Halo Composer Wins Legal Settlement for Unpaid Wages from Bungie President
Activision might be spending $500 million on making Destiny, but Bungie might have to spend some of that to part with its longtime composer.
VentureBeat reports that Martin O’Donnell, the longtime composer for Bungie, has won a legal settlement in which the company’s president now has to pay all of the paid time off, vacation days and various bonuses O’Donnell was supposed to get upon his termination from Bungie. This past April, O’Donnell was terminated from his job at Bungie directly by the company’s board of directors. He was currently working on the soundtrack for Destiny at the time. It was reported that the tracks he did compose would still be used in the game.
O’Donnell is best known for his work composing the soundtracks of the Halo series. Fans would recognize his best work in the overarching main theme of the franchise. Prior to Halo, O’Donnell did the soundtracks for Myth and Oni, which were two of Bungie’s lesser-known titles. It should be noted that the soundtrack for Halo 2 (which O’Donnell composed) still remains as the best-selling game soundtrack of all time. O’Donnell also helped direct the voice talent and sound design for Halo 1-3.
Kings County Superior Court judge Jeffrey Ramsdell approved a financial agreement where Harold Ryan, the President of Bungie, will pay O’Donnell over $95,000 to settle the legal claims that inspired O’Donnell’s lawsuit this past May. O’Donnell is adamant that he was fired without cause after putting in over 14 years of work. In particular, his work on the Halo series helped the franchise gross nearly $3.4 billion (according to the lawsuit). He may have been given no reason for his termination, but Bungie has a policy in which employees must get all unused vacation, sabbatical and paid time off. It is noted in the settlement that Ryan and the board agreed to pay O’Donnell for his unused time off, but never did, leading to the lawsuit.
Ryan will be paying O’Donnell more than $38,385 in unpaid vacation and work time atop $38,385 in double damages. Factoring in legal fees, attorney payment and interest, the judge ruled that O’Donnell be paid $95,019.13.