Ex-Bungie composer Marty O’Donnell, who created music for epic games like Halo and Destiny, has won a legal fight against his former employer.
VentureBeat has the details of a ruling, issued Friday in Seattle, that gives O’Donnell an initial profit-sharing payment of $142,500 and a “considerable” share of stock in Bungie, the Bellevue-based studio that Microsoft acquired in 2000 and then split from in 2007.
O’Donnell, who started at Bungie in 2000, said the company’s board fired him last year “without cause.” He sued the game-maker for unpaid benefits. That case was resolved in O’Donnell’s favor in July. He also sued over stock-related ownership issues following his firing.
The new ruling, which you can read in full here, reveals the dramatic events that led to O’Donnell’s termination.
VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi explains how O’Donnell was asked to create music upfront for all five parts of Destiny. (The first debuted in September 2014, with first-day orders totaling $500 million.) However, Bungie and Destiny publisher Activision refused to release the music as standalone pieces. His Halo compositions had been sold as a separate soundtracks in the past.
On top of that, Activision also replaced O’Donnell’s music with something else during Destiny’s trailer that debuted at the big E3 video game conference in 2013.
That angered O’Donnell even further. The ruling notes how Bungie employees — including CEO Harold Ryan — felt that O’Donnell was having a negative effect on the company thereafter. Ryan ultimately recommended that O’Donnell be fired.
After a series of rulings, “O’Donnell essentially got what he was asking for,” reported VentureBeat’s Takahashi.
“The value of that stock isn’t clear, as Bungie itself isn’t a publicly traded company,” Takahashi wrote. “But it has struck some very valuable publishing deals and is presumably very valuable.”
As part of the ruling, O’Donnell can’t publish any music from Destiny as his own without Bungie’s approval. The 60-year-old, who co-founded a studio called HighWire Games earlier this year, tweeted this photo on Friday afternoon, hours after the ruling was issued.