In the business of video games, studio departures are nothing new. High profile developers leaving big name studios has become so commonplace as of late, that we’re surprised when a month goes by without a major announcement. However, in this particular case, the situation is a little different.
Longtime Bungie Composer and Audio Director Martin O’Donnell has been fired from the Halo and Destiny developer. O’Donnell broke the news of his termination via Twitter, and Bungie then confirmed it with an official statement.
According to O’Donnell, the Bungie Board of Directors terminated his employment on April 11th, but they did so “without cause.” He wouldn’t say more than that, but the tone of O’Donnell’s tweet suggests he did not see this coming. Gamers certainly didn’t.
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
Shortly after O’Donnell broke the news, Bungie released an official statement voicing their gratitude and wishing him well in future endeavors. Read the statement below:
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.
While it’s unlikely we’ll ever hear the full story on O’Donnell’s firing, the news comes to a huge shock to anyone who regularly follows Bungie news. Not only was O’Donnell one of the key figures, alongside partner Michaehl Salvatori, when it came to the soundtracks of the Halo franchise, but he also directed the voice talent and sound design for those games. In other words, this is a huge hit to the Bungie development team, even if it was a collective decision on the board of directors’ part.
Considering the unceremonious nature of O’Donnell’s departure, some might be quick to assume there is trouble at Bungie, but it’s hard to know for sure. They’ve certainly lost a key piece of the development team, but that doesn’t mean O’Donnell’s work on Destiny wasn’t close to completion if it wasn’t fully complete. That being said, if the game slips beyond its September 9th release date that could lead to speculation O’Donnell’s termination is emblematic of larger issues at Bungie.
Either way, we suspect that O’Donnell likely won’t have trouble finding a new gig. His Halo soundtrack is one of the most iconic soundtracks of this past two console generations, which should be a good enough resume on its own. In fact, we hear a certain Star Wars project is ramping up development…
Does O’Donnell’s unceremonious departure from Bungie impact your anticipation for Destiny? What franchise would you like to see O’Donnell work on next?
Destiny releases September 9, 2014 for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Source: Martin O’Donnell – Twitter