Martin O’Donnell leaves Bungie: dismissal reasons, lawsuit outcome revealed

Following his surprise dismissal from Bungie last year, Halo and Destiny sound director and lead composer filed a lawsuit claiming breach-of-contract. As detailed here, it was announced today that O’Donnell won the lawsuit. O’Donnell has regained his stock in his community and will receive payouts under their profit-sharing program, in addition to 95,000 USD in unpaid wages.


The lawsuit filings also revealed the reasons behind O’Donnell’s firing from the company. At the heart of the matter was the Music of the Spheres project that O’Donnell co-created with Michael Salvatori and Paul McCartney. Publisher Activision were disinterested in releasing the eight-movement symphonic suite as a stand-alone work and replaced music from this project with their own in-house tracks. Bungie ultimately fired O’Donnell following a series of private and public incidents related to this matter, as detailed here.

O’Donnell recently co-founded the game design company Highwire Games and is currently working on his first project there. While the Destiny Original Soundtrack was released digitally, the Music of the Spheres project still has yet to be released and likely won’t be. One term of the settlement is that O’Donnell is not allowed to publish music from Destiny without permission from the copyright owners.

Posted on September 5, 2015 by Chris Greening. Last modified on September 5, 2015.

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About the Author

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!

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