Halo music composer settles with game-maker Bungie for $95,000

The composer says he was fired "without cause." He's been given unpaid work and vacation time, as well as damages.


The composer behind the iconic music that helped make the Halo franchise's best moments just a bit more heart-pounding has settled a lawsuit with the game's creator, Bungie.

Bungie has agreed to pay composer Marty O'Donnell $95,000 in damages for allegedly firing him without cause, Venturebeat reported on Monday. The amount is equal to his unpaid work and vacation time, plus twice that amount in damages.

According to the lawsuit, O'Donnell, who joined Bungie in 2000 and composed the soundtrack for the original Halo trilogy, says he was fired by the company in April "without cause." In the suit, filed May 1, he argued that he was due lost pay and damages. Though Bungie initially said it was innocent, the company decided to settle the case rather than battle it out in court.

The Halo franchise has gone through its fair share of shake-ups over the years, but its highly praised music has always been a favorite among gamers.

Bungie launched the first Halo game in 2001 on the Xbox. The company completed a trilogy for the franchise and offered up other titles while owned by Microsoft. Bungie broke out of Microsoft's grasp in 2007 but was forced to turn over the Halo franchise. O'Donnell did not stay with Microsoft Game Studios after Bungie was spun off.

It's not clear what the next act will be for O'Donnell. He says on his personal website that he plans to announce "the next big thing" at some point in the future, but he doesn't provide a date.

CNET has contacted Bungie for comment. We'll update this story when we have more information.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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