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lazygecko

Mick Gordon posts lengthy response to Doom Eternal soundtrack drama

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This is a very, very long medium post detailing the whole ordeal of the entire project from start to finish from Mick's perspective. I'll try and "summarize" the key points (this will still be long as hell) that stick out:

 

Spoiler

 

It was clear to Mick from the start that the logistics were going to be too challenging to deliver on time (music for 2 levels per month in a basically finalized state, before the levels themselves or even the gameplay vision were even close to finished yet), and he proposed alternative frameworks early on to Marty Stratton who shot down his suggestions and wouldn't answer questions throughout correspondence.

 

Payment was very irregular (close to annual gaps) and he had to push to even get paid for stuff he had delivered but went unused in the final game (2018 Quakecon gameplay reveal music).

 

When the OST was publically announced as a pre-order bonus at E3 2019, it took Mick completely by surprise as apparently there hadn't even been any internal plans or discussions (much less a contract) about the soundtrack release yet.

 

By November 2019 he received his final payment, id ended communication and Mick considered his work done. The tension that had built up from mismanagement had soured his relationship with id at this point. There still wasn't a contract in place for the OST job.

 

After the game was released, Mick found out for himself that they had in fact used a lot of the music that was supposed to be demos/mockups and/or thrown away for rewrites, which amounts to additional used work he hadn't been compensated for. He has pressed the issue but still hasn't been paid for the additional material.

 

By January 2020, there still wasn't a contract for the OST despite reaching out to id numerous times and receiving no response. Mick contacted Bethesda directly about the situation, who responded immediately and they negotiated a deal together. A draft for a deal for a trimmed down scope of a 12 track album was worked out in order to meet the very tight deadline of April 16th, though the deadline was left flexible if delays were necessary. The contract was finalized and signed in March very close to the game's release, giving him a month to do the OST.

 

Contract stated that id had final say on the creative direction of the OST, but Mick continued to receive no communication/direction from them while working. By April 3 finished half of the OST entirely on his own intiative, upon which he got a mail from Marty Stratton saying the April 16 deadline was now non-negotiable due to consumer protection laws (an issue Mick had explicitly raised with Marty the year before when the OST announcement surprise happened and received no response).

 

Meanwhile, Mick finds out id had been working on their own OST internally using their ingame stems entirely without his knowledge. Mick offers to pool their resources together so they can get it done faster. When Mick looks over the 70 track id OST, he notices in the file metadata that this has been worked on as far back as 2019 even before the E3 soundtrack announcement (which contradicts Marty Stratton's public statement that id's OST was an emergency measure put together at the last minute). The plan was now that Mick would contribute his contractual 12 tracks to id's work.

 

Hours from the April 16 deadline having worked several days nonstop, Stratton reaches out again and says that he wants the 10 out of 12 tracks replaced. This was the first time id ever provided any input on the direction for Mick as stated they would in the contract. Mick pushes back and says this is impossible at this point. Stratton responds that they will take over from this point and finish everything internally. Mick gets his payment for the 12 tracks. He never got to hear the finished OST before public release, but knew that the internally done mixing and mastering was in dire straits from what he had heard earlier.

 

After the OST is released and the public notices the shoddy quality, Stratton contacts Mick concerned about the bad press and asks to issue a joint statement to calm people down. This leads to a Skype call where Stratton now lashes out at Mick and effectively blames him for the state and reception of the OST. Eventually Stratton calms down and Mick agrees that they make no further public comments until they work out a joint statement together, and Stratton says that a draft for a joint statement will be sent the next day. Mick never gets any draft, and then days later Stratton's open letter on Reddit is posted instead. Mick is now extremely distressed by the breach of trust and the ensuing damage to his reputation and career by Stratton's post. This also leads to the typical doxxing, harassment, death threats, etc.

 

At this point, Mick gets his lawyer involved. Zenimax legal offers a settlement deal where Mick gets payed what he is owed and also agrees to produce a fixed OST with the proper polish. But Mick insists that Stratton also takes down his Reddit post to mitigate the damage to his reputation, and this demand is non-negotiable. They instead threaten retaliatory legal action in response to this, and changes the settlement to a six figure sum and a gag order to never say anything about Doom Eternal again. Mick rejects the gag order and counter-offers with the initial settlement and promise to redo the OST.

 

The legal correspondence then turns into months of stalling from Stratton's lawyer until they finally reach back and demand the previous gag order again without the revised OST deal. Additional time passes until the Microsoft buyout happens, and in the wake of this Mick tries again with his counter offer. But the stalling continues. Seeing no other recourse, Mick gets in touch with the Doom subreddit moderator who agrees to take the post down. But after 12 hours the post is back up, the moderator has now blocked contact with Mick, and then Stratton's lawyers reaches out to him and says that as a result of this an amicable solution is no longer possible.

 

 

Edit: It looks like the old thread was resurrected while I was writing the summary. Merging the post into the old thread should be fine as well.

