Every production cycle brings its fair share of character-testing trials and tribulations for the studio(s) involved, but few quite as arduous as what the team behind licensed fantasy RPG Middle-Earth: Shadow of War has endured in recent months.
Last year saw the untimely passing of leading developer Michael Forgey, who died of a brain tumour at the age of 43. These heartbreaking circumstances must doubtless have knocked everyone involved at WB Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions for six, but to their credit, they’ve devised a fitting in-game homage to their fallen comrade-in-arms…
- As a tribute to Forgey and a means by which to raise funds for his grieving family, the Shadow of War team has unveiled the Forthog Orc-Slayer DLC, introducing a new supporting character – modelled on the late executive producer’s likeness – who’ll march into battle alongside protagonist Talion to reclaim Mordor from the clutches of the Dark Lord Sauron, mowing down countless hapless Orcs en route.
- The £3.99 / $4.99 DLC package caused tremors among the Middle-Earth fan community, however, when some spotted small print in the DLC’s trailer (below) hinting that its funds wouldn’t reach the Forgey estate if collected in certain US stores or other worldwide retailers.
- WB later resolved the matter though, confirming $3.50 of the $4.99 on each sale would go to the family provided the sale occurred in a participating state. “Neither Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment nor Monolith Productions will profit from any sales of the Forthog Orc-Slayer DLC regardless of the territory in which that DLC is sold,” the studio said.
Clarifying their position on what could’ve fast become a contentious and arguably disrespectful dilemma is a wise move on publisher WB Interactive Entertainment’s part, placing the onus first and foremost on individual video game retailers to step up to the plate and participate in this charity initiative, or face the reputational impact should they refuse.
Whether the aforementioned freebie DLC package serves as a satisfactory commemoration, bidding an uplifting farewell to the man who’ll sadly never reap the fruits of his labour, will scarcely affect the finished product’s overall quality, nor the ongoing debates over its microtransactions, but if nothing else, Fogey’s legacy will live on in style this autumn.
You can send a donation to the Fogey family at their Youcaring page here, and check out the gameplay trailer debuting his Shadow of War counterpart in all his Orc-besieging glory below. Stay tuned to D-pad Joy for all the latest coverage on the title’s development and our review as its executive producer’s final project hits Xbox One, PS4 and PC this October 10th.