With the support of our core IP strategy team, I’ve written a champion brief that summarizes what makes Illaoi special and what players around the world love about her.
Ilaoi is the Truth Bearer of Nagakaburos, the deity of life, ocean storms and movement, who is often depicted as a colossal kraken. Ilaoi and her people come from the Serpent Islands, an island archipelago that includes Bilge water and her native island of Buru.
In League of Legends, Illaoi’s gameplay focuses on testing the worthiness of individuals using the golden artifact known as the Eye of God. Swinging the massive idol, she rips the souls from their bodies and summons ghostly tentacles to strike them repeatedly.
In our story world, those who survive Nagakaburos’ test are considered to have taken the right path and can move on to pursue their true purpose in life. While those who fall remain in no doubt that they are not fulfilling their duty to move their lives forward and are obstructing the flow of the universe. An experience not everyone survives.
Using all of this information, we defined Illaoi’s core truth as: “A powerful and charismatic spiritual leader who inspires others to be their own unstoppable force.” She commands attention and dominates the room with her physical presence and confident, purposeful swagger.
Then, using the brief, I worked with the other leading disciplines – such as design and art – to create a north star for its development. This way, we ensure that Illaoi is instantly recognizable, even in a genre where we’ve never seen her before. And more importantly, we used it to look for opportunities to grow her legend. Because a fighting game is the perfect place for Illaoi to shine.
With a clear picture of her in mind, we can make sure that anyone who already knows Illaoi beyond the surface level will also find the character they love, while giving the development team the opportunity to delight even her most devoted followers with a version that will blow the doors off. Or in her case, rip the doors off their hinges with magical tentacles and beat you senseless with them.
Personally, I’ve loved who Ilaoi is and could be 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 Ilaoi’s combo of bruised knuckles, a devoted heart, and joyous tinkering (combined with all the new experiences we can put in the hands of players) could make her a Project L superstar.
Mike “zatransis” Henry, Creative Director:
Once the Narrative gives us 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 visuals – which Illaoi certainly didn’t lack for.
Some of our champions lend themselves well to change, while others wouldn’t make sense to drastically change their appearance. When we started with Illaoi, it was clear that she would be the last.
She has a truly iconic look: tall, muscular and imposing. But more than that, she is joyful, spiritual, 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 featured many athletes with an emphasis on weightlifters and shot putters. Mainly women who spend a lot of time lifting things as easily as Ilaoi lifts his huge weapon.