Edited by lazygecko

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Never heard about this... I don't frequent reddit. It's interesting how Doomworld didn't get the original post from id.

 

Reddit appears to be a bit more mainstream to the 'modern' audience.

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Reddit may or may not belong in the same ecosystem as Twitter, Instagram, Youtube etc, whereas Doomworld is a fan owned fan site.

Though Reddit's layout structure still has its flaws and it's why people repeat content, whereas in a forum people can keep things organized and are encouraged to see older posts or avoid as much repetition as possible. (hence terms like "necrobumping" or shit like that)

It's more like a social media site posing as a forum.

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I really want to buy Starfield when it gets released, but I'm not touching a Bethesda product until Mick gets his fucking money.

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14 minutes ago, Zemini said:

4.  There are always two sides, and most of the time the truth is in the middle.

 

100% this. This is why I am not impressed Mick posted what he did. However much you have been wronged, he put people who had nothing to do with it in the firing line. Now the odds of any one of these Internet idiots actually following through on any of their death threats is pretty much zero, but it's still seriously unpleasant and stressful to have to hear and deal with. It doesn't matter he said "hey guys please don't attack anyone". Telling an Internet Mob not to Internet Mob is like saying "Hey water, please stop being wet".

Edited by Murdoch

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If it's misrepresentation, Bethesda should know to deal with that in court. If it's for exoneration in the court of public opinion, they need to present evidence that counters Mick's claims. I don't know why they chose to post this as it serves no purpose except to inflame the situation further, but it feels very characteristic of someone who would shoot their mouth off on Reddit against a contractor. Maybe it's not just Marty, maybe that's just the company culture.

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32 minutes ago, Gez said:

To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Mick and Marty. The humor is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of corporate legalese most of the jokes will go over a typical viewer's head.


Men I hope that season 4 will be better than 3.

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3 hours ago, Eurisko said:

Bethesda fires back!!!

This could get ugly. 

 

  • Ofcourse it is one-sided: It is Mick's side of things set with his fact finding.
  • I'd wager the appropiate venue is behind closed borders. Perhaps as it should.
  • The third alinea in my eyes isn't to be blamed to Mick (This subtly implies that it does) but i can understand that despite all the preliminary warnings Mick threw out, he could know that people on the internet would cue up the threats. It is easy to do because they aren't the ones having a stake at this.
  • It is commendable that they address Mick with some fair play.

My overall opinion stays the same - This should be settled in private, fair off.

 

I think it is also noteworthy that Bethesda/Zenimax are replying here, and not Marty himself. As we now know from Mick's rebuttal, Bethesda/Zenimax have been more flexible in communication than Mick has accused Marty of not doing.

1 minute ago, Doomkid said:

Marty: Smears the fuck out of Mick and trashes his working reputation

 

Mick: Smears Marty back and also trashes his working reputation (as most people would)

 

Marty:

300px-Surprised_Pikachu.jpg

Proper use of the Surprised Pikachu meme. Never thought i would see the day.

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Bethesda lent Mick Gordon further credibility in presenting that empty-handed threat.  If they feel this isn't a matter for the public, they should have spoke up when Marty went to Reddit as the sole means of public outreach to clarify a matter of public concern.

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4 hours ago, Eurisko said:

Bethesda fires back!!!

This could get ugly. 

 

 

Bethesda's so fucked. Anyone trying to "both sides" this stuff is just utterly blind at what's going on here -- Bethesda has to respond not with litigation or with silence but with a shitty little note passive-aggressively denying what Gordon asserted without offering an ounce of counterevidence.

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Plot twist: Tim willist and marty statton are canoncally married. For being worst person at id software.

212747301_Timwillitsandmartystattoncouple.png.7c7d9f25887aeaa649ea7e6fe6bffdba.png

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I don't expect companies to be angels, especially big publishers, and for all I know Mick Gordon might be difficult to work with.

 

But I don't care, nothing excuses stealing a contractor's work. They've paid him for 142 minutes of music, and then sneaked an additional 144 minutes of material in the game, that they had previously rejected. That's fraud. In the UK you could pursue that as a criminal case if you chose to. And they're not denying it. They're just asserting that Mick has mischaracterised and mispresented the situation in the vaguest terms, with no specifics or evidence given.

 

Meanwhile Mick's 14000 word statement is highly detailed, refutes the specific allegations made against him point by point, and provides documentation to back it all up. He even goes so far as to ask people not to make any personal attacks at anyone at id, or indulge in any online hate campaigns.

 

I mean, I know who I believe, but hey, read it and decide for yourself.

Edited by Urthar

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Point the first) Bethesda has had literal years to sort this out or make this right. They have categorically not done so.

 

Point the second) Bethesda has a long history of treating people poorly, including the public. (Insert Internet Historian's Fallout 76 video here.)

