Bungie Fires Halo and Destiny Composer Martin O’Donnell

After creating the fantastic soundtracks for every Halo game up to Reach and helping create Destiny's new sound, Martin O'Donell has been let go by the Bungie Board of Directors.
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When you think of the Halo series, a few things come to mind. You see Master Chief stealing vehicles and dual-wielding needlers while dodging plasma bolts; you feel the controller firmly in your hand as the controlled chaos of Bungie’s organic AI interactions flow in front of you; and you can hear Martin O’Donnell’s booming and sweeping orchestrative notes making every moment feel like a climax before calming you down right as the next big moment is to come.

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O’Donnell’s music has defined the Halo series–from composing the first Halo game’s score all the way to Bungie’s final Halo project with Halo: Reach‘s somber setting.

Starting as contract work for earlier Bungie titles such as Oni and both Myth games, it seemed like we would be seeing him produce a brand new sound for Bungie’s Destiny; that will not being happening though. Earlier this week, Martin O’Donnell was let go by the Bungie Board of Directors. As he says in his tweet below, it appears to have been without cause.

All that Bungie has said in relation to the firing of O’Donnell is the following:

“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.” — Bungie community manager David Dague 

This rather warm message suggests one of two things. Either the Board of Directors alone wanted rid of O’Donnell and there was some problem he presented to them by remaining on staff, or Bungie isn’t commenting on whatever problem was occurring that made this the ideal choice. The former seems far more likely, but we’ll have to wait and see. Since his last tweet above, there has been no word from O’Donnell as to his plans, although I’m sure we all hope he lands on his feet soon and gets a chance to make more fantastic compositions.

What do you think happened at Bungie to result in O’Donnell being fired? Is there a developer you’re hoping he’ll join up with now that he’s no longer at Bungie? Let us know in the comments below!

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Elijah Beahm
Grumpily ranting at this computer screen since before you were playing Minecraft. For more of my work: https://elijahbeahm.contently.com/