Halo Composer Wins Bungie Suit

Karloff

New member
Oct 19, 2009
6,474
0
0
Halo Composer Wins Bungie Suit


Bungie has to pay out a cool $95,019.13 in accrued benefits and damages.

Back in May Halo composer Marty O'Donnell sued his former employer, Bungie, for unpaid benefits. O'Donnell had been let go, claimed Bungie, on friendly terms [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escapist-news-now/9068-Halo-Destiny-Composer-Fired-From-Bungie], but O'Donnell alleged he'd been terminated without cause. Now Bungie has to pay a total of $95,019.13, including all legal fees, interest and $38,385 in double damages, for that 'friendly terms' termination.

O'Donnell answer any question asked of him [https://twitter.com/MartyTheElder/status/485472927790686210] if you catch up with him at PAX Prime this year. Who knows? He might see some old workmates there too. Or perhaps you'll find him in a stairwell somewhere singing the classics.

O'Donnell was terminated back in April for reasons which have not yet been made public. The suit was filed in order to reclaim "accrued but unused vacation time, paid time off, sabbatical time and other benefits," according to the filing, and it named Bungie's Harold Ryan as a defendant [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/135113-Halo-Theme-Song-Composer-is-Suing-Bungie-Boss]. O'Donnell had been part of Bungie since before there was any such thing as Halo, and had worked on all the Halo titles as well as soon-to-be-released Destiny.

Source: Venture Beat [http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/21/halo-music-creator-wins-legal-settlement-for-unpaid-wages-from-bungies-chief-exclusive/]


Permalink
 

Post Tenebrae Morte

New member
Jun 6, 2011
267
0
0
Considering Destiny is not that interesting and Activision has essentially laid claim to them, I'm not surprised Bungie would terminate his employment without proper cause. Good to see he won, maybe he can help out on Halo 6 or so.
 

MercurySteam

Tastes Like Chicken!
Legacy
Apr 11, 2008
4,950
2
43
Martin O'Donnell's music essentially defined the Halo games, so if Bungie screwed him over then he damn well deserves compensation. Good on him.
 

laggyteabag

Scrolling through forums, instead of playing games
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
3,069
639
118
UK
Gender
He/Him
Bungie without O'Donnell is just a weird thought. He has done the music for their games for more than 10 years and it just seems weird that they would just ditch him without cause, especially considering that the music in Halo is probably some of the most iconic music of the past couple of generations when it comes to gaming. Who knows, maybe he will sign on with 343 and produce the music for the future Halo games, but either way, im glad that he won the lawsuit, Bungie has been going a little weird ever since Destiny went public.
 

Chairman Miaow

CBA to change avatar
Nov 18, 2009
2,093
0
0
MercurySteam said:
Martin O'Donnell's music essentially defined the Halo games, so if Bungie screwed him over then he damn well deserves compensation. Good on him.
Pretty much this. The music is the one thing that sticks in my head more than anything. The balance of the game was terrible (Super pistols anyone? In every game only one normal weapon is really viable), Story was derivative and only got worse, characters were fairly non-existent and the world was completely unoriginal as well.
 

Flutterguy

New member
Jun 26, 2011
970
0
0
I came here to find out what a 'bungie suit' would look like, and see it's (im)practical use. I am sorely disappoint.
 

-Dragmire-

King over my mind
Mar 29, 2011
2,821
0
0
You know, when someone says that they let someone go on, "friendly terms", that just seems to mean that they were smiling as they kicked that person out the door.
 

J Tyran

New member
Dec 15, 2011
2,407
0
0
MercurySteam said:
Martin O'Donnell's music essentially defined the Halo games, so if Bungie screwed him over then he damn well deserves compensation. Good on him.
This, Halo wouldn't have been the same without him. Glad he won and got awarded the wages he was due.
 

fix-the-spade

New member
Feb 25, 2008
8,639
0
0
Wow, they fired him over $95k, that's impressively petty for Bungie and Activision.

I can't help but think that Destiny will be Bungie's last game one way or another. If it fails, Activision will pull the plug and skip into the distance, if it succeeds, Activision will attempt another Infity Ward style take over and all the major staff will leave (not that a whole bunch of them aren't already gone), whatever happens, I just don't see the name Bungie being attached to any credibility five years from now.
 

ZZoMBiE13

Ate My Neighbors
Oct 10, 2007
1,908
0
0
I'm a long time Bungie fan. But I honestly don't even know what "Bungie" is anymore. So many of the people who made them what they were have moved on or in this case been let go.

