staff on a whim.

well that sucks.

i was never a Halo fanboy...didn't own an xbox then for a start...but do have it for PC and i've since picked up the Halos for original box in my collecting...but i did actually really like the music...and i've been looking forward to Destiny...

Well, there goes the only part of the Halo series I thought went above mediocre. As bland as the series was, it's score was second to nothing.

Uhuh? Well then. That doesn't make much sense. Why would they do that. I'll still be playing destiny but this makes me somewhat less enthousiastic. Maybe the other composers at bungie can do the job. I hope so.

Well, if they don't use any of his material made for Destiny, then the only thing that remotely interested me in that game is gone. Can't say I've ever heard Halo 4's soundtrack, but I know losing Uematsu hit Final Fantasy's music with a shovel, repeatedly. 12's music fit, but was mostly bland placeholder stuff. Losing O'Donnell will likely have the same effect on Bungie's titles. The original Halo trilogy's soundtrack was bar none excellent. Now Denstiny's might get the hit FF did. At least it's a new series. 343 should grab him before someone else with a brain does first.

Halo score is on my playlist as one of the greatest video game soundtracks of recent memory. Sacking this guy without any reason given seems like madness, but in all likelihood, they are probably trying to cut costs before the release of their game to maximise profits. It's not a new thing in the game industry. Many game developers lead almost mercenary lives in their careers, working for one company, then another as they are laid off just before the launch of their game.

Getting rid of Marty is going to be a huge hit to Bungie in the long term, there are only really two game composers that I regard as being absolutely amazing, Marty O'Donnell and Jeremy Soule, and now that Marty is gone from Bungie, I would imagine that there is going to be a huge pile of job offerings on Marty's desk within a couple of days.

Hopefully Bungie's directors come to their senses and reemploy him, otherwise Bioware or 343 would be great places for him to be. It just seems like an idiotic decision on Bungie's part, and I would be amazed if no one from Bungie's employee base opposed the lay off, especially from someone who has worked at the company for over 10 years, and had a hand in making Bungie as successful as it has become.

I can only wish him the best of luck in finding a new job, and making their music truly magical like he did with the Halo games.

Are you freaking kidding me? He was one of the main reasons why Halo was so awesome in the first place! Reach felt epic only because of his music, and there is no way Destiny will feel anything as epic as Halo ever did. Geez..
I don't know what to say, because O'Donnell has been part of Bungie from the beginning, and either he did something really unthinkable (which I seriously doubt he did) and the fact that he was the one who recommended Steve Downes for Chief's voice actor.
He really left an impact and Halo Reach's soundtrack was (IMO) was the best he'd ever composed.
Seriously sad to see him go, and wish him all the best. Maybe 343 Industries will hire him, as the music in Halo 4 was terrible, in comparison to the other games in the series.

>:(
I DISAPPROVE THIS BUNGIE.
WHAT THE FUCK.

Bat Vader:
If Bioware was smart they would hire him to produce the score for Mass Effect 4. Hopefully they hire him.

Yes, I think that would be a great idea, but only as a co-composer, because I really wish that they'd hire back Jack Wall. I mean the OST of Mass Effect 2 was astounding and went really good with the style of the game itself.

While I hope 343 hires him on to have a really great soundtrack once more. I feel like halo 4 soundtrack gets a bit to much shit. While most of the track is forgettable, three of the songs are amazing. Which are Revival, Arrival, and Green and Blue.

OT: I wonder if Bungie did this on their own, or if Activision push them to do this.

I'm sort of ashamed to admit this, but the Halo series (and mass effect/elder scrolls) is one of the only soundtracks that I ever took enough interest in to purchase/download.

They were awesome. Atmospheric. Fit the mood for the series or scene, or generally, so damned well that they've stuck with me for years.

I want a god damned explanation, Mr. Kodick.

Soviet Heavy:
Maybe 343 Studios will hire him so Halo 5 won't have a shit soundtrack like 4 did.

Couldn't disagree more. I mean, Halo 4's soundtrack wasn't as good as something like ODST, but it was still fantastic.

OT: It's a dumb idea to fire someone whose music is almost legendary. He will do great things wherever he ends up.

Cyrromatic:
What madness is this? I bet even my grandmother would recognize the first tunes of the Halo soundtrack at this point. Hopefully we get some sort of explanation, as ludicrous as it may be.

I'm always skeptical of these "for no reasons" claims, because half the time it turns out the people involved were doing something heinous.

