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‘DOOM Eternal’ Soundtrack Strains Relationships Between Composer and Publisher
September 29, 2020 — Award-winning composer Mick Gordon, who was behind the guitar-charged heavy metal score to id Software’s 2016 DOOM reboot, has officially been removed from the DOOM series over issues with the production of the DOOM Eternal soundtrack. While Gordon’s displeasure with how the soundtrack was mixed dates back to April, a recent announcement for DOOM’s The Ancient Gods DLC confirms his work with Bethesda has officially come to an end.
In a tweet following the announcement of the DOOM Eternal DLC, composer and sound designer Andrew Hulshult stated he was working with David Levy, known best for Red vs. Blue, on the soundtrack. In a separate tweet, Hulshult, who scored DUSK, a Brutal Doom mod, and KillPixel’s upcoming first-person shooter, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, revealed that he and Levy are sharing “soundtrack duties on The Ancient Gods DLC right down the middle.”
Make sure to give @DavidLevyMusic a follow. We are sharing all the soundtrack duties on The Ancient Gods DLC right down the middle.
I think you'll love his stuff! pic.twitter.com/pbTbRVRKl1
— Andrew Hulshult (@AndrewHulshult) September 10, 2020
The switch to Hulshult and Levy came after Gordon voiced displeasure over the release of the DOOM Eternal soundtrack. On April 19, 2020, Gordon replied to a tweet criticizing the soundtrack’s mix, stating he mixed only a “small handful of tracks.” He didn’t elaborate further, but the Reddit rumor mill started churning when user MedicalMilk posted an alleged Instagram conversation where Gordon plainly states he doubted the future of his relationship with id Software.
Things ultimately came to a head in May 2020 when DOOM Eternal’s executive producer, Marty Stratton, took to Reddit with an official statement. In his post, Stratton outlined the complicated relationship between Gordon and id, stating:
“We have struggled to connect on some of the more production-related realities of development, while communication around those issues have eroded trust. For id, this has created an unsustainable pattern of project uncertainty and risk.”
Based on Stratton’s account, Gordon caused the delay of the DOOM Eternal soundtrack, ultimately resulting in its absence in the collector’s edition. Bethesda turned to id’s Lead Audio Designer, Chad Mossholder, as a backup plan when Gordon did not deliver in the time frame stated in the contract, which had already been revised once before at the request of the composer. As Stratton explains, the soundtrack’s final version is a mix of Gordon’s work and Chad’s edits, which involved using in-game and cinematic music that resulted in the poor mix quality.
Since Stratton’s letter, neither party has continued to comment on the severed ties, but it’s clear Gordon’s heavy metal sounds won’t be part of DOOM’s future. In a December 2019 interview with PressStart, Gordon described working on DOOM Eternal’s soundtrack as “daunting.” The interview was held a month before Stratton claims id and Gordon reached an agreement on releasing the soundtrack in early March.
Despite the issues Gordon may have faced delivering a timely DOOM Eternal soundtrack, his efforts on the game should not go ignored. Even before being announced as the game’s composer, Gordon was sourcing for “Heavy Metal Screamers” for a full choir that gives booming life to DOOM Eternal’s musical vocals.
Australian-born Gordon was also behind the scores for the new Wolfenstein series and several high profile games in the past. Originally, he started his video game career as a sounder designer at the now-defunct Pandemic Studios. Additional composition credits include Prey, Killer Instinct, and Need for Speed: Shift, along with Mundfish’s upcoming RPG, Atomic Heart.
Beyond his gaming credits, Gordon collaborated with British rock group Bring Me the Horizon on its single “Parasite Eve.” The track released on June 25, 2020 and, according to Official Charts, topped the “UK Rock and Metal” chart.