Mick Gordon hits back at Doom Eternal OST allegations

Doom Eternal composer Mick Gordon has spoken out about the allegations Id Software’s Marty Stratton made regarding Doom Eternal’s soundtrack, claiming a “six-figure sum” was offered to keep Gordon quiet.

The Collector’s Edition of Id Software’s demonic first-person shooter, Doom Eternal, became a topic of contention soon after release when fans noticed that the soundtrack only featured Mick Gordon’s work on 11 of the 59 available tracks. The complaints saw Id Software’s studio director, Marty Stratton, publish an “open letter” on Reddit in 2020, which claimed that Gordon had delayed and undelivered on the soundtrack, causing the studio’s own audio designer to have to rustle up the rest of the tracks. . Stratton said at the time that it wasn’t likely that Id Software would work with Gordon again.

Now, two years after the fact, Gordon has published a lengthy statement on Medium that claims Stratton “lied” about the reality of the situation and offered Gordon a “six-figure sum to never speak about it,” which was apparently never accepted as “the truth is more important.”

Id Software’s Marty Stratton lied about Doom Eternal’s soundtrack, Mick Gordon claims

“Marty’s post severely impacted my professional & personal reputation. In releasing this statement, I’m exercising my right to defend myself. It is a defense, not an unprovoked attack, issued with extreme reluctance only after all other attempts to resolve the matter have failed.,” Gordon said. This statement is not an excuse for a hate campaign. Acts of hate dished out online won’t result in any positive change. It only makes things worse.”

Gordon’s account of events surrounding the complications with Doom Eternal’s soundtrack paints a nightmarish picture all the way through, calling it a “difficult project” due to the contract asking for two levels’ worth of music to be completed each month. According to Gordon, many of the levels that needed music didn’t actually exist at the time or were in practically unplayable states, caused by changes in development and missed milestones.

Gordon apparently approached Id Software with alternative scheduling that would allow for reusable themes to be made in preparation of the final level scores. “He rejected my belief that the current schedule was flawed and suggested my act of trying to do something about it was a sign of incompetence,” Gordon said. “Refusing to accept the reality of the situation, he threw the proposal back in my face and proceeded to tear me down for having the audacity to raise the issue in the first place.” This reportedly led to increased crunch time for Gordon, and many of the pieces of music created during the subsequent 18–20-hour workdays were thrown out as they didn’t fit the levels once they were finished. To add insult to injury, Gordon claims that he wasn’t included in many music-focused meetings, communication from Id was painfully slow, and payment didn’t appear until 11 months into the job.

The statement claims that Id Software attempted to deny payment at one point due to “changing their mind,” and the studio saying it no longer wanted to use the music Gordon had made. When the final OST was released — which Gordon reportedly didn’t get to hear in its final version before the fact — the composer says that it became apparent that the studio had used almost all of the “rejected tracks, mockups, demos, ideas and sketches” and payment had apparently only been received for half of it. According to Gordon’s statement, four hours and 46 minutes worth of work was used in the final version of the game, but only two hours and 24 minutes had actually been paid for, which to this day is still yet to be sorted, Gordon says.

The final Doom Eternal OST was bundled into the game’s Collector’s Edition, featuring 59 tracks that Id Software called “Mick Gordon’s original Doom Eternal soundtrack,” some of which, according to Gordon’s statement, had never actually been contracted, with the composer’s attempts to discuss it having been ignored. “The standalone OST wasn’t in production, and I hadn’t been offered a contract to produce it. In fact, we hadn’t talked about the scope, the timeframe, or whether it was even feasible,” Gordon said. “E3 events are planned months in advance, well-rehearsed, and carefully managed, but nobody thought to discuss the OST with me in any way whatsoever. I learned about it in the media.

After Id Software had reportedly ignored any attempts to discuss an OST, Gordon says that a deal made directly with Bethesda after numerous communication and contract delays, covered a 12-song soundtrack that required additional crunch time to complete. Gordon claims that the OST’s deadline was set for April 16th, but Bethesda had said that it was flexible, and a bonus would be paid upon completion if it was finished by that deadline. Apparently, this was then complicated 13 days before the deadline when Stratton said that the April 16th deadline was a necessity, due to “consumer protection laws in some territories meant anyone who purchased the Collector’s Edition was entitled to a full refund if they didn’t receive the OST by April 20.”

“The fact that this critical piece of information had been withheld from me until after I’d signed the contract made the whole thing feel like a setup to shift liability caused by selling the OST without a contract in the first place,” Gordon says.

According to Gordon, it was then revealed that Id Software’s lead audio designer had spent six months working on the OST without the composer’s knowledge, offering content that “fell far short of expectations.” Once the OST was released publicly and Gordon heard it in its final version, the composer’s “heart sank.” “Alongside my direct contributions were an additional 47 tracks made by poor editing together bits and pieces taken from my in-game score. They exhibited the same thoughtless disregard for basic music fundamentals that plagued the preliminary edits id Software showed me a week earlier,” Gordon says. “I was stunned at the ineptitude and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Track after track was full of real, obvious technical faults, mistakes, and errors resulting from careless editing.”

Following the release of and public upset with Doom Eternal’s soundtrack, Gordon says a Skype call with Stratton saw the studio director shift blame. “After he spent some time chastising me for my lack of public support, he charged that the failure of the OST was entirely my fault,” Gordon said. “I shot back that it wasn’t my decision to include 47 poorly edited tracks. I hadn’t even heard their final album before release. He directly accused me of failing to take ownership and insisted I take full public responsibility. I countered there was absolutely no way I would take the fall for something I didn’t do.”

The air was reportedly cleared after that, and the pair set to work on a plan that would see them work together on a joint statement that addressed the situation and fix the album, per Stratton’s recommendation, which the composer says was an “excellent first step .” Stratton apparently requested for any public comments to be withheld until the pair had released the joint statement, with a draft expected to arrive soon after the discussion. “Instead, days later, he published a 2500+ word ‘open letter’ on a fan-run Reddit page that singled me out as the sole cause behind the botched OST,” Gordon says. “The post attracted thousands of comments and news articles and severely damaged my personal and professional reputation. Worst of all, he did it behind my back while leading me on with ab******t story about working together on a professional solution to the problem.”

“His statement was full of lies, disinformation and innuendo, and when challenged, his company offered me a six-figure sum to shut up about it,” Gordon says. “When I tried, time and time again, amid a torrent of abuse , harassment and threats, to resolve the matter more amicably, he constantly refused, worried how addressing the Reddit post would damage his own reputation instead. But as far as I’m concerned, truth and honesty are more important: Marty’s words damaged my character and attacked my reputation. I have afforded him ample opportunity to address this issue, but his refusal to do so has left me with no option other than to issue this statement.”

What do you think about the claims by Mick Gordon regarding Doom Eternal’s OST? Were you similarly disappointed with it? Drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts on this!

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