Doom Eternal composer Mick Gordon says he hasn’t been paid for 11 months.
Two years after a behind-the-scenes conflict between the developers of the hit Doom Eternal and composer Mick Gordon came to light, Gordon has finally spoken out.
In a lengthy post on Medium, Gordon gives his side of the conflict over Doom Eternal. He claims that id Software didn’t pay him for half of the game’s soundtrack. He also claims that executive producer Marty Stratton repeatedly abused him during his work on the music and OST.
For context, Gordon’s problems came to light in 2020 when the Doom Eternal soundtrack was released with the collector’s edition, and fans noticed differences in the sound mix between the soundtrack and the Doom 2016 soundtrack.
Gordon pointed out on social media at the time that he had not mixed the tracks in question. In response, Doom Eternal executive producer Marty Stratton issued a public statement about Gordon’s work on the game. In his statement, Stratton repeatedly raised concerns that Gordon would be unable to deliver the promised work on time. He concluded by saying that they would probably not work together again.
Gordon paints a very different picture
He says there were tight deadlines for the final version of the promised tracks – two finished tracks a month. However, he says that he didn’t know what levels or environments the tracks were supposed to cover because of constant development changes and missed milestones.
Gordon says he then proposed an alternative schedule to the board. This would have allowed him to write broader, reusable themes first. He could then develop these into concrete final versions as the levels were developed. But he claims that Stratton rejected this. According to Gordon, this caused him serious problems, as he worked late into the night to finalise the music for levels that had not yet been designed. Later, this music was discarded when it no longer fitted in with the subsequently completed levels.
Gordon notes that this was compounded by the management’s slow communication, their exclusion from discussions about the music and their increasing ostracism from the rest of the team.
But that’s not all. Gordon also complains that during his time working on Doom Eternal, he has repeatedly encountered salary problems. On at least one occasion, he tried to refuse payment because id Software had “changed its mind” and no longer wanted to use the music he had provided. Other delays or repeated postponements of payment have also occurred. On one occasion, Gordon claims he was not paid for 11 months. When the game and soundtrack were finally released, Gordon discovered that almost all of his music had been used, including several tracks he thought had been rejected. However, only half of it was paid for – and according to his post, he is still owed money.
Gordon also claims that id Software announced the aforementioned Doom Eternal OST without ever being contracted to create it. In fact, they ignored his attempts to do so. He eventually went directly to Bethesda for a contract. After repeated communication and delays, he was contracted for 12 songs, which he cobbled together to get done on time. However, Gordon also says that Stratton re-entered the negotiations. This added pressure to finish quickly, and he revealed that audio designer Chad Mossholder had been working on an alternative OST for months. Mossholder’s work, which Gordon said was essentially an edit of his original score, ended up being a big part of the final release.
Following the release, Gordon said that Stratton had arranged a phone call with him to discuss the negative feedback on the OST, which primarily consisted of Stratton berating and blaming him for the criticism.
He was not leaving Doom Eternal but “a toxic client.”
Gordon claims they eventually agreed to release a joint statement and waited for a draft to arrive in his inbox. But then, unexpectedly, Stratton posted an open letter on Reddit. Gordon claims this caused him to be harassed, doxxed and bombarded with emails and phone calls. Gordon has taken legal action but claims that settlement talks have broken down. He demanded Stratton take down the Reddit post to no avail. At one point, Gordon claims he was offered a six-figure sum to take full public responsibility for the OST’s mistakes. But he turned down that offer.
Despite months of back-and-forth negotiations during which Microsoft announced it was buying Bethesda and during which Gordon claimed Stratton was becoming increasingly hostile, no deal was reached.
“I’ve worked on some great games, built lifelong friendships and worked my butt off in the trenches with some of the best creative minds on earth,” Gordon concludes. “I’ve had many great experiences in the game industry. My ‘collaboration’ with Marty Stratton wasn’t one of them.”
“I never quit DOOM. I quit a toxic client.”
Bethesda and Stratton have yet to respond to Gordon’s accusations.