Bungie Pays Former Halo, Destiny Composer $95,000 to Settle Lawsuit

Marty O'Donnell's lawsuit against Bungie will not make it to trial.

The legal case between Bungie and Marty O'Donnell, the longtime Bungie composer responsible for much of the music in the Halo series (as well as the upcoming Destiny), will not go to trial. According to a report by GamesBeat, O'Donnell has won a settlement from Bungie and president Harold Ryan after filing a lawsuit over his dismissal in April, which he claimed was "without cause."

O'Donnell filed suit in early May claiming Ryan had denied him pay for things like unused vacation time, paid time off, and other benefits--all of which Bungie's policies dictate he would get. Ryan and Bungie responded later in the month, denying the allegations and stating O'Donnell was not "entitled to the relief requested, or any relief whatsoever."

It would appear that either wasn't the case or it wasn't worth going to trial over, as evidenced by the new settlement. A King County Superior Court judge in Seattle recently approved the settlement and will, according to GamesBeat, see O'Donnell paid more than $95,000. This money is for unpaid work, vacation time, double damages (which see one party in a case paid twice the amount of damages they are found to be owed), and legal fees.

We've requested a comment from Bungie and will report back with any information we receive.

Bungie fired O'Donnell, the studio's audio director, in April, offering no reason publicly (or privately, according to O'Donnell) for his dismissal. His work included every one of the Halo games developed by Bungie, as well as its newest project, Destiny. The company said in April his firing would have no impact on the game's development, which will still include work he did alongside that of Mike Salvatori, C. Paul Johnson, and Paul McCartney.

Many people are getting to hear O'Donnell's work in Destiny for the first time this week thanks to the game's beta, which you can read all about here. After being taken offline for yesterday and today, the beta will resume tomorrow when it becomes available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, joining the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 versions. The full game arrives on all four platforms on September 9.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX

Want the latest news about Destiny?

Destiny

Destiny

Discussion

89 comments
dnwr98
dnwr98

Neil Davidge (or whoever) for Destiny and Martin O'Donnel for Halo simple as that.

ghiacciolo79
ghiacciolo79

of course they fired him...destiny's music is ripped off directly from halo...no need to pay twice for the same work!

bourne714
bourne714

Bungie fired one of their long term members that helped create who they are all the sudden, and then he settles for 95,000?  Something tells me that Bungie had solid ground to fire him, (probably a drunk or something.)  If he settled for 95,000 he was probably looking score some quick cash so he could get few more 8-balls and a bunch of hookers.....Seriously, something had to go down for them to drop the iconic O'Donnell just like that.  He was probably coming to work all tweaked out.  I don't know what happened, but something tells me it was a s**t ton more than what they are telling the media. 

G-Legend
G-Legend

Why not make it an even $100,000 ahaha

BigBadBanther
BigBadBanther

It's good to see the employee getting what they deserve :) To many companies/bosses think they can do whatever they want to an employee with no explanation or comebacks. Just remember you have rights (power to the people) lol.

BrassBullet
BrassBullet

This is like Lucasfilm firing John Williams.  His music is so wrapped up in the franchises that it seems foolish to part ways.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

Sounds like Bungie is playing Obahmacare on him and just like that mess they lost a court case over it. Good for him.

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

Though I don't know all the details, this sounds fair, 95k is peanuts for a company like that, but for one person it's great...glad they settled instead of a long drawn out battle in the courts,...now get onboard Halo 5 please!

MigGui
MigGui

now make your move, 343! you'll need this guy on halo 5.

jayjay444
jayjay444

343 should hire Marty, he is simply a legend. 

vanilla_rod
vanilla_rod

Sad move on Bungie's part. Glad he got a little cash out of it.

yoda101280
yoda101280

So they refuse to pay him what, 30-40k only to have to shell out 95k in a settlement, lol yeah that's some boss strategy there Bungie.  I guess they were just hoping he'd crawl off quietly and not sue?

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

O'Donnell's work has been fantastic for Bungie for all these years, and then this.

This might be the first d!ck move Bungie's ever publicly pulled. Too bad. They had a pretty good run until now. Now they're tainted.

xcollector
xcollector

Activision must be rubbing off on Bungie with the way they're treating their talent now.

elheber
elheber

It's _Sir_ Paul McCartney. Just a small correction.

themc_7
themc_7

I'd like to know more about what happened here. He's worked for Bungie/343 since Combat Evolved, what suddenly happened that he was terminated? I'm glad he at least finished work on Destiny before the termination.

Paul2004
Paul2004

Now thats a pay off, 95 grand to prevent this going to trial....makes you wonder why they decided to pay double damages ect rather than go to court. Are they trying to hide some facts or just want to sweep this under the carpet asap, guess we'll never know now

Mindwipe77
Mindwipe77

Good for him, bungie should have manned up and paid what they knew they owed him

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

This situation sucks....I really like O'Donnell's music....his stuff is what gave halo part of it's feel...and Destiny's score is just as good.....at least what we've heard in the beta....

