Marty O’Donnell, Bungie’s in-house composer and audio lead for the last 14+ years, announced he was fired by the board of directors “without cause.”
The Tweet was posted yesterday, April 15, around 10:30 PM, and read “I’m saddened to say that Bungie’s board of directors terminated me without cause on April 11, 2014.” Bungie made the following statement in a post on their official website titled “There are those who said this day would never come…” at 2:10 AM today, April 16.
“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.”
O’Donnell got his start in the early-mid 80’s writing jingles for famous products like Mr. Clean and Flintstones Vitamins. After 15 or so years in the TV and radio commercial business, O’Donnell made the move to video game scores by working on Myst’s sequel Riven.
After collaborating with Bungie on several projects such as the Myth series, Oni and a then-secret project that went on to be Halo: Combat Evolved, Marty was asked to join the Bungie team full-time just 10 days before their acquisition by Microsoft. He had been one of the only Bungie employees who had been with the company pre-Microsoft.
While with Bungie, Marty worked on the Halo franchise up through Halo: Reach (including the original, 2, 3, ODST, and Reach). He had also been composing the score for the upcoming Destiny, which is set to release in September. A true testament to his genius, Marty wrote a large portion of the game’s soundtrack without seeing much of the game, just going on ideas, stories and artwork. Jokingly, Marty said he “dumped 50 minutes of music on them and said ‘Deal with that. Make a game as good as that.'” He had also collaborated with Paul McCartney on a symphonic and choral prequel to Destiny titled Music of the Spheres.
The rhythmic chanting, tribal drums and thrilling strings from Halo all those many years ago will ring through gamers heads forever, and we have Marty O’Donnell to thank for that.