How Martin O’Donnell Got Paul McCartney to Help Him On Destiny

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Booting up “Halo: CE” for the first time was just one of those moments.

While the thrill of playing a new console (the Xbox) and the hype the game had generated shortly before release were enough to amp you up before you even booted the game, it was the moment the main screen appeared that you immediately realized you were about to embark on something special. That’s because it was the moment you heard the “Halo” theme in all its glory.

Not only does it remain one of the best gaming themes of all time, but to this day it stands as one of the few musical themes across all mediums that manages to perfectly convey the material it represents, as its haunting intensity can flood memories of long nights of play into your conscious with no more than a note.

It’s the kind of work a composer could hang his hat on and call it a career, but that isn’t the case for “Halo’s” composer Martin O’Donnell, who has continued to work on the famed series, and who’s newest task sees him composing the theme to Bungie’s new game “Destiny.” That’s no small task considering that Bungie is trying to work with a clean slate not reliant on any previous success, meaning they’ll need a theme as epic as the one in “Halo,” but without being the one in “Halo.”

To help him in this herculian task, O’Donnell has recruited a man that’s had more than a little experience in producing hits over changing conditions.

Sir Paul McCartney working on an FPS with the composer of “Halo” may sound like an odd (or even dreamlike) scenario, but its roots are much more humble. As O’Donnell explains it, he was talking with a friend that worked on “Rock Band” when McCartney was helping that team out, and the friend mentioned that they could name drop O’Donnell to the rock legend. O’Donnell said why the hell not and since McCartney had played “Halo” with his grandkids (imagine that for a moment) knew O’Donnell’s work and took the chance to assist him with “Destiny.”

According to O’Donnell, McCartney is always excited to work on new ventures, and has brought a fresh perspective, as well as his tape loop machine used on Sgt. Peppers and years of experience, to the process. The combination of these great minds, has to date produced a 50 minute soundtrack which, according to O’Donnell, tells its own story within “Destiny” and will be released separately ahead of the game.

From the ambitious looking footage, its clear that Bungie has no interest in selling “Destiny” as a carbon copy FPS with “From the makers of Halo” stamped on the box, and this move to reach out to, and attract, a legend like McCartney is further proof of that, and that even in a crowded gaming line up we should all be keeping an eye on “Destiny” and an ear on its theme in anticipation of one of those moments.

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