Riot Conducts Reddit AMA for Development of Yasuo

Riot talks about their newest League of Legends Champion, Yasuo, the Sword Without a Sheath.

Riot employees have set aside a portion of their day to conduct a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) about the newest character to enter League of Legends: Yasuo, the Unforgiven. They answered questions about the development, story, gameplay and art.

Yasuo is a swordsman, "a former member of an Ionian martial school and the only student to have mastered a legendary wind technique," who has a series of wind related martial arts attacks that define his character. Accursed of the murder of his beloved teacher, he strikes out to find the real murderer. HIs brother, believing as many do that Yasuo is the killer, seeks him out.  Once in battle, however, his brother Yone is no match for Yasuo's skills and is killed. Yasuo is now defined by the quest to seek out the murderer who has caused him to be falsely accused. 

Here is a recap on all of Yasuo's special abilities

Here are some of the questions and answers from the Riot interview: 

ARealHuman asked: 

How do you come up with these names? 

ManWolfAxeBoss (Riot) responded: 

"Meanwhile, one of our female designers at Riot was complaining about the lack of attractive shirtless male champions in League of Legends (I guess Tryndamere wasn't hot enough for her.)" 

"Yasuo means honest or peaceful one in Japanese. There are a number of different characters that can be used to write it, but we went with this one: 康夫. The first character can be interpreted as “ease” or “peace” and the second simply as “man.” The name is fairly common in Japan, but has fallen in popularity over the last generation or two. The reason we went with a name meaning “peaceful one” for a guy who killed his own brother is in part the interesting juxtaposition, but also because Yasuo is not his birth name. Yasuo was wild when he first came to the sword school and, as was common practice for them, he was given a new name when he joined. In an effort to steady his wild nature, he was given the name Yasuo, which in our world (because Japan/Japanese doesn’t exist in Runeterra) means calm. We’re not revealing his birth name yet, but definitely wasn’t peaceful."

Physt asked: 

Do you already have some ideas for upcoming skins for Yasuo? 

RiotRansom (Riot) responded: 

"Funny story - when Yasuo was originally pitched, one of our female designers demanded that he not be wearing a shirt. So when he was revealed, she immediately messaged me and said WHY IS HE WEARING A SHIRT NO SHIRT DAMMIT. So my response to her was that we should have a Laundry Day Yasuo skin - same exact outfit, except he forgot to wear his shirt! No word from the skins team as to how viable they think this idea is." 

Captain50 asked: 

I have to ask, "Why a cowboy skin of all things?" 

RiotRansom (Riot) answered: 

"Reposting from an answer below: The inspiration for the skin is drawn from the classic spaghetti westerns directed by Sergio Leone. Think "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" starring Clint Eastwood. Leone has always admitted that his inspiration for these films were the classic samurai films of Kurosawa, such as Yojimbo and The Seven Samurai. In fact, one of the early inspirations for Yasuo was Yojimbo. So this skin is our team's way of paying homage to a very special part of the history of cinema."

mizukey13 asked: 

How much of a pain in the ass was it to code and bug fix Wind Wall? 

certainlyt (Riot) responded: 

"A pretty huge one. RiotJHa has owned the QA process for the ability. I would say it's the single biggest QA challenge we've faced from an ability perspective, on par with Yorick ult. Unlike Yorick ult, Yasuo's Wind Wall involves a lot of subjective decision making for edge cases. We've had a number of arguments within the design pit about just what Wind Wall should block (for example, Lux's Prismatic Barrier, which doesn't deal damage and Diana's Pale Cascade, which orbits her -- Wind Wall blocks both BTW)."

xDonny asked: 

Where did the idea come from to have him dodge skillshots with his ability? 

certainlyt answered: 

"In thinking about the Samurai/Swordsman archetype I tried to essentialize it down to: Dash, Parry, Strike. All of Yasuo's abilities are takes on those three simple principles." 

ApplePuncherd asked: 

How is his feelings toward Riven? 

RiotRansom (Riot) responded: 

We did four different records for Yasuo's voice and had already listened to a ton of auditions before those. Hitting the perfect amount of tough guy, while still maintaining Yasuo's somewhat introspective personality without making him sound too young or old turned out to be quiet a challenge. Liam O'Brien ending up knocking it out. 

"Good question - there's been a lot of discussion about this, given the speculation about the true murderer in Yasuo's bio and the lines in Yasuo's VO regarding Riven. Regardless of whether Riven killed the elder, it’s clear that Yasuo suspects her. And from a storytelling perspective, these circumstances set up a really interesting conflict. After all, we know Riven committed some evil deeds in her past, but she’s not the same person she once was – she’s on a different path now. So by the time Yasuo finds her, she’s not at all the villain he has always assumed that she would be. Not only that, but the two of them have a great deal in common – they are both outcasts of their factions whose sole companions are their blades. From these starting conditions, you simply don’t know where their intial encounter is going to lead. You’ll notice that Yasuo does not threaten to kill Riven in his VO – he speaks of reckonings and running from one’s past. It’s the beginning of a conversation between these two – and not the end." 

JohanEhr asked: 

What was the inspiration for this champion? 

RiotRansom (Riot) responded: 

"As much as we love Master Yi in all his sword-boot glory, we felt there was room in the game for a more traditional and serious Ionian swordsman. One thing that we definitely set out to capture was the tone of classic Samurai movies – these films are so oppressively fatalistic and melancholy and drenched in blood. People are killing each other, not because they want to, because they are obligated to. Only in feudal Japan! It’s such a macho code of honor type of setting, you know? We knew we had delivered on this fantasy when one of the translators responsible for publishing Yasuo’s bio wrote us a note saying it had made her cry. Joe (who wrote the bio) should be proud of that."

ManaDunkey asked

Why did you decide to create a "high noon" skin for Yasuo's release and how does this fit into his champion lore? 

RiotRansom (Riot) responded: 

"Hi! I already answered a Riven-related question earlier, but I'll take this chance to talk about the High Noon skin. The inspiration for the skin is drawn from the classic spaghetti westerns directed by Sergio Leone. Think "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" starring Clint Eastwood. Leone has always admitted that his inspiration for these films were the classic samurai films of Kurosawa, such as Yojimbo and The Seven Samurai. In fact, one of the early inspirations for Yasuo was Yojimbo. So this skin is our team's way of paying homage to a very special part of the history of cinema." 

Tikem asked: 

When Yasuo was originally teased with A Sword without a Sheath, there were rumours of a dual champion release. In the days long past, you've actually done something like that. Do you think this is something you would be willing to try out, considering that the pre-season patches tend to be just as choatoic as releasing two champions at the same time would be? 

RiotRansom (Riot) responded: 

"Hey - just wanted to say that in the world of making champions for League of Legends, anything is possible. Anything. Seriously - some of the craziest ideas you've seen proposed by fans are ones that we internally considered before the suggestion was even made. So what I'm saying is, we're always looking for ways to surprise and delight you guys."

 

There are plenty more questions and answers on the Riot AMA here.

Former Staff Editor

Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.

Published Dec. 3rd 2013
  • Samuel Franklin
    Featured Contributor
    I did manage to catch this one on reddit and it was nice of the developers to pop in and answer some questions. New champion seems a good direction, it has been stale over the past few months in my opinion.
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    Not a fan of Jinx?
  • GameSkinny Staff
    Contributor
    The references to Sergio Leone and Kurosawa made me swoon. Seriously, Toshiro Mifune's Yojimbo is one of my favorite character's in cinema. HE'S SO GOOD.
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    Love Kurosawa! There's also a hint at the end that they might bring out a second character. Reddit users are hoping for Zombie Yone.

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