Bungie Composer Marty O’Donnell Talks About his Firing from Bungie

By   /   Mar 18, 2016
martin O'donnell

Former Bungie member Marty O’Donnell sat down with IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey recently to do an interview, where he talked about the circumstances surrounding his firing from Bungie, and the aftermath.

Prior to Destiny’s release, rumors began to circulate that composter Marty O’Donnell, who was responsible for the music in all of Bungie’s Halo games, had been fired for unknown reasons.

This was merely one of the controversies surrounding Destiny’s release, right alongside the rather lackluster amount of content and the reveal about the numerous DLCs that would be released later.

Eventually, the news came out that Marty O’Donnell had been fired from Bungie due to differences of opinion of how the studio’s partnership with Activision (which had begun in 2010) was eroding the studio’s collegial culture.

Unwilling to release Marty O’Donnell’s original work (“Music of the Spheres”, an eight-movement symphonic suite in collaboration with Paul McCartney that had been completed in 2013), Activision had gone over his head and replaced his music with some of their own for the game’s E3 trailer that year.

The resulting dispute resulted in Marty O’Donnell being fired, though he did win a lawsuit against Bungie over his improper dismissal, earning him backpay, profit sharing, and lost stock, in September of 2015.

Forty minutes out of the forty-eight minute long “Music of the Spheres” symphony is now available in the public domain as a result of the lawsuit.

It’s no real surprise that something like this happens when you work with Activision in any capacity, but to fire Marty O’Donnell, who is thought of as one of the greatest video game composers, is overstepping even for Activision.

Then again, Activision is very close behind EA Games as one of the most hated video game companies in the world (it’s they’re fault that Call of Duty is now an annual series, among other things), and when they control a sizable chunk of your budget, as they do with Bungie, you don’t really have a choice in the matter if you want to keep the money coming in.

While Bungie and Activision executives may not be sad to see him go, Marty O’Donnell seems to have done well for himself now that he’s free of Bungie (and, more importantly, Activision), starting up his own game studio that announced its first game, Golem, at the 2015 Playstation Expo for the Playstation VR.

If you want to watch the interview yourself, look at the top of the page.

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