Mick Gordon, Doom composer, responds to Doom Eternal OST mess

Dranoche

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Jul 6, 2009
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Before you ask, this has come 2 years later than expected for reasons that can be abundantly clear if you do just a little bit of reading (last bullet point below for the lazy and/or semi-illiterate).

Mick Gordon, the composer for Doom 2016, Doom Eternal, and a number of other titles under the Bethesda umbrella released a statement today detailing his experience surrounding creation of the score and OST for Doom Eternal. Anyone who was interested in Eternal before it launched will likely remember the mess surrounding the delay of the OST. This statement is a long read (about an hour) but worth it. If you don't feel compelled to read the entire thing you should at least read Mick's own TLDR at the end. Even that is lengthy, but there's a lot of history here and it can only be cut down so much.

relative TLDR -
  • id Software mismanaged the project from the start, despite early concerns and suggestions expressed by Mick regarding schedule and direction of the score. id rejected material that he submitted but still used it in the final release without his knowledge and without paying for that material per the contract.
  • id announced "Mick Gordon's original Doom Eternal soundtrack" unbeknownst to Mick and without a contract in place for him to produce it. Mick learned of the OST announcement through the media. Requests by Mick to then get a contract in place were ignored for months so he went over id to Bethesda. Once in-place (days before game launch and with only a month to the deadline) id continued to ignore requests for direction. Despite re-involving Mick last minute, the final production of the OST was ultimately taken out of his hands and id released their own version. Though id claimed that they cobbled together the OST last minute, metadata from files they had sent to Mick indicated they had been working on it for months.
  • The reddit thread by Marty Stratton (id studio director) posted in May 2020 to address the OST delay resulted in a lot of hate and threats sent directly to Mick, and was put out when Mick was expecting to prepare a joint statement with id.
  • Mick Gordon has spent the last 2 years in negotiations with Zenimax legal attempting to have Marty retract the reddit statement, get paid for all of his work, and to allow him to produce an OST up to his standards. Bethesda's legal team has continuously stalled the process, on top of pushing a hush settlement to bar Mick from discussing the ordeal and requiring him to publicly take responsibility for a process he was largely removed from.
TLDR for the TLDR for the TLDR - Marty Stratton appears to be a dick and Mick Gordon has the receipts.


For my part I thought there was something off about Marty's reddit post but figured that there was a bit of blame on both sides and it just fell apart in an unfortunate situation that everybody decided to walk away from. I was disappointed with the state of the OST release (didn't buy the CE and had looked forward to a later digital release) but ended up forgetting about the whole situation a while after I finished the game. I believe Mick Gordon's account and am curious to see how id/Bethesda/Zenimax respond.
 

Artorias

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Microsoft going to take off the belt and give a good lesson to Bethesda and ID.

What a shit show. Hopefully they can shitcan Marty, repair the relationship, and the get Mick back for another Doom/Quake game in the future.
 
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Shmee

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Ah this whole thing is quite disappointing to read about.
 
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DigDog

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Was it bad?

TBH i dont really like the 2016 soundtrack, sounds too much like generic metal. Was Eternal substantially worse?
 

Artorias

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Feb 8, 2014
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Was it bad?

TBH i dont really like the 2016 soundtrack, sounds too much like generic metal. Was Eternal substantially worse?

Well the general consensus is that Eternal's soundtrack is at least on par with 2016, and has it's own singles that rival Rip and Tear or BFG Division.
 

Dranoche

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Was it bad?

TBH i dont really like the 2016 soundtrack, sounds too much like generic metal. Was Eternal substantially worse?

People generally like the in-game score, or at least did at launch. Seems a bit mixed now but still generally positive. I think it's at least on par with 2016, but has the unfortunate position of being a follow-up and not the first, and being associated with this drama.

