With the support of our central IP Strategy team, I wrote a champion that sums up what makes Illaoi special and what players around the world love about her.
Illaoi is the bearer of truth from Nagakabouros, the deity of life, ocean storms and movement, who is often depicted as a colossal kraken. Illaoi and her people hail from the Serpent Isles, an island archipelago that includes Bilgewater and her home island of Buhru.
In League of Legends, Illaoi’s game focuses on testing the mettle of individuals using a golden artifact known as the Eye of God. He wields a massive idol, ripping souls from their host bodies and summoning spectral tentacles to repeatedly ram into them.
In our story world, those who survive Nagakaboura’s test are considered to be on the right path and can move forward to their true purpose in life. While those who fall, it is not clear that they are failing in their duty to move their own lives forward and obstructing the flow of the universe. An experience that not everyone survives.
Using all of this information, we’ve defined Illaoi’s ground truth as: “A powerful and charismatic spiritual leader who inspires others to be their own unstoppable force.” She turns heads and commands a room with her physical presence and confident, single-minded swagger.
Then, using the brief, I worked with other discipline leaders – such as design and art – to create a north star for its development. This way we’ll make Illaoi instantly identifiable, even in a genre we’ve never seen her in. More importantly, we used it to find opportunities to grow her legend. Because a fighting game is the perfect place for Illaoi to shine.
With a clear image of her in our minds, we can ensure that anyone who already knows Illaoi beyond a superficial level will also find a character they love, while giving the development team the opportunity to delight even her most devoted followers with a version that will excite. door away. Or in her case, rip the door off its hinges with magical tentacles and beat the crap out of them.
On a personal note, I’ve loved who Illaoi is and what she could be ever since we developed her for League in 2015. And while she’s not one of the most popular champions in League, I think it’s easy to see how Illaoi her combination of bruised knuckles, devoted heart, and joyful swagger (combined with all the new experiences we can put in players’ hands) could make her a superstar in Project L.
Mike “zatransis” Henry, Creative Director:
Once Narrative has a good understanding of who the champion is, we move on to their visual direction. You can put a lot more into a champion when you know who they are, especially when comparing all of their visual representations – which Illaoi certainly didn’t lack for.
Some of our champions lend themselves to being quite altered, while others wouldn’t make sense to drastically change their appearance. When we started on Illaoi, it was clear that she was going to be the latter.
She has a truly iconic look: tall, muscular and imposing. But more than that, she is cheerful, bubbly and believes in challenging others to live their lives to the fullest. And all these things had to be reflected in her appearance.
Illaoi’s physique is quite unique in the League of Legends champion roster, and we’ve referenced many athletes with a focus on weightlifters and shot putters. Especially women who spend a lot of time lifting things as easily as Illaoi lifts her massive weapon.
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