Musical composition has been essential to video games ever since the days of the arcade and the NES, but it hit a new benchmark with the Halo series earlier in the millennium. Sound and music were a huge reason why the franchise exploded into the massive sensation it became, and it was one element which gave the series a unique feel and atmosphere.
Bungie certainly made a bold move reaching out to mainstream composers and bands to raise awareness of the game, but it was Martin O’Donnell who takes most of the credit for the series’ brilliant soundtracks.
Now that Halo has been passed on to 343 Industries and Microsoft, O’Donnell had been working on creating the soundtrack for Destiny, along with three other composers, but he now finds himself without a job. He announced on Twitter that he had been terminated without cause by Bungie’s board, no doubt leaving many to scratch their heads wondering why.
I'm saddened to say that Bungie's board of directors terminated me without cause on April 11, 2014.
— Marty O'Donnell (@MartyTheElder) April 16, 2014
Bungie released a brief statement this morning regarding O’Donnell’s departure. It does not give any reasons, before you dig in.
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.
He had been with the studio since 1999, just days before the company was bought out by Microsoft, and he was one of the few remaining employees from those early days. Given his talents, I’m sure he won’t be on the job market for that long.