Riot gives insight into Gwen’s origin and gameplay design process for League of Legends

Gwen originally had many more elements of crowd control worked into her kit.

Riot Games released the latest installment of its “Champion Insights” series today, discussing the origins of League of Legends’ newest champion, Gwen. Riot dove deep into the creation process behind the scissor-wielding skirmisher, mentioning how the champion’s story and gameplay elements came together throughout her development process. 

“To help make her feel less modern and more high-fantasy Runeterra, we borrowed from the shape language found in Camavor,” said Gem “Lonewingy” Lim, Riot’s concept art lead. Camavor is another region found in the universe of League, much like Runterra.

“Camavor’s culture is a hybrid of conquistador-era Spain and Victorian England,” according to Lonewingy. “The style of that time is very baroque with emphasis on embellishments and attention to detail. We wanted to make sure that that style came through in Gwen, both as a doll and human.”

Riot also mentioned how important it was for Gwen’s source of power to be obvious to the naked eye. Riot has said in the past that every champion in League should have some sort of iconic silhouette to them that defines their character. Whether it’s Senna’s gun or Ivern’s brittle, long legs, there should always be a defining characteristic for a League champion. For Gwen, it’s a monstrously large pair of scissors. 

As far as gameplay goes, Riot ran into trouble when designing Gwen’s Hallowed Mist (W). 

“The problem was that her enemies could just leave her zone. No one wants to fight the enemy when they’re at their strongest, so the answer to Gwen’s ‘welcome to my thunderdome’ spell was to just leave,” Riot said. “And that’s when the team realized that they needed to give Gwen the tools to actually force enemies to play her game.”

The champion’s designers eventually came to the point of allowing Gwen to move her zone of spooky mist one time so that she can efficiently chase down enemies and force her targets to play by her rules. 

Riot also mentioned how it heavily experimented with Gwen’s ultimate before landing on Needlework’s current iteration.

“Her ult was always needle-and-thread themed, so we used that to yank her enemies back into her zone.” said game designer Stash “Stashu” Chelluck. “It was really fun to play as, because your victim’s teammates couldn’t do anything to help. There was another iteration where she’d spear two enemies with needles and then swap their locations.”

But abilities such as these ultimately created a problem for Gwen since her kit became quickly overloaded with a ton of high-damage abilities, as well as strong crowd control tools. Riot came to the conclusion that instead of focusing on utility, Gwen’s strengths would come from the ability to run absolutely rampant on the enemy team, dealing high burst damage in a skirmishing scenario as opposed to locking down opponents and dealing damage by way of a thousand cuts. 

Gwen should reach League’s live servers with Patch 11.8 on April 14, according to the official patch schedule.

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