id Software Parts Ways With Mick Gordon Over Soundtrack Dispute

id Software, the developers behind the Doom games, have split with composer Mick Gordon after the relationship between the two parties broke down.

Issues first came to light a few weeks ago, when @thatACDCguy on Twitter got a hold of the soundtrack files and realised that the production was far more compressed than it was on the first album. Defending himself, Gordon responded, saying he hadn't mixed the track and that he "wouldn't have done that". As it turns out, he only mixed a handful of tracks, with the rest being done in-house by id Software themselves. The compression problem stem from the fact that the in-house engineer used pre-compressed audio files made for use in the game (which is always more compressed than the actual soundtrack), rather than the uncompressed source files which Gordon had. Using these compressed files led to a poor sound on the album itself, thus sparking the controversy.

Doom executive producer Marty Stratton released a lengthy response on the Doom subreddit, but the most important parts are that Gordon and the game's producers "struggled to connect on some of the more production-related realities of development" and that "communication around those issues have eroded trust. For id, this has created an unsustainable pattern of project uncertainty and risk." He goes on to say that the two have held discussions, in which Gordon spoke of his own concerns, and the DLC is now moving forward with Gordon's involvment.

For those who enjoy the Doom games, this will come as a huge blow. The soundtracks are one of the absolute highlights of the games; the music has always been iconic but Doom 2016 was the best it has ever been. Mick Gordon's music perfectly encapsulated what Doom should be, and speaking personally, Doom 2016 was this writer's favourite video game soundtrack of all-time.

The small ray of hope is that, though they are moving forward with the DLC without Gordon, there's no mention of making the next sequel without him, so there's a chance he could return if they manage to patch things up. Stratton did make sure to praise Gordon's abilities, and said that "our team has enjoyed this creative collaboration a great deal and we know Mick will continue to delight fans for many years ahead", meaning there's still a shred of a chance there for the next game. We can only hope, as his music is such a huge and iconic part of these games and Gordon was simply the perfect choice.

More than anything, this seems like a case of poor communication that led to friction and an eventual breakdown in trust between two parties. Unfortunately, not only have the two parties themselves suffered, but the fans have been let down and been given a poorly produced album. It surely would have been a better idea to let Gordon complete it in his own time and delay the record to ensure that it was good, rather than stubbornly stick to the deadline and rush it as they have done.

Should Gordon not return for the next Doom sequel, there could be a massive opportunity in there for someone to usurp him. With any luck, id will find a brilliant replacement, and we'll get to enjoy someone else's vision for the franchise and its music. For that person, we have just one word of advice: METAL.