Mick Gordon, known for his work on soundtracks for several games, including Wolfenstein and the Doom series, has released a statement in response to allegations made against him by Marty Stratton in May 2020.
In April 2020, Gordon distanced himself from the soundtrack album for Doom Eternal after it received criticism from fans about its quality. This led to fan speculation about its production, and Stratton, who worked as an executive producer on Doom Eternal, posted an open letter to the Doom subreddit to address the rumors.
A year and a half later, Gordon has written a lengthy statement refuting Stratton’s claims, using screenshots of emails and legal documents (with sensitive information redacted) as evidence of the true timeline of events. He published his statement on Medium, alleging that Stratton had engaged in abusive behavior and manipulation. Gordon said he has released it to defend himself, and urged people not to use it as an excuse for a hate campaign.
Gordon claimed that Stratton lied about the production of the Doom Eternal soundtrack album and accused Stratton of using disinformation to place the blame on Gordon. He also accused id Software of using tracks and edits for the game’s score that he sent them in “good faith”, rather than as part of his contract, without paying him for them.
The events have been laid out in chronological order by Gordon and paint a muddled picture of developments. He claimed that he was originally asked to work on the music in the game and provide final tracks at a rate of two levels per month. He called the schedule “tight, but not impossible”. However, he claimed that id did not provide any gameplay or level design material to help him with the composition, which made it difficult. Other issues such as slow communication and a contract delay put the music schedule behind where it should have been.
Gordon said he proposed another plan for development that would allow him to make changes to the music down the road if necessary. His proposal was immediately rejected by Stratton, he claimed. “He threw the proposal back in my face and proceeded to tear me down for having the audacity to raise the issue,” Gordon wrote, adding that he was already working through the night to meet ID’s demands, even though the game was still in. an early stage of development.
Gordon claimed his contract was for 142 minutes, but the number of minutes he submitted to id was “more than double” that amount due to requests for rewrites or outright rejections of his work. He has claimed that the salary was withheld, and in 2019 he claims that he has not received any payment from id for 11 months. Gordon said he later realized much of his work had been included in the game without his knowledge, and he has yet to be paid for their use.
Gordon has now also described the events surrounding the Doom Eternal soundtrack album. The album was announced at E3 2019 with his name attached, but he claims he hadn’t been told about it. “I had not been offered a contract to produce it… I found out in the media,” he wrote.
After contacting id, Gordon said Stratton refused to give him a contract for the album. When developers scrapped Doom Eternal in an attempt to meet the game’s original November 22, 2019 release date, Gordon said he considered leaving the project due to withheld payments, unreasonable requests, and a lack of transparency between him and management.
In January 2020, Gordon approached publisher Bethesda about the album, who negotiated a deal directly with him. Payment for a previous album he had completed for Bethesda was rolled into the contract for the Doom Eternal album. Gordon has claimed that Stratton lied about the contract in his Reddit post. While Stratton said the contract was signed in January 2020 with an early March deadline, Gordon claimed the contract was signed on March 18th with an April 16th deadline. Gordon also said his contract was only for 12 songs, and that he didn’t have the time or budget for the 30 songs Stratton said he had committed to.
Other contradictions include Stratton’s claim that the soundtrack was delayed by Gordon’s request, while Gordon said he had not signed the contract for the album when the delay was announced. Stratton claimed that Gordon was given “complete creative control” over what he delivered, while Gordon said the terms of his contract gave creative control to id, as well as his source files.
Shortly before the album was released, Gordon learned that id had already been creating an album for six months. He was not satisfied with the tracks that lead sound designer Chad Mossholder had created, prompting him to confirm his limited involvement when fans had noticed its poor quality. Gordon claimed that Stratton became involved with the album days before it was due, cutting him out of the process. Gordon said he was not allowed to listen to the album before its release, and also claimed that many contributors were not credited by id.
Stratton demanded a call after receiving the album. Gordon said he agreed to release a joint statement with id, claiming Stratton agreed to send him a draft statement. The draft never materialized, and instead Stratton posted his open letter on Reddit. Gordon said he got his lawyers involved because of the false allegations against him by Stratton and the unpaid records. After presenting evidence to id’s parent company Zenimax, Gordon said they “quickly offered to settle”.
According to Gordon, however, the settlement negotiations fell through. Gordon wanted Stratton to retract his Reddit statement, while Zenimax refused. He claimed that he was instead offered a six-figure sum to take “full public responsibility for the failure of the OST”, and would not be allowed to discuss Doom Eternal or criticize Stratton or Zenmiax.
Settlement negotiations continued to go nowhere, Gordon claimed, as Zenimax used stalling tactics and legal threats to force him to agree. Gordon refused to sign any settlements proposed by Zenimax. “Giving up my right to tell the truth just to get some money was completely unacceptable. It meant that Marty going all over me wasn’t so bad that it couldn’t be paid out.”
“The only thing left to do is to give this public response,” Gordon wrote toward the end of his statement. The harassment and abuse from toxic elements of the community combined with the allegations by Stratton have left him in a position where his only option is to speak publicly about what happened, he said. “Using NDAs, settlements and gag orders to silence truths is a scare tactic used by people in high positions of power who fear accountability. I choose to speak out because the alternative was to accept those tactics as okay.”
Bethesda did not immediately respond to Eurogamer’s request for comment.
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