The issue is the production of the soundtrack that was provided with the Collector's Edition, and which was supposed to have been released digitally elsewhere but ultimately was not. I have not heard the actual official soundtrack but my understanding is that it is variable in quality, and many CE buyers noted that when they finally received it. Fan anger was first directed at Mick, then at Chad Mossholder of id who mixed everything else on the OST (and may have modified some of what Mick had produced). That was followed up by Marty Stratton's "open letter" on reddit pinning the blame on Mick. Mick indicated that the OST contains the tracks that he was contracted to produce for the sountrack, and many additional tracks poorly hacked together from the in-game score.
 

AdamK47

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I never thought Eternal's soundtrack was on par to 2016 Doom. I could immediately tell something was off with it. It didn't have the puch of 2016 and a lot of it sounded like a hacked up pieced together version of 2016.
 
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Dranoche

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I never thought Eternal's soundtrack was on par to 2016 Doom. I could immediately tell something was off with it. It didn't have the puch of 2016 and a lot of it sounded like a hacked up pieced together version of 2016.
To clarify, do you mean the music as it's heard in the game or the actual standalone soundtrack?

For me there are a few pretty memorable bits of music in-game in Eternal, and I thought the implementation of those was pretty good so maybe I'm remembering those over most of the rest. 3 "tracks" over the whole 5 hours of music they apparently used, so I guess that isn't a great ratio. I remember hearing some rough bits on Youtube after launch, but I don't know if those ultimately came from the soundtrack or were pulled from the game or game files by fans.
 

AdamK47

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To clarify, do you mean the music as it's heard in the game or the actual standalone soundtrack?

For me there are a few pretty memorable bits of music in-game in Eternal, and I thought the implementation of those was pretty good so maybe I'm remembering those over most of the rest. 3 "tracks" over the whole 5 hours of music they apparently used, so I guess that isn't a great ratio. I remember hearing some rough bits on Youtube after launch, but I don't know if those ultimately came from the soundtrack or were pulled from the game or game files by fans.
Both. In game and when I listened to the OST through my home theater system. It just wasn't 2016 Doom. I found the music in 2016 to be more enjoyable. In game and stand-alone OST.
 

Dranoche

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They call Mick's statement one-sided and accuse it of inciting harrassment while conveniently forgetting Marty's reddit thread.

You're right, it's finger pointing at the moment and we can't know for sure. I still think Bethesda is full of crap. They have a litigious history and this looks like a pretty typical lawyerly response. Mick's statement sounded like the end of attempting to come to an agreement outside of court and looked like it was prepped with some legal oversight.
 
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Well, at least now any musician worth their salt is going to think twice about getting into a contract with Bethesda. It sickens me that creative talent is treated like crap by these studios. Put clauses in the contract to encourage the artist with handsome bonuses to deliver on time. Don't pressure them into accepting the contract in a hurry. Why the hell did they start the negotiations when Doom Eternal was few months from launch?

I love how the official Bethesda statement says, don't harass/attack either party. They should have thought of the consequences before Marty put out his statement. First they endangered Mick and now their own team is getting threats. They started it. Should have settled the whole thing in private with Mick, improved the soundtrack after launch, issued a public apology and the matter would have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
 
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Aikouka

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Microsoft going to take off the belt and give a good lesson to Bethesda and ID.

What a shit show. Hopefully they can shitcan Marty, repair the relationship, and the get Mick back for another Doom/Quake game in the future.

I'd like to think that since Mick Gordon did the soundtrack for Killer Instinct, which was created by Double Helix (and later Iron Galaxy) and published by Microsoft, you'd think that Microsoft already has an idea of what Gordon is like.
 

GodisanAtheist

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I never thought Eternal's soundtrack was on par to 2016 Doom. I could immediately tell something was off with it. It didn't have the puch of 2016 and a lot of it sounded like a hacked up pieced together version of 2016.

-Yep, listened through the OST on YouTube and it was all sort of a mushy mid-tempo totally forgettable generic metal.

Absolutely nothing could touch even the mid-grade 2016 tracks and Rip&Tear / BFG Division were on a completely different plane of existence vs anything on Eternal.

I'll likely pick up Eternal during the current/winter Steam sale so maybe the tracks work better in the dynamic in-game arrangements but wow talk about a disappointing OST.