Earlier this month, Warner Bros. Interactive and Monolith Productions revealed the Forthog Orc-Slayer content pack for the upcoming game Middle-earth: Shadow of War. At the time, the publisher said that all proceeds would be going to the family of late executive producer Mike Forgey, but after struggling to find a legal solution for international donations, the content will instead be free to all players.
“Our decision not to promote the donation outside the United States (even though we intended to donate the money) caused many to question where funds from other territories were going,” Warner Bros. said in a forum post. “Answering that direct question itself could have triggered compliance obligations or put us in violation of marketing laws in some of the 241 territories in which the content was available.”
If you already purchased the Forthog Orc-Slayer pack, you will be given a full refund, and everyone else will be able to snag it for free when the game launches next month. Warner Bros. is still donating money to the Forgey family, however, and shared a YouCaring page for fans looking to give funds directly.
“For absolute clarity, our intention was always to give all profits from the DLC worldwide to the Forgey family,” Warner Bros. added.
Shadow of War had already come under fire for its loot box system, which allowed players to spend real money in order to buy in-game followers, weapons, and experience. The game also partnered with Totinos Pizza, offering extra gold for those munching on pizza rolls, as well as a chance to win an Xbox One S.
Design director Bob Roberts told Eurogamer that he didn’t plan to pay for loot boxes in his personal game, and that his team had worked on balancing to ensure that they wouldn’t be necessary. However, it’s becoming a pervasive trend that we’ve seen from other AAA titles, NBA 2K18 is the most recent offender, with players needing to spend very high amounts of virtual currency in order to upgrade players’ attributes — of course, real cash makes this process quicker.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War is out for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 10.