Doom Eternal executive producer Marty Stratton has penned an open letter that doubles as a statement in response to the game's original soundtrack release.
Following the distancing of composer Mick Gordon from the project entirely, Stratton took it upon himself to head to Reddit with a lengthy explanation about what really happened between Gordon and the Doom Eternal team.
According to Stratton, Gordon had been asking for deadline extensions for some time leading up to the OST's official launch. In late February, Mick reached out noting that he and his team were "fine" with the terms of the original soundtrack agreement, but he noted that since there was a "lot more work involved than anticipated,' he'd need "ideally" four weeks to get it all together.
"He offered that the extra time would allow him to provide upwards of 30 tracks and a run-time over two hours – including all music from the game, arranged in soundtrack format and as he felt it would best represent the score in the best possible way," wrote Stratton.
Gordon's request was granted, and he received six weeks, in fact, meant to deliver in mid-April. The Doom team had previously already noted via social media and to customers that the OST would be pushed back in early March. But as time passed, Stratton and the rest of the team continued to express concern that Gordon would not be able to release tracks on time, and thus they recruited id Software's Lead Audio Designer Chad Mossholder for help on id's versions of the track as a "back-up plan."
"To complete this, Chad would need to take all of the music as Mick had delivered for the game, edit the pieces together into tracks, and arrange those tracks into a comprehensive OST," Stratton explained.
Stratton ensured Gordon knew of the backup plan, and Gordon in fact reportedly suggested working with Mossholder to work both of their delivered tracks to craft one cohesive OST. However, that ended up as the version of the soundtrack we know now, with about a dozen songs delivered by Gordon and the rest completed by Mossholder. Stratton also explained that the lower-quality Mossholder tracks came about as id was forced to mix game music together, a move that had prompted personal attacks on the artist.
"This is all important to note because Chad only had these pre-mixed and pre-compressed game fragments from Mick to work with in editing the id versions of the tracks. He simply edited the same music you hear in game to create a comprehensive OST – though some of the edits did require slight volume adjustments to prevent further clipping," wrote Stratton.
In the end Gordon delivered nine tracks, but of the tracks received, Stratton discussed that they were "ambient in nature." On a call with Gordon, the pair spoke about how to move forward, and it was decided to combine the materials already delivered. Of course, when the final product was sent to customers, that opened up a whole new bag of worms.
Gordon was concerned that Mossholder was listed as both composer and artist on the work, but is in fact listed as a "contributing artist" on the songs he helped edit.
"It would have been misleading for us to attribute tracks solely to Mick that someone else had edited," Stratton explained.
"[Gordon] communicated that he wasn’t particularly happy with some of the edits in the id tracks," said Stratton. "I understand this from an artist's perspective and realize this opinion is what prompted him to distance from the work in the first place. That said, from our perspective, we didn't want to be involved in the content of the OST and did absolutely nothing to prevent him from delivering on his commitments within the timeframe he asked for, and we extended multiple times."
Now that the project is finally complete, Stratton has noted that he's disappointed that the soundtrack ended up like this, but wishes Gordon the best for his future endeavors. Those just won't include the future Doom Eternal DLC.
"As for the immediate future, we are at the point of moving on and won't be working with Mick on the DLC we currently have in production," he said. "As I've mentioned, his music is incredible, he is a rare talent, and I hope he wins many awards for his contribution to Doom Eternal at the end of the year."
Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Doom Eternal producer Marty Stratton pens open letter regarding soundtrack
This is what happens when release dates are more important than quality. It's quite common practise these days unfortunately. I'd be happy to never work with them again if I was the composer - as obviously they showed little respect to his work, and the important factor was how fast he could produce it, not how well he could produce it. To then have others come in and mess up his work in editing, and even in ways he did not like himself.. well - I hope he find a different team to work with next :)
It sounded to me like they kept pushing back the deadline and he ran out of slack.