Wh...what!?
Why would they fire Marty O'Donnell? Why would they even consider that? That's like firing Yoko Shimomura and preventing her from doing the music for the Mario & Luigi series and Kingdom Hearts series. If any other company had half a brain then they're gonna pick up Marty real quick. Let's see if Microsoft nabs him back for Studio 343 to work on music for Halo 5, because while Halo 4's music was okay it missed that O'Donnell charm that I loved.

spartandude:

Soviet Heavy:
Maybe 343 Studios will hire him so Halo 5 won't have a shit soundtrack like 4 did.

Oh god I hope 343 has the brains to do this.

Its 343. Of course they don't.

I'd sincerely have to hope that it wasn't really "without cause", otherwise there really might be some value into research how many game company execs have had full-frontal lobotomies. I mean for them to just wake up in the morning and say "Hmmmm, you know what we need to do? We need to get rid of that guy that has filled our games with epic, mood-capturing music." seems like it'd be a bit odd.

Fired for something petty, I can understand and wave a middle finger at "The Man" for, but at least there'd be a reason for it. Fired "without cause" is just flat-out moronic.

This is depressing since when watching the Destiny trailers I was like yep, there is some Marty O'Donnell music there. I missed it. Honestly I can't remember a single song from Halo 4, whoever 343 got to compose that stuff.

LostGryphon:
*words*

This isn't really related to the thread but I just noticed your avatar. I discovered (and watched all of) that show the other day and loved it.

Maybe his price tag was getting too high...

This is like Steven Spielberg or George Lucas firing John Williams from Indiana Jones or Star Wars.

What?! This is... I don't... why would...

What the actual, living, un-metaphorical, flying fuck are Bungie thinking?! This doesn't make any sense! This is just... well, I'm absolutely speechless. This man gave my generation some of the best and most memorable ingame music ever created, to just sack him without cause is unthinkable!

Mark my words, there's more to this.

Until we get more news on the subject, let's play the man off with style!

Wait... why?! Can I get an explanation asap for firing a guy with so much artistic talent in his past?
I've only ever enjoyed Halo 1 and 2, so by the sound of it Destiny will have little to no memorability in it's score. Big mistake Activision.

Hopefully someone picks up Marty soon, hate so this guy not composing music.

Since when does a board of directors get involved with personnel issues that don't involve the CEO? Perhaps Bungie is different but generally the board is there to make sure the CEO has their stuff straight and that's it.

Wow, this is sad news, the Halo soundtracks are amongst my favourite of all game soundtracks and I was looking forward to hearing more of Marty's work on the Destiny series. This is a loss for Bungie and if done without any cause as Marty is claiming, is a wrongful decision. Even if its a matter of fees, as he is a long-time member, whatever price would surely be worth having his great music part of future games. I'm sure Marty will be just fine finding more work but working someplace with certain people for 10 years and then suddenly having that all taken away must be dreadfully dis-heartening. Shame on whoever made this decision in the upper echelons of Bungie provided it was without good cause as reported.

....What? He's pretty much the best and most recognizable composer in games (Jeremy Soule in a distant second). Why would you ever let him go??

Good luck in wherever you find yourself, sir.

I still remember the first time I actually saw Halo up close. I've always been inured to hype. In fact the more hype a game gets the less likely I am to be interested in it, for whatever reason. I was less then impressed to be stuck sitting with friends playing a video game - I mean, watching them play a game I had no interest in. Sitting there and prepared to be bored to tears it was the intro music alone that made me decide: maybe there's something to this game. That music still rumbles bout my head from time to time, and why shouldn't it? It was simple, elegant and in some ways richer then the game itself.

My best wishes and highest hopes go out to Mr. O'Donnell.

H-hahaha! A-a-april fools, r-right? You got us good, Bungie! H-ha ha! We almost f-fell for it!

SKBPinkie:

Soviet Heavy:
Maybe 343 Studios will hire him so Halo 5 won't have a shit soundtrack like 4 did.

Couldn't disagree more. I mean, Halo 4's soundtrack wasn't as good as something like ODST, but it was still fantastic.

OT: It's a dumb idea to fire someone whose music is almost legendary. He will do great things wherever he ends up.

Yay! Someone else who does not hate Halo 4's soundtrack! :D Though I agree the best Halo songs came from Marty O' Donnell.

OT: Yeah that was pretty foolish of Bungie, like others in this thread I really hope he goes to 343 Industries. He probably has a lot of friends there from the Halo days.

He and Paul McCartney were working together on Destiny, right? I wouldn't be surprised if they had a disagreement, and McCartney had more force to put behind him what with being one of the biggest names in music history.

P.S. Thanks

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