This is some shocking news; Martin O’Donnell, longtime in-house composer of Bungie Studios, the creators of Halo and the upcoming Destiny, has been let go from the developer after a 13 year stint. Its not just that he was let go, however; to hear O’Donnell state it, it sounds like he was forced out.
Taking to Twitter today to announce the departure, O’Donnell said “I’m saddened to say that Bungie’s board of directors terminated me without cause on April 11, 2014.” The key thing to look at here is his mention of the board of directors. To be outed by a board of directors is normally a fate reserved for a company’s top executives, not for a composer. Even taking into account O’Donnell’s storied history with the company, this is highly, highly unusual.
Also unusual is Bungie’s response to the apparently “without cause” firing; “For more than a decade, Marty O’Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans,” community manager David Dague wrote. “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.”
Something strange has occurred at the storied studio. There is little doubt we know the full story. We will report with further information when we can.