Children of Morta charity DLC raises more than $50,000 in a week for Human Society International

"Acting meaningfully" is a core value for indie dev and publisher 11 Bit Studios. Pawel Miechowski, the company's partnership manager, talks to GameDaily about the charity campaign.

Last month, developer Dead Mage and publisher 11 Bit released an expansion for its action-RPG Children of Morta titled Paws and Claws. The animal-themed DLC added into the game an animal shelter, with all revenue from its sales being donated to Humane Society International (HSI). By all accounts, the campaign has been a big success so far, with Dead Mage and 11 Bit having now raised more than $50,000 for the animal charity as of last week.

“The idea of this DLC being made for charity was built-in from the very start, so early in development, we started looking for a good partner and quickly HSI jumped in and took the role,” Pawel Miechowski, partnership manager at 11 Bit studios, told GameDaily of the initiative.

The themes of Children of Morta, Miechowski said, go hand-in-hand with an organization like HSI. It’s a game about family and connections and empathy, values that are reflected in HSI’s mission statement. This is the reason Dead Mage and 11 Bit began working with the organization, and why video games are an ideal medium for such a partnership.

“Our philosophy of creation can be described as meaningful entertainment. That’s the stuff we want to make, both as a developer and as a publisher; games that matter. Acting meaningfully is a part of that,” Miechowski explained. “Ultimately, we thought this DLC should be supporting some type of animal charity, and with a little research, we came across HSI. Luckily, they were super interested in hopping on board and helped us to spread the word.”

The campaign hit the $50,000 milestone in just one week, a number that is made even more impressive when you consider that the DLC is only $3.99. Raising that much for charity in such a short amount of time has certainly surprised the teams at Dead Mage and 11 Bit, and Miechowski hopes that this points to even loftier success moving forward.

“Honestly, I was expecting to reach this milestone in two to three weeks and it happened just in one. It was great to see so many Children of Morta players donating to HSI by purchasing the DLC. As for the moment, we don’t have a total goal or an end date in mind.”

Miechowski said that he wants to keep the campaign going for as long as possible, and is looking for opportunities to bring some more attention to the DLC down the line. Luckily, he has an existing model to use as a benchmark: the War Child charity drive from 11 Bit’s own This War of Mine. Launched in 2015, that particular campaign raised well over $500,000 for the titular charity.

“The War Child DLC allowed us to gather funds through the span of a few years, so I hope this can happen with Paws and Claws too,” Miechowski said.

That desire to help and give back is baked into the DNA of 11 Bit Studios, and “acting meaningfully” is a big part of its business philosophy. The goal is to make games that have an impact beyond the screen, that have the power to provoke thought and action. 

As Miechowski puts it, “If we can organize help for a good cause, why wouldn’t we?”

The Paws and Claws initiative is underway, and a supplementary Twitch fundraising campaign is also going on through September 13. You can also donate to HSI directly here.

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