Halo composer reveals the original recording session for Halo 2’s Mjolnir mix

Marty O’Donnell, the composer for the Halo franchise, has released a video of the original recording session Steve Vai for Halo 2’s Mjolnir mix, which was recorded with the help of guitarist Steve Vai.

The video, which caught the attention of reddit, was originally posted on O’Donnell’s Youtube channel under the title “Steve Vai Halo2”, with the simple description of “Can you handle it?”

The grainy, half-hour long video shows the entire process of Vai learning and then playing the Halo theme 2, while O’Donnell and record producer Nile Rodgers offer him pointers and gradually put the piece together.

My favourite part of the video, however, is actually before the recording process begins. The first eight minutes see O’Donnell introducing Vai to the game and its musical score. They watch a few minutes of footage from Halo 2, after which Vai remarks “It’s amazing to see how these games evolve, you know? The graphics and…can you imagine where it’s going?”

It’s a fantastic and surprisingly poignant slice of game development history, providing a rare insight into a side of game design that generally doesn’t get a lot of attention. The video also shows how much effort O’Donnell and Bungie, along with contributors like Vai and Rodgers put into making Halo the behemoth that it has become.