 

Point the third) Mick, as a single dude, had no option but to go public. He knew that it would not fix the problem with Bethesda. He must have known that. I believe he did it primarily to stop the internet harassment. He clearly got to the point in dealing with Bethesda that he was all out of options. They have more money than him. They have more options than him. They can simply starve him out, and even if they lose in court, they pay him out without any real consequence to themselves.

 

Point the fourth) It would have cost Bethesda nothing to do the right thing contractually by Mick. It would not have affected them at all.

 

Point the fifth) Bethesda making a public announcement at this point has nothing to do with transparency or integrity. It is purely protecting their bottom line. It shows no desire for reconciliation or restitution.

 

Point the sixth) F*** Bethesda.  

Edited by Kyka

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15 hours ago, Ozcar said:

Plot twist: Tim willist and marty statton are canoncally married. For being worst person at id software.

212747301_Timwillitsandmartystattoncouple.png.7c7d9f25887aeaa649ea7e6fe6bffdba.png

i need to be caught up, what did Tim Willits do? (besides riding the coattails of more talented people)

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I heard stories of him being why a game like Quake 2 didn't get some features or making McGee do something that Carmack then got mad at McGee for.

He's notorious for getting shit wrong like a video where he called the Arch-vile "the Revenant from the original Doom" and saying he came up with "Multiplayer only maps" which lead to Romero and McGee to call out.

He also said that classic Doomguy (from the games he wasn't even involved in) was inspired by Warhammer 40K marines even though everyone knows the actual influences nowadays.

I'm sure someone has better knowledge and articulation over his history.

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On 11/17/2022 at 7:35 AM, Eurisko said:

Bethesda fires back!!!

This could get ugly. 

 


Facepalm of all facepalms... damage control much?

They've literally made themselves look even worse by responding like this. The hypocrisy...

Bethesda aren't making another cent from me until they show some decency because right now this dumpster fire is turning into an inferno and they're literally pouring petrol on themselves.

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On 11/16/2022 at 9:25 PM, Ozcar said:

Plot twist: Tim willist and marty statton are canoncally married. For being worst person at id software.

212747301_Timwillitsandmartystattoncouple.png.7c7d9f25887aeaa649ea7e6fe6bffdba.png


idk why, but is so funny seeing Tim Willits bald. lol

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I'm on Mick's side with this, after catching up on everything. He might not have super-duper-concrete evidence, but it's more than the statement we got from Bethesda/id afterwards and he tried to be non-hostile about it as far as I can tell. 

 

 

Aside from that, it appears Wikipedia deleted Marty's page for some reason, maybe related to this. Here's what you get now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Stratton versus what I could find on Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20221114204645/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Stratton

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Dweller said:

I'm on Mick's side with this, after catching up on everything. He might not have super-duper-concrete evidence, but it's more than the statement we got from Bethesda/id afterwards and he tried to be non-hostile about it as far as I can tell. 

 

 

Aside from that, it appears Wikipedia deleted Marty's page for some reason, maybe related to this. Here's what you get now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Stratton versus what I could find on Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20221114204645/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Stratton

 

 

 

 

doomguy, john carmack, and john romero circle strafed the wikipedia post out of existence

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14 hours ago, Kyka said:

Point the first) Bethesda has had literal years to sort this out or make this right. They have categorically not done so.

 

Point the second) Bethesda has a long history of treating people poorly, including the public. (Insert Internet Historian's Fallout 76 video here.)

 

Point the third) Mick, as a single dude, had no option but to go public. He knew that it would not fix the problem with Bethesda. He must have known that. I believe he did it primarily to stop the internet harassment. He clearly got to the point in dealing with Bethesda that he was all out of options. They have more money than him. They have more options than him. They can simply starve him out, and even if they lose in court, they pay him out without any real consequence to themselves.

 

Point the fourth) It would have cost Bethesda nothing to do the right thing contractually by Mick. It would not have affected them at all.

 

Point the fifth) Bethesda making a public announcement at this point has nothing to do with transparency or integrity. It is purely protecting their bottom line. It shows no desire for reconciliation or restitution.

 

Point the sixth) F*** Bethesda.  

SiXtEen TImEs tHe dEtaIl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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1 minute ago, HalfLife9000 said:

SiXtEen TImEs tHe dEtaIl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

For some reason this made me laugh a lot. Like an actual lot.

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2 minutes ago, Kyka said:

 

For some reason this made me laugh a lot. Like an actual lot.

honestly EA, Bethseda, and Activision-"BlIzZarD" are the definition of "i can buy you" to me

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5 hours ago, Dweller said:

I'm on Mick's side with this, after catching up on everything. He might not have super-duper-concrete evidence, but it's more than the statement we got from Bethesda/id afterwards and he tried to be non-hostile about it as far as I can tell. 

 

 

Aside from that, it appears Wikipedia deleted Marty's page for some reason, maybe related to this. Here's what you get now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Stratton versus what I could find on Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20221114204645/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Stratton

 

 

 

 

You can always see why a page deleted reading the deletion log
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Marty_Stratton

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