Halo Theme’s Composer Fired, Says Move Was “Without Cause”

Halo Theme’s Composer Fired, Says Move Was “Without Cause”

Marty O’Donnell, Bungie’s in-house composer and the man responsible for Halo’s iconic theme song, says he has been “terminated…without cause” by the studio.

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

We’re contacting Bungie for comment, and will update if we hear back.

O’Donnell was one of the last employees still working at Bungie from its days prior to Microsoft’s purchase of the company in 1999. In addition to his work on the Halo series, O’Donnell has done a ton of sound work, as well as composing music for the upcoming Destiny.

Update: Bungie has confirmed O’Donnell’s departure, offering the following blurb in a company blog post titled “There are those who said this day would never come…”:


  • The Halo Reach soundtrack is probably one of the best game soundtracks I’ve heard in years, the guy is amazing at what he does, Bungie are idiots.

    • Reach was fantastic, best score in any game … I may live to regret that… bungie are incredibly erratic… Look at their history, is jones still there he is a crackpot lunatic…

  • Uh, April fools day was two weeks ago. Seriously, please tell me this is a bad joke.

  • Maybe he can help the next Halo game capture the aural magic that was missing from Halo 4.
    I really believe Marty is one of the few talented modern composers. Too bad for Bungie they didn’t see what was in front of their face.

  • Terrible. Simply stunning move from Bungie.

    Wish Marty all the best in finding new work – don’t think it will be long till he gets a call to go to 343i though (although he could really go ANYWHERE – Bioware Montreal looking at you to pick him up with Jack Wall and Sam Hulick for ME4)

    • That was my thought, too. You don’t just let somebody like that go for no reason. It doesn’t even have to be a sinister sort of reason – it might just be a case of they’ve had that guy doing their music for 15+ years and decided it’s time to go in a fresh direction.

    • Yeah. I don’t want to assume he’s lying or anything but… There had to be a reason they’d let such a popular and accomplished composer go.

    • Must’ve shat in the wrong person’s coffee or someone’s cousin needed the job he had.

    • Perhaps he means without a cause that he was made aware of prior to being fired, so not given an opportunity to address the concern?

      • With cause / without cause are just HR speak for whether or not you did something egregious and were fired for it. Without cause means more likely downsizing, or redundancy, or whatnot. With cause means you got drunk and peed on your bosses keyboard. He’s just saying he didn’t misbehave. 😛

        • Common sense didacts that people can easily misread that. Or have no idea what it means, he should know better then to start up this drama.

  • What reason is there for firing one of the best composer’s in the video game industry? let alone one of the faces of Bungie?

  • Hoping he still gets any royalties owed from Destiny. Also that he picks up a heap of contract work or gets hired full time for another studio. Some serious talent here that shouldn’t go to waste!

  • I still remember in one of the bonus features for Halo 2 one of the main guys in the production saying how envious of this guy they were. This was simply because they felt his score added 50% of the feeling and emtion to the games campaign. He is greatly talented and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • Y’know, 343 has this little Halo game he might be interested in. I don’t know if it’s his style though.

  • I must say, the halo theme song is one of the most iconic game tracks there is. i used to love sitting in lobbies for games with mates “singing” it over the mic. AHHHHHH AHHHH AHHHHHHHHHH AHHHHHH AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    the amount of times we had an entire lobby get into it. hilarity!

  • This is incredibly upsetting. Marty’s music was the heart and soul of Halo and one of the main reasons I was looking forward to Destiny. His music brings me so much joy. This feels like a punch in the stomach!

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