Forthog Orcslayer is not a character that fans of Tolkien's Middle-earth lore are likely to be familiar with. That's because he's actually a new addition to the universe, created by Monolith for the upcoming Middle-earth: Shadow of War to pay tribute to executive producer Mike Forgey, who died of cancer in 2016.
"Mike 'Forthog' Forgey was our Executive Producer and great friend here at Monolith. He was always ready to leap into the fray and save the game whenever and wherever he was most needed," Monolith said. "We lost Mike to cancer during the development of Shadow of War, and we want to remember and honor him with a little bit of immortality in Mordor. The legendary Forthog Orcslayer is our way to continue having Mike leap into battle and save us when we’re down."
Mike “Forthog” Forgey was our Exec. Producer at Monolith we lost to cancer. We’d like to honor him with some immortality in Mordor. [M] pic.twitter.com/7BnbpKWVSAAugust 31, 2017
It sounds like Forthog will work much like Fallout's Mysterious Stranger: When the player is in trouble, there's a chance he'll show up, clean house, and then wander off to wherever, needing no more reward than the satisfaction of a slaughter well done. Studio head Kevin Stephens said the idea emerged from Forgey's real-life willingness to jump in and help out wherever he was needed.
"The idea of him jumping in to save the day is something we wanted to capture," Stephens explains in the video below (the Forgey segment starts around 10:15). "There's situations where you go down on a knee and you're in your last chance, and you're out of your last chance, and traditionally an orc would kill you, [but] there's the possibility that one of your followers could jump in and save you. And so Forthog Orc Slayer is basically a savior that's just in the world, and if you have this DLC, randomly—it doesn't always happen—but randomly he can jump in and save you when you most need it. That really represents Michael's personality."
Forthog Orcslayer will be sold separately as DLC for $5/£4/€5, with $3.50 of each purchase made in the US (excluding AL, HI, IL, MA, MS, and SC) going to the Forgey family until December 31, 2019. Middle-earth: Shadow of War comes out on October 10.