Same fox, new tails: Riot drops details on Ahri’s upcoming art and sustainability update in League

Image via Riot Games

Ahri might be one of League of Legends’ most popular champions, but she’s also one of the oldest in the game. The Vastayan was released back in 2011, and even though she’s seen a lot of play since, Riot Games is bringing a much-needed update to freshen up her gameplay and looks.

Next year, Ahri will be getting an art and sustainability update, which is very different from the updates that most players are used to. An ASU doesn’t touch gameplay mechanics at all and instead focuses on sustainability for the future, making it easier to develop new cosmetics as Riot moves forward with its own technologies.

“As you can imagine, some of our older champions are pretty challenging to create skins for, and our capabilities and standards continue to evolve year after year,” lead producer Layla “yoganinja” Jean said. “We want to make future skin development for these champs more streamlined. To do this we do a number of things, like refactoring how data is set up in the engine, how art is authored across source art packages, and using modern tools and tech to upgrade the champion.”

Looking at Ahri, the team planned changes for a plethora of different aspects, including animations, visual effects, audio effects, and even her story-driven narrative. For example, the Nine-Tailed Fox will now have a new set of voice lines to reflect her journey as a character within the world of Runeterra, including her role within the Ruined King.

In terms of her appearance, Riot plans to combine different elements from her various appearances in both League cinematics and in-game designs. Currently, the team is trying to blend her look from the popular “A New Dawn” trailer, along with some small nods to her look in Ruined King. It was important for the devs to emphasize her wilder, more feral side, while still emphasizing her graceful Vastayan beauty.

For the animation team, Ahri’s nine tails have been a huge endeavor since this is one of her unique character assets with a ton of potential. As a result, her tail will now have a whole new system based on movement and ability usage, according to senior animator Einar “Beinhar” Langfjord.

“Having a solid system for the tails while creating individual animations is great, but to truly sell
the fantasy of the Nine-tailed Fox, the tails also need to respond to player input,” Langfjord said. “We therefore worked very closely on the in-game simulation system and applied live simulations on each of the tails at all times.”

Ahri’s ASU is scheduled to release early in 2023.

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