Destiny: Music of the Spheres leak confirmed as legit by multiple ex-Bungie staffers.
The 8-track, 48-minute album leak, which is live as of press time at more than a few mirrors, was quickly confirmed as legitimate by two major contributors to the project: former Bungie composer Marty O’Donnell and former Bungie creative director Joe Staten. O’Donnell offered a “I think this is it” on Monday via Twitter, followed by an emphatic post of “Finally! #NeverForgotMotS.” Staten followed up with acknowledgement that Sir Paul McCartney himself sang a lyric Staten had suggested, then added, “Glad #MOTS is finally out for all to hear.”
Music of the Spheres began life as a pre-release symphonic-album concept helmed by O’Donnell and his composing partner Michael Salvatori, and its creation and production eventually figured into the messy lawsuit that floated above O’Donnell’s “termination” from Bungie. Before the lawsuit, the album had received buzz—not surprising, given that it featured a freaking Beatle as a singer and songwriter. After O’Donnell and Bungie parted ways, however, the album sat in Bungie’s vaults, even though O’Donnell had publicly given Bungie his blessing to put the album out as an official, complete release.
Instead of Bungie officially releasing the album, however, a pair of Destiny music fans did the honors on Christmas day. Tlohtzin Espinosa and Owen Spence had spent over a year working on their own MotS-recreation project, which was made up of existing Destiny song snippets edited together based on sleuthing about the album. (Eurogamer’s report on this fan-album project is exhaustive and highly recommended to read.) The duo told Kotaku that they’d received a tip about a copy of the album, then pulled the trigger on posting the full album as a free Soundcloud stream. They posted additional links and comments in a lengthy Reddit post, in which they pointed out the potential legal issues surrounding their decision: “I do not intend to piss off Bungie, and I apologize if this is morally wrong,” Spence wrote. “I just want you guys to hear what was intended by the composers of Destiny.”
After getting advance notice about the album’s impending release, Kotaku tracked down O’Donnell for comment. He described feeling “quite relieved and happy,” then pointed out that while his father was alive to see the album’s public release (and happy about it), his mother had passed two years earlier. “Although she loved listening and shared it with some of her friends (she was a musician), she never understood why it wasn’t released,” he said to Kotaku.
As Espinosa and Spence had already deduced, Music of the Spheres includes more than a few melodies and movements already included in the 2014 Destiny game and other Destiny-related videos. But hearing these pieces chained together in order is another experience altogether. MotS impresses with its ability to tell musical stories that are equal measure bold and curious—a quality that O’Donnell always infused into his Halo game scores. McCartney’s album-closing song, meanwhile, sounds more like an over-earnest, end-of-game credits song than a pop-charts smash, but it’s about as good of a game-credits song as you’re likely to hear.
O’Donnell’s latest album came out earlier this year. Echoes of the First Dreamer serves as a “musical prequel” to the VR game Golem currently being produced by his new Seattle company Highwire Games.
Listing image by Tlohtzin Espinosa and Owen Spence
When creating Ultima Online, Richard Garriott had grand dreams. He and Starr Long planned on implementing a virtual ecology into their massively multiplayer online role-playing game. It was an ambitious system, one that would have cows that graze and predators that eat herbivores. However, once the game went live a small problem had arisen…