One of the real highlights for fans of Doom and Doom Eternal has been the heavy metal hellscapes that make up its soundtrack. Australian composer Mick Gordon has been lauded for his work on these games, as well as the modern Wolfenstein games, helping to define the sound of the shooter series’ revival over the last half decade, and adding to the playlists of many of the games’ fans.
So, people were understandably a bit disappointed with the Doom Eternal OST release, which was largely mixed by id Software’s Lead Audio Designer Chad Mossholder instead of Mick himself, as had been the case on the 2016 Doom OST. The fallout of this is that id Software and Mick Gordon will seemingly no longer work together, with Gordon seeming detached from the process and id Software’s Marty Stratton compelled to explain the situation on Reddit – it’s long, so we’ve tried to summarise it below.
The soundtrack was bundled in with the Collector’s Edition of the game, but was delayed until a month after launch, being sent to purchasers in mid-April. At that point, people quickly spotted the difference in the audio mix, both with their ears and in comparing the waveforms, with far less dynamic range between instruments.
In response to queries about this, Mick simply stated, “I didn’t mix those and wouldn’t have done that. You’ll be able to spot the small handful of tracks I mixed,” and with regard to his relationship with id, that he “Doubt we’ll work together again.”
Now, the internet being the internet, fans were eager to attack Bethesda, id Software and Mossholder about the situation – as you can imagine, these get nasty – which pushed Marty Stratton to explain their side of the situation. Simply put, it sounds like a gradual breakdown in communication between the two parties rather than anything particularly acrimonious.
id had announce the OST back at E3 2019 as part of the Collector’s Edition, but Gordon wasn’t contracted at the time to do this. It was only once the game was nearing completion in January that they discussed and broached an agreement similar to that of 2016’s Doom, with Gordon contracted to deliver 12 tracks, with bonuses for on-time delivery and more. At the end of February then, Mick got in touch to say that he and his team needed a four week extension for this, but would deliver 30 tracks and two hours of music, which was what caused id to delay the soundtrack’s release from the CE.
With consumer protection laws in mind, id had to deliver a soundtrack in a reasonable amount of time, and so they set their Lead Audio Designer, Chad Mossholder to create a fallback solution from the audio provided for the game. That, however, is mixed differently to how an OST would be, and other creative decisions naturally led to the difference in end product.
However, Gordon was seemingly made aware of this backup plan, and when he failed to meet the extended deadline it was he who suggested to combine both his own mixes with those of Mossholder. Yet he was apparently surprised by the scope of what was eventually released, dissatisfied with Mossholder’s mixes from an artistic perspective, and concerned about where credit was being given – Stratton insists that everything included was used in the game, that the additions were necessary to make a complete OST and that Mossholder was only labelled as a co-composer credit to show which tracks were edited by Gordon himself.
Unfortunately, it seems like the bridges are on fire, if not well and truly burned between Gordon and id – the door is at least left open for Gordon to release further mixes for the Doom Eternal OST. Going forward, he is not involved with the DLC that’s in production for Doom Eternal, and it seems unlikely that they will work together again.