Martin O'Donnell

Destiny [Original Game Soundtrack]

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A far cry from the 8-bit themes of old, the music for Bungie's ambitious MMO Destiny invokes the scope of traditional Hollywood space operas much more than it does an image as quaint as Pac-Man being consumed by a ghost or Q*bert's isometric pyramid of death. Credited (mostly) to longtime Bungie court composer Martin O'Donnell, who was let go by the game developer shortly after finishing work on Destiny, the soundtrack is also credited to the very capable Michael Salvatori and Paul McCartney (yep, the Beatle), and between the three of them, they have crafted a video game score for the ages. The main heroic cue ("The Traveler") falls somewhere between Jerry Goldsmith's iconic Star Trek theme and the John Williams-penned opening titles for Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories, lending the game a distinctly stoic and remarkably cinematic atmosphere that remains consistent throughout. Different planets are given altogether different themes, with Mars' dissonant brass and thunderous percussion drawing much of its inspiration from Holst's "Mars Bringer of War" ("Cabal Stomp") and Venus adopting a more electronic heavy, ambient symphonic flair ("Ishtar Sink") that mirrors the world's jungly Avatar-inspired verdancy. Still, this is video game music, which tends to (unfairly) take a backseat to film music, yet much like the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Final Fantasy, and Halo series, the 44-track soundtrack doesn't suffer without its visual components, offering up a solid listening experience sans gameplay, as it lacks none of the polish or ambition of a big screen score from the likes of Zimmer, Desplat, or Gregson-Williams, and in a more perfect world, would receive the same modicum of respect.