Between this and the deal with the devil (Activision) I just don't know if they are a company I want to support. Given that the Destiny beta has left me more worried about the game than before I played it, I'm going to take the "wait and see" approach with this game. Game sites seem to be far more enamored with Destiny than I am. And a company that would let one of the premier game musicians go after he essentially helped define them, well that just speaks volumes doesn't it?
 

TiberiusEsuriens

New member
Jun 24, 2010
834
0
0
MercurySteam said:
Martin O'Donnell's music essentially defined the Halo games, so if Bungie screwed him over then he damn well deserves compensation. Good on him.
Halo:CE would not have felt nearly as impactful if not for the amazing score.

What makes me laugh at this lawsuit is that there's no way this could he couldn't have anything but a legit reason for it, because he won, but only took 100k. Depending on your field of work and location, in this case Washington state, that's only one year's paycheck. At the end all the guy really wanted was a severance package that he was probably promised when he originally took the job. Either that or an actual rational reason for being fired in the first place. "He left on COMPLETELY friendly terms, but we won't actually tell him why we kicked him out on his ass." - Bungie
 

lacktheknack

Je suis joined jewels.
Jan 19, 2009
19,316
0
0
And here I was, 100% sure that some smart aleck fan had sent him a full suit of bungee gear.

Real life is less awesome than what I want it to be.

...Oh yeah, and good for him. I guess.
 

lacktheknack

Je suis joined jewels.
Jan 19, 2009
19,316
0
0
fix-the-spade said:
Wow, they fired him over $95k, that's impressively petty for Bungie and Activision.
No... they fired him for and then refused to pay him his severance package. Stack on "double damages" and legal fees and the total was about $95k. The original amount was probably in the $30ks.
 

Malbourne

Ari!
Sep 4, 2013
1,183
0
0
When people listened to his music, they thought Halo. It seems like Bungie is losing a crucial part of itself by letting him go. Anyway, still good to see he's in the gaming loop and hitting PAX.
 

Gali

New member
Nov 19, 2009
132
0
0
Hopefully 343i gets him for the next Halo projects. The Halo 4 soundtrack wasn't bad, but it lacked the "Halo feeling" you get from Marty's work. It didn't belong to a Halo game.
I especially like how Marty managed to keep this feeling while reinventing the soundtrack when it comes to Halo games that have a different tone than the main trilogy (Reach, ODST).

Though I think that Stephen Rippy (Ensemble Studios audio director since AoE) came pretty close to Marty-style with his score for Halo Wars. Someone hire this guy for a videogame damn it!
 
Apr 28, 2008
14,634
0
0
That was settled relatively fast. Makes me think Bungie just wants him gone and done with. There was an interview a while ago where it was revealed that the Bungie head was really miffed that Marty can win so many trophies and take so much credit while everything else was considered a team effort. Maybe that had something to do with it? You'd have to be awfully petty to fire someone over that, though. Especially someone who's been at the company for over a decade and who seems to have loved it.

Such a shame.
 

Covarr

PS Thanks
May 29, 2009
1,559
0
0
Karloff said:
O'Donnell had been let go, claimed Bungie, on friendly terms [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escapist-news-now/9068-Halo-Destiny-Composer-Fired-From-Bungie], but O'Donnell alleged he'd been terminated without cause.
This isn't a contradiction. "Without cause" doesn't mean "for no reason." It simply means the reason is unrelated to misconduct. They could've been unsatisfied with the quality of his work, his workflow could've been interfering with the productivity of the rest of the sound team, his salary could've been more than they wanted to keep paying, his contract could've included a rights or royalty clause they didn't want to keep, or they could've had someone else they wanted to hire who only accepted on the condition that O'Donnell left. All of these fall under "without cause". If his contract was an at-will employment contract, (which it likely was; the only music union in the US [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Federation_of_Musicians] doesn't allow their people to compose for games), then legally they don't need cause or misconduct to end his employment.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. Edit: As far as I can tell, the lawsuit isn't even because he was terminated, but because he didn't receive his vacation/sabbatical pay. Most likely, the reason "without cause" even came up is because his contract stipulated that he can only lose those if he's terminated with cause, and that since this was without cause he's supposed to receive a payout for that.
 

Alpha Maeko

Uh oh, better get Maeko!
Apr 14, 2010
573
0
0
It seems likely that Bungie decided their prize musician was getting too expensive (either because their budgets have shrunk or because he's asking for -more-).

It's still a shame, either way.