Earlier this month, Warner Bros. announced that they would have a piece of DLC for Middle-Earth: Shadow of War featuring the likeness of executive producer Mike ‘Forthog’ Forgey, who passed away last year, with proceeds from the sale of the content going to the Forgey family. What might have been a lovely gesture to support a grieving family has instead brought a series of communication errors and general confusion that has made the whole situation a mess.
Due to all the controversy, Warner Bros. have elected to make the DLC free and will instead make a direct donation to the Forgey family. Anyone who has already purchased the content will receive a full refund.
The biggest problem was a lack of communication over whether proceeds from DLC sales outside the US would go to the family. WB say that the money from all sales would have been going to the family, but it seems that lack of transparency was an intentional way of skirting international compliance laws. According to their statement, answering the questions about where the money from non-US sales would go “could have triggered compliance obligations or put us in violation of cause marketing laws in some of the 241 territories in which the content was available.”
It seems they hoped merely promoting the charitable content in the US would have been enough. Clearly, it was not. The problem was exacerbated by a tweet which suggested international DLC sales would not have gone to the family, which WB say was incorrect. It’s all a moot point now, though.
It’s a shame that a promotion to help a grieving family had to end with such awkward measures, but Warner Bros.’ messaging around the content had been confused from the start. If you’d like to offer your own monetary support to the family, you can do so through their YouCaring page.