Arts & Culture

GG and Me: The Addicting Music of Halo

Xera Britt, staff writer

Hello all, and welcome back to another installment of GG and Me! I’m your host and today we are talking about something near and dear to my heart and ear: music in games; more specifically the music in Bungie titles like the original “Halo Trilogy,” “Halo 3: ODST,” “Halo: Reach” and the “Destiny” Franchise. 

“Halo” was my childhood, but “Destiny” became my young adulthood and began to shape my character from where “Halo” left off. I admit, I’m shamelessly addicted to this rollercoaster of a game and I’ve stuck with it through everything it has gone through with the gameplay, visuals, scattered story, cool aliens and the music. I can not tell you the pure thrill of hearing the “Destiny” track “Cabal Stomp” for the first time in the deserted cities of Mars, hearing the intimidating theme of the Taken King boom into my eardrums as I fought the Hive God, the chilling feeling of the Iron Tomb, the climactic fight against Ghaul and now the Dark motifs of the Pyramids and Savathun, Sister to Oryx.

I want to dedicate time to honoring Martin O’Donnell, Michael Salvatori and their crew behind the music in the aforementioned works. 

Marty O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori met in college and joined together under the combined studio Salvatori created, TotalAudio. Soon, the studio would be contracted for Bungie’s upcoming hit- “Halo: Combat Evolved.” From there, the “Halo” series took off and the studio would continue making music for the series that would get voted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame, according to a Kotaku UK article. O’Donnell would go on to craft the eight-movement symphonic Music of the Spheres, which was sourced for the soundtrack for “Destiny 1” in 2014 before his relationship with Bungie eroded. Salvatori would become the head of “Destiny” soundtracks in 2014. Without these two and their teams, the “Halo” trilogy wouldn’t be nearly as impactful or popular as it was. The music set the stage for the games themselves to thrive in and inspired feelings of wonder, dread, excitement and mystery excellently, not to mention they helped immerse players into the universe. 

I’m a loyal Bungie fan not just because of the epic tales of sci-fi grandeur or action-packed gameplay or intricate aesthetics of their worlds alone. I’m loyal because I can become more invested through listening to the audial art that made my experiences so much more significant, so much so that I would load all their music onto my iPod so I could listen to it during homework, while falling asleep at night, or when daydreaming my own sci-fi world. The music is not only compelling but portable, moldable even. It feels, more than anything, like a shared gift between us and them: creator and consumer, creation and experience. 

You can find O’Donnell and Salvatori’s work in-game or on Youtube. I highly recommend “Music of the Spheres.”