Today in an open letter to fans, Marty Stratton, Executive Producer for Doom Eternal, discussed the entire issue with Mick Gordon and the poor soundtrack mixing situation. Within it, he explained how Mick Gordon was accommodated with extra time to finish the mixing process but was unable to deliver it even within the delayed time frame for the Doom Eternal Collector’s Edition.
Contrary to what man fans believed, the mix of the majority of songs in the soundtrack wasn’t done poorly, they were mixed from the audio samples provided by Mick for the game’s development. These audio samples were already pre-mixed and pre-compressed for this process. Marty describes the system further in this section:
“It is important to understand that there is a difference between music mixed for inclusion in the game and music mixed for inclusion in the OST. Several people have noted this difference when looking at the waveforms but have misunderstood why there is a difference. When a track looks “bricked” or like a bar, where the extreme highs and lows of the dynamic range are clipped, this is how we receive the music from Mick for inclusion in the game – in fragments pre-mixed and pre-compressed by him. Those music fragments he delivers then go into our audio system and are combined in real-time as you play through the game.”
In general, while this lifts much of the blame for the lesser-quality soundtrack from id Software and leaves the situation a little more ambiguous than before, it highlights an important change going forward. Mick Gordon and id Software won’t be working together in the future. Not even for the upcoming DLC.
“As for the immediate future, we are at the point of moving on and won’t be working with Mick on the DLC we currently have in production.”
It’s not clear at this point who will be the composer for this content. The DLC is highly anticipated as, unlike in Doom from 2016, the DLC will be more single-player content for a game praised for its high energy gameplay. With Doom’s soundtrack so heavily featured and somewhat integral to the experience of the game, a new composer may have a notable impact on the quality of the game.
However, it’s important to realize that Mick Gordon wasn’t magically manifested in the development of Doom. He was chosen by the creators of the game because he is a talented individual who can create great music in line with the design. These same people are going to be choosing another person to fill that role. It’s an incredible endeavor to undertake, but there’s no reason to believe they won’t be just as successful.
Hopefully, id Software can deliver some incredible DLC that will give players a reason to get back in the game. This situation has cast an unjustified shadow on one of the best games of the year in a year already overflowing with great games. If that can be continued with an expansion of the thrilling gameplay, maybe this can all be left behind and we can get back to enjoying a game that can simply be described as “great.”