In a lengthy, 14,000-word Medium post, Doom Eternal composer Mick Gordon accused id Software’s executive producer Marty Stratton of lying about the official soundtrack’s shoddy release and throwing him under the bus as the cause for its poorly mixed tracks.
According to Gordon, working on the soundtrack to Doom Eternal was a nightmare from start to finish; both when working on the game itself, including for an 11-month stretch without pay; and later, when he claims id Software surprise-announced that an OST album would be included with the game’s Collector’s Edition without previously informing Gordon of any plans for such a project. In his new post, Gordon said he had to crunch for 18 to 20-hour days to meet id’s deadline for the OST.
Gordon claims that he didn’t get to hear the final soundtrack until its release and said the results of the OST’s “careless editing” and its “obvious technical faults, mistakes, and errors” left him stunned.
“Alongside my direct contributions were an additional 47 tracks made by poorly editing together bits and pieces taken from my in-game score,” he wrote. “They exhibited the same thoughtless disregard for basic music fundamentals that plagued the preliminary edits id Software showed me a week earlier.”
In addition, Gordon claims that he:
- Never approved of the soundtrack’s release
- Wasn’t paid until he was eight months through its production
- Wasn’t informed that he’d be working on the soundtrack until Doom Eternal’s Collector’s Edition was advertised to the public
- Stratton offered him a “six-figure sum” to stay quiet about the matter
Doom Eternal’s 59-track OST was marred by controversy back in 2020. When word got out that Gordon only mixed 11 or so out of the 59 tracks for the game’s Collector’s Edition, fans noted that the game’s tracks sounded “flat” in comparison to the quality of work found in Gordon’s previous works. This led to harassment campaigns against id’s lead audio designer, Chad Mossholder, the person credited on the tracks fans had complaints with.
Coming to the defense of Mossholder, id producer Stratton made a lengthy Reddit post in May that year, claiming that a failure on Gordon’s part to submit his music on time lead to the OST’s multiple delays, leaving Mossholder to pick up the pieces with the OST’s four dozen other tracks. Stratton concluded his post by saying that the company won’t be working with Gordon for Doom Eternal’s DLC and wished him luck on his future endeavors.
In today’s Medium blog, Gordon claims that he and Stratton discussed his concerns about the OST’s bungled release over a Skype call in which tensions simmered over.
“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 alleges. “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.”
Despite allegedly clearing the air with one at the end of the call and, at Stratton’s suggestion, agreeing to publish a joint statement about plans to fix the album, Gordon says Stratton decided to then make his widely seen Reddit post that blamed the OST’s lackluster condition largely on Gordon.
“Marty’s post severely impacted my professional & personal reputation. In releasing this statement, I’m exercising my right to defend myself,” Gordon wrote on Twitter today. “It is a defense, not an unprovoked attack, issued with extreme reluctance only after all other attempts to resolve the matter have failed.”
Kotaku reached out to Bethesda for comment.
“This statement is not an excuse for a hate campaign,” Gordon wrote at the end of his Twitter thread. “Acts of hate dished out online won’t result in any positive change. It only makes things worse.”
Update 11/16/2022 4:20 p.m. ET: Bethesda has released a statement that strongly objects to the claims made in Gordon’s open letter, saying his post “mischaracterized and misrepresented” id Software and incited harassment and threats of violence against the team. The game developer also stated it has “full and complete documented evidence” to disclose in an “appropriate venue as needed.”
Here’s the statement in full: