Why didn't Marty O'Donnell come back?

I’m asking because I honestly don’t know the answer, and wondered if anyone else knew why. Did Marty ask for too much money? Was it a change of developer thing? Did 343 just want someone else?

I’ve just been listening to some of the old Halo music (from Halo 1-3), and it reminded me of how much Marty’s music is/was a part of Halo. I respect Neil Davidge for his efforts on Halo 4’s soundtrack, but… it’s just not the same. There’s nothing in Halo 4’s soundtrack that comes close to the kind of emotion that Marty brought. Going into Halo 4, I had already resigned myself to the fact that the music wasn’t going to be the same, but I was still disappointed at how little the soundtrack lived up to the Halo name. Even Halo Wars, which had its soundtrack composed by Stephen Rippy, managed to still feel like “iconic Halo” while maintaining it’s own unique identity.

I think one of the biggest problems is that there’s really no recognizable theme in Halo 4’s soundtrack. I can instantly call to mind every main theme from past Halo games - often times not just one, but several from each game. The main, iconic Halo theme, the “chanting monks”, the Maw, “On a Pale Horse”, Respite from Halo 2, Unforgotten, the piano theme from Halo 3, “One Final Effort”, and the list goes on. I can hear each one in my head like I’m playing the game, and often I can remember the exact part in the game when you first hear the music.

Nothing in Halo 4’s soundtrack really… “catches” me quite the same way. I can’t really recognize anything that stands out as a recognizable theme. Most of the music seems to focused more on having a “beat” to it, than developing a musical idea. It’s like a collection “generic epic music” that you might find on Youtube.

Again, I don’t mean any offense to Neil Davidge - I understand his and 343’s desire to do something totally new, rather than just imitate Marty, but… when you’re following up a genius who composed some of the most iconic video game music ever, you better be pretty confident that you can make something comparable to it. And for me, Halo 4’s music just doesn’t.

Which is what brought me to ask the question - why didn’t Marty come back?

If I remember correctly Marty didn’t do Halo 4’s music because he is part of Bungie. Since Halo 4 wasn’t a Bungie project, he didn’t work on it.

Marty’s heart belongs to Bungie. As you can see, Marty and everyone else at Bungie actually grew tired of Halo believe or not.

But i agree with you, Halo 4’s music while beautiful and outstanding, there is no “theme” unlike the original music.

> Marty’s heart belongs to Bungie. As you can see, Marty and everyone else at Bungie actually grew tired of Halo believe or not.

I can totally understand that. And I thought it might be something like that, but I just didn’t know for sure what the official reason was.

Honestly, it’s probably better that he didn’t return, if he had grown tired of working on Halo. Unfortunately, I feel like Halo lost part of its soul when he left.

I bet he’s doing the music for Destiny.

Some time ago I read that Marty said that “he hadn’t been tasked to compose H4’s music, but stranger things had happened”
What I understand from those statements is that Marty didn’t refuse and if 343 had insisted, it could have been posible to have his music in 4.
Neil Davidge’s music is excellent, but it doesn’t sound as Halo. I hope 343 finds another composer for 5.

> But i agree with you, Halo 4’s music while beautiful and outstanding, there is no “theme” unlike the original music.

this is true

Sacked for being sexist…

…no wait… yeah sorry that was Rosie O’Donnell being racist.

I thought it was because he works for Bungie.

> Some time ago I read that Marty said that “he hadn’t been tasked to compose H4’s music, but stranger things had happened”
> What I understand from those statements is that Marty didn’t refuse and if 343 had insisted, it could have been posible to have his music in 4.
> Neil Davidge’s music is excellent, but it doesn’t sound as Halo. I hope 343 finds another composer for 5.

Do you have a source for that?

Because if that’s the case, that’s ridiculous.

I totally agree. While the Halo 4 music isn’t bad, it certainly doesn’t have the same intensity and iconic presence of the previous Halo titles. When i play Halo 4, i always soundtrack the Halo 2 Soundtrack (both Volumes) and the ODST Soundtrack from my hard drive, and it certainly gives Halo 4 more playability on my part because the Halo 4 music takes me out of the mood.

In my opinion the Halo 4 Soundtrack just seemed too quiet and uneventful, and i think it also rubbed off on the Campaign and made it seem uneventful and quiet as well. Hopefully the music in future Halo titles will be a bit more upbeat and diverse, instead of just having techno samples.

> > Some time ago I read that Marty said that “he hadn’t been tasked to compose H4’s music, but stranger things had happened”
> > What I understand from those statements is that Marty didn’t refuse and if 343 had insisted, it could have been posible to have his music in 4.
> > Neil Davidge’s music is excellent, but it doesn’t sound as Halo. I hope 343 finds another composer for 5.
>
> Do you have a source for that?
>
> Because if that’s the case, that’s ridiculous.

Interview in 1UP, it seems. I read it in a different website and 1UP was the source.

Yes, he was an amazing composer. He wrote great music. But he said himself he was really tired of making Halo music. He wanted to move on, like Bungie wanted to move on from Halo.

Just want to weigh in to express my agreement. Davidge and Jinnouchi did a terrific job, but they don’t stack up to O’Donnell and Salvatori. I mean, come on, when you’re escaping the Ark at the end of Halo 3 in the Warthog with the Halo strings theme blaring while everything around you blows up (so wonderfully reminiscent of the escape at the end of Halo 1)… what a great tune! Arrival and 117 are both quite good in Halo 4, but nothing comes close to that powerful string theme and the monk-like voices. Hope they can find someone to develop a consistent and good theme for future Halos, maybe even bring back the Salvatori/O’Donnell themes (the musical themes themselves ought to be part of the Halo intellectual property, right?). I mean, it was like watching Indiana Jones without the Raiders march. Good, but just not the same.

You do realize that it’s against the rules to post on really old threads… Right?


On-Topic:

As much as I loved Neil Davidge’s work, it lacked any consistent theme and really didn’t fit the mood of the game. On the other hand, Kazuma Jinnouchi’s music had a consistent, and quite stunning theme throughout it, and many will agree with me that his music seems more “Halo” than Neil’s did.