Doom Eternal composer Mick Gordon has published an extensive Medium post claiming that he was subject to intense crunch, unpaid work, and poor management under id Software studio director Marty Stratton during Doom Eternal‘s development. Gordon’s dense, more-than-14,000-word post arrives more than two years after Stratton published his own open letter to fans on the Doom subreddit in 2020, which had suggested Gordon was to blame for problems with Eternal‘s original soundtrack (OST). In addition to serving as a rebuttal of Stratton’s claims, Gordon’s document alleges that he never received payment for more than half of the work he provided for Doom Eternal.
For those who haven’t kept up with the controversy, Stratton’s Reddit post was meant to address the controversy surrounding the Doom Eternal OST, which left many fans underwhelmed by its sound mixing. Stratton alleged that Mick Gordon failed to deliver on his contractual obligations. At the time, Stratton said that Gordon’s shortcomings eventually forced id to announce a delay for the soundtrack’s release on March 11, 2020. However, not only does Gordon now say that the OST was announced before he had even signed on to create it, but he added that he never even received the contract for it until March 18, 2020, one week after the delay announcement. He has provided a screenshot of a contract email dated March 18, 2020 as evidence.
“I wish Marty had taken more time to consider better options before deciding that a Reddit post was the best course of action,” Gordon wrote. “It put his company in a position where they’re unable to do anything with Doom Eternal’s music, it weaponised the fanbase against me, and sent a worrying signal to anyone working under him: if he’s willing to do this to me, he’s just as capable of doing it to anyone else.”
The post Mick Gordon put forth today addresses the 2020 Doom Eternal Reddit post from Marty Stratton point by point, refuting Stratton’s claims that the composer was paid to produce a 30-track OST with a runtime over two hours long. Gordon also fired back at claims regarding his level of creative control, saying that id, as outlined in the contract, retained “complete creative control” over the OST. In fact, the composer said that he was not given an opportunity to even listen to the final OST before release, saying that Stratton cut him out just days before the project was launched.
Mick Gordon also claims that Doom Eternal was a difficult project long before the OST controversy started thanks to strict, unrealistic schedules, slow communication from id, and a refusal from id to accommodate a more logical work process that Gordon had recommended. Stratton’s overbearing management left Gordon in the dark as he was cut out of music meetings and forced to crunch to fit deadlines. The post also details sleepless nights, 11 months without payment for composition, loads of scrapped work (much of which ended up being used anyway, without Gordon’s knowledge or providing compensation), and payment disputes.
What’s more is that Gordon claims Stratton’s lawyers offered him a six-figure sum as “hush money” for keeping the details of Doom Eternal’s messy development and OST release secret. Gordon did not accept the money, because it would have meant taking full, public responsibility for the soundtrack’s subpar quality and launch. While Stratton attempted to preserve a certain image of himself and the game’s development for the public, Gordon was left to deal with the fallout of the Doom Eternal Reddit post and the composer controversy.
Later, he offered me a six-figure sum to never speak about it
The truth is more important.https://t.co/zSNo2QG1mI
— Mick Gordon (@Mick_Gordon) November 9, 2022
Stratton’s original Reddit post stated that id had “enjoyed” its “creative collaboration” with Gordon but would be working with other composers in the future. The feelings Gordon conveyed today are blunter: “I’ve worked on some great games, built lifelong friendships and worked my butt off in the trenches with some of the best creative minds on earth. I’ve had many great experiences in the game industry. My ‘collaboration’ with Marty Stratton wasn’t one of them.”
He added, “I never quit Doom. I quit a toxic client.”
Bethesda, id, and Marty Stratton have yet to issue a public response to today’s accusations.