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Marty O'Donnell No Longer With Bungie

The long term composer says he was "terminated without cause" from the developer.

Well, this was unexpected. Bungie's in-house composer, Marty O'Donnell, is no longer part of the studio.

The news broke last night on Twitter, and O'Donnell characterized the departure as not exactly amicable.

Bungie has not publicly commented on the nature of why O'Donnell has left, but the company did publish a brief blog post entitled "there are those who said this day would never come..." that wished him well.

Destiny will be released on nearly every platform under the sun later on this year.

"For more than a decade, Marty O’Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans," said the company in a statement. "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 was responsible for composing the Halo games, a series with one of gaming's most memorable modern themes. He was also scoring the studio's upcoming Destiny, which included a collaboration with Paul McCartney. Destiny isn't scheduled to be released until September 9.

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151 Comments
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Posted by The_Nubster

Wow. I wonder what caused it? I doubt we'll get a reason anytime soon, if we ever do, but I can't help but wonder what would make Bungie fire their most iconic face and name.

Posted by Cloak

Wish him luck. But lets face it, he won't have any problems finding a new gig. I wonder if we'll ever find out what happened.

Edited by Zephyr

My money's on MS and 343i showing up at his house with a Brinks truck to get him back on board the Halo franchise.

Posted by Clonedzero

Well thats dumb. Halo has always had some of the best music in the entire industry.

That being said, he'll be fine. I bet he's swarmed with job offers already.

Edited by Shevar

So is Activision solely a publisher of Bungie products or are they also co-owner of the studio?

Just seems weird for Bungie to terminate the contract of O'Donnell, especially after all these years. I don't want to be "It's probably the big corporation's fault", but it's still Activision.

Anyway, it will probably take a good couple of years until we get to know the real reason behind this move from Bungie/ Activision.

Posted by flasaltine

Fire the guy that made some of the best music in video game history? Sounds like a good idea.

Posted by Frobitz

There's always a cause. With a guy this major for the studio it was probably significant, and I'm guessing embarrassing to at least one or both parties.

Posted by TheSouthernDandy

Whoa. That's pretty crazy. Dude left his mark without a doubt. Interesting to see where he ends up.

Posted by twelsch1

@shevar: They're just the publisher for Destiny. Bungie's been independent since 2007.

Posted by kylenalepa

Bummer. I wonder what happened? I hope the Destiny score is largely complete.

Posted by AngryRedPlumber

Wow, he has been responsible for some of the most memorable video game music in the past few console generations. I am excited for Destiny, and this news makes me bummed for what that might mean for this game's score.

Posted by TehPickle

I've never been much of a Halo fan, but that main theme has been indelibly burnt into my brain. Just a great piece of music. The best thing about the game, I daresay.

Wild speculation: Artistic differences with the studio, leading to arguments or a lack of production at a satisfactory rate? Leaking information under a strict NDA? Bad mouthing senior management, or the company as whole? I guess we may never know, or at least for a good while.

Either way, Bungie's loss is undoubtedly going to be a huge gain for another studio. I wish him all the very best.

Edited by Jared

Its Bungies loss. Let's hope that 343 picks him up. His music is part of the reason why Halo is Halo and is a a popular series today.

Posted by rockyeagle

Bungie has made a massive mistake. somehow I feel like Marty will land on his feet pretty quickly

Posted by jimmyfenix

Future endeavored literally !

Edited by Donos

This seems really odd to me.... Marty is probably the best known and most celebrated employee Bungie has, I can't imagine them getting rid of him unless there was some sort of incident.

Posted by Hey2theZeus

His music in Halo is legendary and made Halo what it was, Microsoft should get him over to 343 for Halo 5.

The game is coming out soon and the music is probably finished, so this will not have an impact. This is a huge loss for Bungie and it will have an impact on future games. Everyone knows Marty will have no problem finding a job, hes probably got hundreds of offer by now.

Halo doesnt feel like Halo without the awesome music from Marty, i hope he ends up with 343 working on Halo 5. What a debut that would be on Xbox One

Edited by whitegreyblack

I don't know why, but whenever I read the phrase "board of directors" I immediately feel a bit nauseous.

...I guess it's because it's usually followed by another phrase such as "terminated me without cause".

Posted by Hey2theZeus

@donos: I agree. It has to be something serious, you don't get rid of one of the greatest composers over a small argument.

Posted by Benmo316

As a fellow O'Donnell I'm deeply saddened by this. Also Marty is a great composer and that kind of worries me about Destiny's soundtrack. Did Marty finish it and is not disposable or is someone else going to write the music for that game?

Posted by VooDooPC

Maybe he shit all over their bathroom and got caught.

