Tragedy struck Middle-Earth: Shadow of War developer Monolith when executive producer Michael Forgey succumbed to cancer in March. Monolith made an inspiring move to keep the memory of Forgey, a beloved colleague and a musician for most of his life, alive by creating a character in Shadow of War based on him. The “Forthog Orc-Slayer” DLC features a traveling companion based on Forgey, wielding an axe resembling a guitar. The proceeds from the DLC were meant to go to Forgey’s family, but after some doubts from fans about where the money would end up, publisher WB Games announced that the memorial DLC will be free.
Instead, Warner Bros. will make a direct donation to the family, while also linking to the family’s original crowdfunding campaign for those who would like to donate. Originally, the DLC was to cost $4.99, with $3.50 of each purchase to be donated to the family. While Monolith’s intentions were undoubtedly good, fans took issue when looking at the fine print. The donations were only valid in 43 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for legal reasons, leading fans to question where the money from the other seven states would end up. There were also concerns about what WB Games profiting from this content meant as a memorial.
While WB Games released a statement clarifying that neither the publisher nor Monolith would profit from the DLC, fans were still dubious. After the controversy, the publisher reversed the decision to charge for the DLC, saying in their blog post:
“We now recognize that tying our donation to sales of the DLC was not the best way to achieve our goal of offering financial support to the family and creating a lasting memorial to Michael Forgey. We sincerely apologize to the fans and to the Forgey family for the confusion we created.”
Shadow of War will release on Oct. 10, and all who purchased the Forthog DLC will be refunded. Donations can be made to the Forgey family on their crowdsourcing page here. WB Games uploaded the trailer for the DLC, with an updated video description explaining the new situation. The trailer is embedded below, and features music from Forgey himself.