Mick Gordon is one of the video games industries leading composers who crossed over from a relatively unknown musician into one of the video games’ most respected composers primarily due to the soundtrack he crafted for the relaunch of DOOM in 2016. The relaunch of DOOM was met with universal acclaim, particularly in its sound design and music, earning Mick Gordon numerous awards and cementing his legacy as one of the gaming industries leading composers.
It was only natural then that Mick would return in 2020 to score music for its anticipated sequel DOOM Eternal to give fans more of that hardcore electronic/metal score that they so greatly adored, though the sequel, like its predecessor, was praised for its stellar score a major fallout occurred following the game’s release.
Much has been documented at this point over the fallout between ID Software and Mick Gordon over the botched release of the DOOM Eternals soundtrack.
In May 2020, ID Software Executive Producer Marty Stratton published a lengthy statement detailing the situation between ID Software and Mick Gordon over the DOOM Eternal OST and the reasons for its unbalanced and shoddy mix. Rumour and speculation have been surrounding this issue ever since as Mick has stayed relatively quiet on the matter.
Though he has yet to address the issue directly, in a recent episode of the Kiwi Talkz podcast Mick did detail how crunch and deadlines work in the video game industry, which may give some insight into what possibly may have happened.
“The truth about deadlines is that it’s too easy to make the assumption that when you hear the word deadline, you think that somebody says, hey can you make this piece of music by Friday? and I say yeah, no worries, I can do that, not a problem. The trouble is they’ll tell you that on Monday, you start writing music on Monday, and then you have an update progress thing with them on Tuesday where they tell you something completely different.
Now they want it slightly different, and can you give it probably early on Friday instead of late Friday, and you’re like yeah, sure, no worries, I can do that. So you go back, and you change your approach again you start adapting to that, then you meet with them again on Wednesday, and they say, look, I know we told you this on Monday, and we told you something different on Tuesday, but today we’re going to tell you something completely different.
What we actually want is you to work with this incredible musician that you know has nothing to do with a game or whatever. Basically, they throw a red herring at you right at the last minute, and you’re like yeah, okay, you know there are only two days left, but I think I can pull it off, they’re like that’s the thing we actually need it Thursday afternoon now, and so this is what typically tends to happen with deadlines is that things start like crunching up together and that’s when you start to like having to pull all-nighters and stuff to get it done, and I think that’s just something that’s inherent with games it’s not bad management or anything like that.
It’s just that the idea that seemed solid on Monday turns out that might not have worked by Tuesday or by Wednesday, that was definitely the wrong idea, and now we need to do something completely different to still get it done, so that’s the truth about working on deadlines is that it’s not always so super structured it can be all over the place.”
Crunch in the video game industry is almost an honorary tradition at this point, given how widespread and accepted it is. Needless to say, we hope that Mick Gordon and ID Software can patch things up at some point as it would be a shame to lose a critical element to the identity of a modern-day DOOM game.
Mick Gordon seems very intertwined with the franchise, and the loss of his score is already very apparent, as proven by DOOM Eternal’s DLC score, which doesn’t carry the same weight as Mick’s pioneering sound.
If you wish to watch/listen to the podcast with Mick Gordon, you can, so here.