Posted by Mister_V

There must be more to this than meets the eye. You don't just fire someone with his record (no pun intended) without a damn good reason. Right? Right.....

Posted by Corevi

so i guess he's going back to Halo?

Edited by Superfriend

Yeah, first Staten leaves, now Marty gets fired... Destiny is probably going to be a REAL shitshow.

Edited by bybeach

Way more interested in why than the occurrence itself.

Posted by l4wd0g

Marty made some of the best scores.

Posted by Arrested_Developer

Yo scoops, you gotta dig deep on this. There's gotta be someone in the company willing to dish on all this bullshit.

Posted by Slaps2

This is the most high profile in house composer in an industry that doesn't have a whole ton of high profile in house composers. It's sad, but it's probably just because the cost of constantly employing someone that well known finally outweighed the benefits. Imagine you own a large game studio working on a AAA project. Why would you constantly employ a composer like that when you could get contract work from Bear McCreary, Harry Gregson-Williams, or Hanz Zimmer at what one could assume is a much cheaper price?

Posted by LarryDavis

Man, that sucks. His music was the only consistently good thing in the Halo franchise. But, yeah, maybe he will just go over to 343 again.

Edited by gregoryc

Wait, so Paul McCartney was in a collaboration with Marty for Destiny... That's the first I heard this.

Posted by Oy

I'd like to see him go to MS and work with Steven Spielberg on the Halo series. Then maybe the spin-off films.

Posted by mrsmiley

Someone like Marty is never terminated "without cause." Obviously something was going on, and I have a feeling we'll never know what it was. I've met Marty several times, and even interviewed him in the past, and while he's certainly a nice guy, he also has an air of pride that surrounds him. Wondering if contract negotiations got heated and he pissed some people off. So odd that these old-timers are getting the boot long before Destiny is released.

Posted by Rotnac

Pretty much an asshole move on Bungie's part to treat someone as respected as Marty. Their loss will likely be 343's gain. I highly doubt someone with his talent and track record will have trouble finding work again.

@voodoopc said:

Maybe he shit all over their bathroom and got caught.

Because we'll likely never really know what really went down, I'm going to just pretend that it's this.

Edited by elko84

rip in peace

rest in peace in peace?

that's like when people say ATM machine. Automatic Teller Machine machine?

Edited by Hailinel

Why does everyone assume he'll just go make more Halo music? You think he wants to do that more than explore other possibilities?

Posted by Jay_Ray

He'll most likely do a ton of contract work now. No one is ever terminated without reason, we'll just never know the reason.

Posted by billyok

Destiny will be released on nearly every platform under the sun later on this year.

Somewhere, not far from here, the Wii U quietly weeps.

Edited by RetroVirus

@l4wd0g said:

Marty made some of the best scores.

One of my favorite pieces he's ever done. The saxophone is just so perfect.

Posted by patrickklepek

@l4wd0g said:

Marty made some of the best scores.

ODST AKA BEST HALO

Posted by Slaps2

@l4wd0g said:

Marty made some of the best scores.

ODST AKA BEST HALO

True statement. P-Klep knows whats up.

Edited by GrandMarshal

shouldn't take long till someone hires him considering how good he is at what he does. Seems strange to fire him without reason considering how much amazing work hes done for the company.

Posted by 2kings

@elko84 said:

@lachrymoses said:

rip in peace

rest in peace in peace?

that's like when people say ATM machine. Automatic Teller Machine machine?

Do you listen to TMS?

Edited by AngriGhandi

Maybe Keifer Sutherland is composing the music for Bungie's next game.

Edited by therealminime

@l4wd0g said:

Marty made some of the best scores.

ODST AKA BEST HALO

Pretty much yeah and that soundtrack is the stuff of legends.

Posted by Cybexx

Joseph Staten left not long ago so it is starting to feel like a changing of the guard at Bungie. Wonder if Marty O'Donnell is also going to join Microsoft.

Edited by NoobSauceG7

It is a real shame since his music helped make Halo stand out. One of the most memorable themes out there. I really hope he was able to get done most of the music for Destiny because the music from E3 was really good too.

Posted by Chrjz

Why would they do this? It seems like O'Donnell wasnt expecting it so I can't imagine anything happened...

Edited by GERALTITUDE

I'm confused by the amount of confusion about this.

They just didn't like his music anymore, or, they didn't want to pay him to make the music they don't love that much.

Yeah, in most companies - say you were an accountant - you might say that's "without cause" - but you wouldn't fault a filmaker for hiring a composer than firing him when he didn't like the soundtrack, and that's what happened here.

Posted by rts375

Pretty strange considering that, for many people, the music was the highlight of the series.

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