Total War: Warhammer's Chaos Warriors pre-order bonus will now be offered free to all players who purchase the game during its first week on sale, Creative Assembly has announced.
The DLC had previously only been available to those who pre-ordered the game, providing an additional race exclusively to pre-release customers. But that's no longer the case, the developer says, with the content now available to everybody who buys the game up until 6pm BST on May 31.
"The Chaos Warriors have proven to be hugely popular," said creative director Mike Simpson, "and, by extending the deadline for getting them for free by a week, we can ensure loyal fans who don't feel like pre-ordering don't miss out, while still rewarding early adopters whose support is really valuable to us.
"We're really confident in the game and with the community backing us so strongly this should be the biggest launch for Total War ever."
The Chaos Warriors Race Pack introduces three playable Legendary Lords, new mounts, units and monsters, new quests, magic items and abilities, and a "new horde campaign playstyle".
The decision follows criticism from fans accusing the developer of cutting content from the final game, leading to an extensive blog post from Simpson and the game's brand director discussing the situation.
"If we didn't add [Chaos Warriors] to the pre-order, it would have been DLC later on and not in the game at release," Simpson said back in November. "We thought we'd done well. Maybe there is a better solution - we're listening to all suggestions for the future. Maybe pre-orders are becoming so toxic they will stop working altogether. You'd hope not though, as it quite simply means those incentives will end up just being paid DLC after launch."
He continued: "Pre-orders create buzz, improve sales and give the whole studio confidence in what we're doing. They genuinely let us give you something for nothing, and you can't lose – if you aren't happy with the final game, you should explore your refund rights. Even if you don’t pre-order, you get Chaos as an Ai opponent."
Total War: Warhammer launches on PC on May 24.