As we previously mentioned, the official OST release of Doom Eternal left a lot to be desired. With a heavy amount of compression on most of the tracks, the release was plagued by bad mixing. Which was a shame considering the soundtrack shaped so much of the game. But a question may have lingered on all of our minds: How did it happen?
Id Software’s Marty Stratton released an open letter on Reddit detailing the events surrounding the OST release. In this letter, Stratton gives praise to Gordon, but also makes it clear that he has been difficult to work with. And it gives a clearer picture on what happened and why the official releases ended up the way it did.
Stratton makes it very clear that Mick Gordon was given ample time and creative freedom to do something better with the soundtrack. He also goes on to state that the personal attacks on the lead audio designer who put together the OST release are unacceptable. Which when you hear the full story, you might be inclined to agree with.
“Alternatively, when mixing and mastering for an OST, Mick starts with his source material (which we don’t typically have access to) and re-mixes for the OST to ensure the highs and lows are not clipped – as seen in his 12 OST tracks. This is all important to note because Chad only had these pre-mixed and pre-compressed game fragments from Mick to work with in editing the id versions of the tracks. He simply edited the same music you hear in game to create a comprehensive OST – though some of the edits did require slight volume adjustments to prevent further clipping.”
A Problematic Relationship
The letter makes it very clear that Id Software had several problems communicating with Gordon. From the beginning, Gordon kept negotiating more time to deliver the soundtrack. He did at least make up for this by making a lot more tracks for the game.
But the biggest issue here is how Gordon has not really stood up for Chad, who received the worst of the backlash. While he didn’t directly throw him under the bus, he definitely didn’t do anything to stop the bus. But personal attacks are never okay, regardless of the reason.
We may never get a professionally mixed Doom Eternal soundtrack. But at least now we are more aware of why things ended up the way they did.
Stratton also makes it clear that Id will not be working with Gordon on the DLC. It’s sad to have reached this point. But given Gordon’s reluctance to work with Id in the future, it seems to be the only outcome. We can only hope that Id will seek out Andrew Hulshult again for future Doom music.
That being said, Stratton makes it clear that Gordon is a uniquely talented composer. And he deserves all the awards he may get for his soundtrack. And that’s a thing we can all agree on.