Bungie changed the face of first person console shooters in 2001 when they released Halo: Combat Evolved on the then fledgling Xbox game system.
History was made with an honest to goodness gorgeous shooter that was playable and competitive far from the warm embrace of the PC. And Halo also made waves for its incredible production value - with a lot of that added by the incredible and evocative musical score by Martin O'Donnell.
O'Donnell started out doing music for TV and Radio jingles and made the leap to video games with 1997's Riven (the sequel to Myst) before becoming involved with an up and coming company called Bungie. He produced the music for Myth: The Fallen Lords, Myth and Oni before becoming a Bungie staffer in 1999.
Next came Halo and one of the most memorable game scores ever crafted, filled with epic moments that helped to sell the grandeur of that original adventure on a giant ring floating through space. Here's the full orchestral version of the main theme for Halo. It's good stuff.
O'Donnell worked on everything Bungie made - Halo, Halo 2, ODST, Reach and was getting to grips with the score for upcoming Destiny. Until the 11th of April when he was suddenly told by the top brass that they no longer required his services.
No further info has been forthcoming from him, and a release from Bungie suggests that things are far more amicable:
"For more than a decade, Marty O’Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans. Today, as friends, we say goodbye. We know that wherever his journey takes him, he will always have a bright and hopeful future.
We wish him luck in all his future endeavors."
It doesn't seem likely that we'll have clarity on this matter any time soon but the reality is that a talented composer is out of a job - someone should really snap him up immediately. As for what impact it might have on the development of Destiny, we're sure that Bungie will find someone to replace O'Donnell asap. But whether they'll be capable of creating the kinds of epic sounds befitting a new sci-fi world remains to be seen. As does the fan reaction to the news.
Destiny comes to PS3, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 from the 9th of September 2014.