Former Halo music composer sues Bungie for unpaid benefits

Above: Marty O'Donnell, former audio director at Bungie.

Image Credit: Bungie

Former Halo music composer Marty O’Donnell has filed a lawsuit against game maker Bungie and its chief executive, Harold Ryan, for failing to pay him for unpaid vacation time, paid time off, and other benefits.

The lawsuit gives a a small window into the happenings at a major game maker, which created the Halo series of video games and is now working on the online shooter game Destiny for Activision.

O’Donnell was fired on April 11 as audio director at Bellevue, Wash.-based Bungie “without cause,” according to the lawsuit. He was hired in May 2000 and produced the pulse-pounding music that helped make Halo a runaway hit. Over its lifetime of sales, Halo has grossed an estimated $3.4 billion, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Superior Court in King County in Washington.

O’Donnell said in the filing that Bungie and Ryan gave no explanation for the firing. The suit notes that Bungie has a policy to pay employees accrued but unused vacation, paid time off, sabbatical time, and other benefits. Ryan and Bungie reportedly promised to pay.

Separately, O’Donnell has other grievances against Bungie and Ryan, and those matters are being pursued in arbitration. But that dispute isn’t described in the lawsuit. O’Donnell is asking for double damages in the lawsuit.

The suit was filed May 1. In an answer on May 27, Bungie and Ryan denied that O’Donnell was due any relief. Here’s some of the memorable Halo music below. For me, that music is one of the things that made Halo one of the best games of all time. The court filings are also embedded below.



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Bungie was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve our real goal of total world domination... read more »

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Kelsey Hannan
Kelsey Hannan

Halo wouldn't have been half the game it was without Marty O'Donnell's original score. Pay him off gracefully Bungie... and then top him up by a few million dollars, so that he can realize even a fraction of the actual value he contributed to the Halo franchise.

Seth Eheart
Seth Eheart

love halo but.. you guys sold out to the devil. what the fuck did you think was going to happen?

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