Some long terms fans may remember the story from last year, when composer Marty O’Donnell, former Bungie employee and well-known composer for the iconic Halo theme was “terminated without cause” by Bungie, and began legal proceedings against the famous developer more recently known for Destiny, another game that featured some of O’Donnell’s work.
Well O’Donnell has officially won the lawsuit against Bungie and their CEO Harold Ryan for ‘unpaid wages’ during the month of July. On Friday, the court ruled that Bungie must give O’Donnell shares in the company he helped build a legacy for, finally putting some closure on the year-long battle between him and his former employer. And finally revealing some of the details behind the case.
Back when Bungie and Activision signed the contract for Destiny back in 2010, O’Donnell was tasked, once again, to use his talents and compose music for “every application” of the franchise. Though rather than write music for each of the five parts as they were being developed, O’Donnell was instead told to write all of the music that would
accompany Destiny over the course of its life at once, titled “Music of the Spheres”. However, disagreements arose from within the developer when O’Donnell wanted to release Music of the Spheres as a standalone release, Bungie showed little interest in his idea and tensions began to rise. Further conflicts came about when Activision, the publisher responsible for getting Destiny to market provided their own music for the 2013 E3 conference trailer. At the time O’Donnell tweeted that the music featured in the trailer wasn’t his own and tried to keep the trailer from being posted online.
Because of this and additional complications between Ryan and O’Donnell lead to O’Donnell being given a negative performance review whereas Ryan suggested that he was fired, during this review he was told that his behavior was “un-acceptable”. Upon returning to work other members of the Bungie team made formal complaints against O’Donnell stating he wasn’t contributing enough to the efforts, and once again Ryan suggested that he be fired. This time he was and five months later, Destiny shipped.
Since then, O’Donnell has founded his own video game studio “Highwire Games” which will now receive his full focus now that the lawsuit is over: “I’m happy this is over, and I’m ready to move on”, he said in a recent interview with GamesBeat.
Though this isn’t actually the end of the story, be sure to keep with 4-One Gaming throughout the day, to find out what else has come to light from this lawsuit. Dun dun dunnnnnnnn.