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Composer of Journey, The Banner Saga faces expulsion from musicians' union

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The composer of the musical score for The Banner Saga is facing explusion from his union for his refusal to pay a fine related to his work on that video game.

Variety reports that Austin Wintory, a Grammy-nominated composer, was slapped with a $2,500 fine by the American Federation of Musicians for violating union rules by recording his score under non-union auspices. He has until Jan. 19 to pay it, and if he continues to refuse, he will be kicked out.

Wintory isn't paying up out of principle. He has offered to make a $2,500 contribution to a Los Angeles-based music charity instead. Variety adds that AFM's posture is at odds with its Local No. 47 — the local for Los Angeles — which passed a resolution supporting Wintory back in October.

Wintory and other video game composers have long been critical of the AFM, calling for an update to standard AFM conditions that allow for more opportunities to their members. High costs and restrictions on future uses of the musical work are among the conditions that some games publishers are unwilling to accept.

Wintory did his work for The Banner Saga in Texas, a "right-to-work" state, to avoid union rules.

Austin Wintory is a longtime veteran of video-game related composition, including the soundtracks of titles such as Journey and Monaco, and was a co-developer of fl0w by Thatgamecompany. He was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for his Journey soundtrack.

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