DeanoFantasy
DeanoFantasy

I'm a working musician and just like every other individual in this particular working industry are also entitled to have done the same thing, if its in the policy its the policy, its right by law. Glad he got what he should have, pay the artist for his work, like how you pay your bills to survive etc.

bmart970
bmart970

I like Bungie. I don't like this situation.


pweidman
pweidman

It is a crying shame that Mr. O'Donnell had to sue Bungie for proper reparations and wrongful termination, especially after his huge long-term contribution to Bungie's success w/the Halo franchise.  I took this as a bad sign for Bungie and I still do despite my enthusiasm for Destiny. There are problems with the leadership there imo, and not mostly because of this very public display of arrogance by Bungie execs after the lawsuit was brought. It doesn't matter the back story because his termination was handled very poorly and with such a lack of appropriate class. 


It's Marty O'Donnell for god's sake, what could he have possibly said or done to deserve this treatment?

pignugget
pignugget

Destiny could use a new sound... Not that Bungie was right, or to bash the artists work, but the same old grandiose symphony orchestra stuff just gets old after a while... maybe they are looking to pick someone up who can add some new flavor to their tracks. It's kind of sad that big companies think they can just drop someone without paying contractually obligated dues. Glad O'donnell got his settlement, and I'm sure his career in composing for games is far from over.

sonicare
sonicare

Wonder why he was fired.  I liked most of the tracks he did for the halo series.  Sounds like his work for Destiny was good as well.  But you never know what happens behind the scenes.

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

Hard to know who was the one getting treated unfairly. Companies can be very demanding, and Composers can also be very arrogant. I'm sure details will slowly leak out over the next year or two. Hope 343 brings him back to Halo.

Chaodyn5
Chaodyn5

Bummer Still wonder what happened there

guydude3412
guydude3412

This reminds me of when Rodger from American dad gets money by taking sexual harassment with disguises

uncle5555
uncle5555

@bourne714 wow dude....speculate much? O_o;  Nothing like getting all the facts before coming to a forgone and (false conclusion).

xcollector
xcollector

@elheber Screw the Imperial system of honours. I'm not British so I choose not to support that stupidity.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@pweidman  And since this was settled out of court we'll probably never hear the complete story if this follows most cases of this ilk in the US.

dillydadally
dillydadally

@pignugget I agree with you that they might have just wanted a new sound for Destiny so it doesn't sound like Halo. My problem is with the total lack of class exhibited in letting him go. This is a man that is possibly the most responsible for the success of the company as any other man still there, and they just randomly tell him to pack his box and get out? With no explanation or thanks or severance or anything? If they just wanted a new sound, why didn't they just explain their reasoning, thank him for his years of service, and maybe even have a going away party for him? Was the cake too expensive? Totally classless and disgraceful Bungie!

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@sonicare  Yeah but it sounded too much like Halo. Too many similarities between halo and Destiny and maybe they want to get away from that franchise. But to think you can let someone go and screw the contract? Well? They just got screwed.

bdrtfm
bdrtfm

@spartanx169x They guy made some of the most Iconic music in gaming history. He would have to do quite a bit to make me fire someone with his talent. I'm sure another company will jump at the chance to keep him happy with perks and a nice salary. Maybe 343 can hire him now.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@Chaodyn5  If I had to guess perhaps Microsoft was convincing him to leave them to goto their studio?

kujel
kujel

This kind of crap on top of how men Destiny is why I'm not too keen on supporting Bungie any more. It's kind of a shame too cause they used to make awesome games and then they announced Destiny.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@xcollector @elheber  Yes because Americans have become so much trailer trash that say hello sir/mam is sooooo stupid. =P That is the mentality of an inbred dog.

itruecolors
itruecolors

@dillydadally @pignugget Bungie handled this in a manner such that I believe that O'Donnell did something personal to someone at Bungie and the aforementioned person at Bungie didn't want whatever happened (an affair) to get into the public so they just settled and kept it private 

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@bdrtfm @spartanx169x  The music in Halo CE was a big , BIG part of the reason I like the series so much.  It made the game feel monumental. That you just knew that it was big.  Like the music in Star Wars.  

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

@bdrtfm @spartanx169x There is no ral reason for a company to have a composer on the payroll all the time when they can just hire someone for the duration it takes for them to write and record the music. You know, like just about every other developers and movie makers do.

tokyogaijin
tokyogaijin

@Kinguard73 @xcollector @elheber @Kinguard73 You tried SO very hard, yet failed even harder, for what you said doesn't even make sense. Showing respect is never the mentality of an inbred dog. An inbred dog insults a region in retaliation against one ignorant person. 

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

@spartanx169x @s2i2p2i2o @bdrtfm Maybe. But he worked with 2 other people on the music for Destiny so chances are he was done with his part. He had a lot of years do work on it.