Halo Theme Composer Sues Bungie

Halo Theme Composer Sues Bungie

Composer Marty O'Donnell, the man responsible for Halo's iconic theme song, is suing his former company Bungie for not paying benefits he claims he is owed. In the lawsuit, O'Donnell alleges that when he was terminated, he had accrued holiday time, sabbatical time and paid time off, which Bungie has not paid him.

Naming Bungie boss Harold Ryan as a defendant, O'Donnell's lawsuit claims that "Ryan has wilfully and intentionally caused Bungie to deprive O'Donnell of accrued but unused vacation time, paid time off, sabbatical time, and other benefits."

O'Donnell, who was fired in April, had worked for Bungie since 1999, working on the first four Halo games as well as the upcoming sci-fi shooter Destiny. Both in the lawsuit and on his Twitter account, O'Donnell claimed he was axed "without cause."

In a response to the lawsuit, Bungie denied O'Donnell's allegations, asking that the case be dismissed with prejudice.

Both O'Donnell's lawsuit and Bungie's response are embedded here, via VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi:


    Biggest mistake made by bungie to date: firing Martin O'Donnell.

    The guy makes legendary music, halo wouldn't be halo without it.

      Since we don't know the circumstances around their decision to fire him, it's hard to really know if it was mistake or not.

      It is a shame we won't hear his music in Destiny though. Although I imagine whatever he already composed will make it in there.

        From what i heard he was basically complete on Destiny and had been for a couple of months prior to his axing. I have no doubt that every piece in Destiny is Marty's or was placed in there by him.

        What is more disappointing is that Marty has set the tone for Destiny when we know its a 10 year game and it will be jarring when the expansion/sequels comes out and dosen't sound like the original.

        Last edited 07/06/14 11:32 am

          Yeah, this was one of my big issues with Halo 4 too. The feel wasn't there, and a lot of it was because of the lack of Marty.

          The guy was pretty unique in that he was a musician that was employed full time at the one studio. Most game developers don't have a composer on staff, or if they do they have other duties as well (sound programmer or similar)

    What a great way to treat the man responsible for one of the most important aspects of the Halo universe.

    On another note; who needs an epic score for an epic game? Star Citizen.

    Since we still don't know what grounds Marty was terminated on (only having Marty's word that it was without cause) it's hard to know what his basis for the complaint is or why he's suing Harold Ryan individually instead of Bungie as a company. Maybe that's just how employment law works in America.

    Even with the mixed reception to Halo: Reach and ODST, everyone still agreed that Marty's music was standout.

    I still had high hopes for Halo 4's composer, but his music sounded like a remix of Star Wars and Bay's Transformers.

    I do believe that Marty must have done something serious to get fired, simply because he truly is one of, if not the best composer in the industry, and you would have to be an idiot to fire him without cause.

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