Marty Stratton, studio director at id Software, has posted a lengthy open letter to fans addressing the controversy and speculation involving Doom Eternal composer Mick Gordon. Stratton provided the statement on the Doom subreddit, where he shared a narrative that aims to absolve id and its audio designers of any wrongdoing. This step was taken out of frustration with harassment that id Software lead audio designer Chad Mossholder has unfairly faced since the controversy begun. Stratton has additionally announced that Bethesda and the team at id are working on DLC that will not include music from Gordon.
Recently, questions arose about the quality of the Doom Eternal original soundtrack album, with observers noting that many songs had been poorly mixed for the album release. In a brief message to a fan critical of the mix work on the Doom Eternal soundtrack, composer Mick Gordon said: “I didn’t mix those and wouldn’t have done that. You’ll be able to spot the small handful of tracks I mixed (Meathook, Command and Control, etc…).” Around the same time, Gordon replied to a fan’s inquiry about if he would return to compose more Doom, at which time he answered, “doubt we’ll work together again.”
The narrative spun out of control afterward, with fans speculating that Bethesda or id Software held Gordon back from handling the mixing on the game’s soundtrack. However, Marty Stratton’s more-than-2,000-word post attempts to set the record straight, and in a very polite way, he essentially points the finger back at Gordon.
The letter recounts conversations regarding the delivery of Doom Eternal’s original soundtrack to holders of the Collector’s Edition. Late February 2020 saw Gordon expressing concern that he wouldn’t be able to finish the soundtrack in time for the game’s March 20 release due to “a lot more work involved than anticipated.” The composer then asked for a due date extension of four weeks, to which id responded by actually granting six weeks. On March 11, 2020, Bethesda announced via Twitter that the Doom Eternal soundtrack would not make its intended March 20 launch date for purchasers.
Eventually, amid growing concern that the soundtrack would still not be ready by its new due date, Stratton made a backup plan to have Chad Mossholder begin work on the music “should Mick not be able to deliver on time.” However, Mossholder only had access to music fragments that Gordon had previously given him for use in the game, which necessarily came “pre-mixed and pre-compressed” by Gordon. This in turn affected the quality for the OST.
By the time the music’s extended due date rolled around, Gordon was only able to turn in nine of his “no less than 12” promised tracks, though two more were eventually delivered. According to Stratton, Gordon himself suggested that Mossholder’s work be used to flesh out the heavy areas that he was not able to deliver on. Thus, the resulting soundtrack that was eventually released on April 19 was a collection of Gordon’s completed mixes and Mossholder’s backup mixes based upon imperfect audio fragments.
Stratton concluded by spelling out the next steps for Doom:
As for the immediate future, we are at the point of moving on and won’t be working with Mick on the DLC we currently have in production. As I’ve mentioned, his music is incredible, he is a rare talent, and I hope he wins many awards for his contribution to Doom Eternal at the end of the year.
He additionally said that Bethesda and id will “pursue the most unique and talented artists in the industry with whom to collaborate” going forward.
Gordon has yet to comment on today’s post.