Warner Bros back-pedal on controversial Shadow of War charity DLC

Posted on September 27, 2017

Back at the beginning of September, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Studios revealed their plan to memorialise one of Monolith’s recently deceased staff members, Michael Forgey, within the upcoming Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Forgey would appear as the Forthog Orc-Slayer and would be available through purchasable DLC with the profits going towards the Forgey family.

At face value, memorialising a member of staff within a game he worked so hard on whilst simultaneously raising money for his family seemed like an amazing idea. Although controversy was brought about quite quickly when people came to the realisation that only purchases in 44 of the united States would go towards this cause, purchases in other states or purchases outside of the US would provide no benefit to the family, only benefiting Monolith and Warner Bros.

This morning, Warner Bros. have back-pedalled and have revealed that they no longer intend to go ahead with their previous plan for the Forthog DLC. They are instead releasing it completely free. Those who purchased the DLC will receive a full refund of the purchase price and Warner Bros. intends to make a donation to the Forgey family rather than sending them the profits of the DLC sale.

The details can all be found within this blog post where Warner Bros. also attempts to clarify a few misunderstandings:

“Although we decided to donate all profits to the family, we only planned to actively promote this donation in the U.S. (excluding certain states based on their charitable promotion laws).  We hoped this approach would raise as much money as possible for the Forgey family in compliance with the law.  Our decision not to promote the donation outside the U.S. (even though we intended to donate the money) caused many to question where funds from other territories were going.”

“Additionally, a factually incorrect tweet from our team exacerbated the confusion by stating that international funds would not be going to the family.  For absolute clarity; our intention was always to give all profits from the DLC, worldwide to the Forgey family.”

Forthog DLC from Warner Bros. and Monolith

Whether Warner Bros. actually intended to donate worldwide profits of the Forthog DLC to the Forgey family or is simply responding to a PR nightmare is still a hotly contested topic. But at least some resolution has come about to this fiasco with the DLC (which was suppose to be about a man’s memory and legacy) now heading in a more positive direction.