Creative Design AMA: Katarina, the Sinister Blade (Revised)

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Adalore

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Senior Member

08-24-2012

On Katarina's off time, what does she do besides get better at her job? What does she do which is unrelated to assassination to relax?


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RiotRaven

Sr. Creative Designer

08-24-2012
36 of 36 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eserine View Post
I would liken all this: to the third Tobey Maguire Spiderman film where the protagonist inexplicably adopts trademarks of the "emo" culture and begins acting erratically in an unnecessary (and critically panned) attempt to stir the audience into relating more deeply with a character that people were already attached to from previous comics and television shows from their childhoods.
The third Spider-Man movie had plenty of problems, not the least of which was the "emo" symbiont suit Peter Parker. But I disagree that what we're doing is correlate. Spider-Man, apart from the third movie, has plenty of existing flaws built into his character. He's a kid, he's trying to hold down a job and complete school, he has a girlfriend he has to protect, etc. If he had none of these flaws and was just an awesome super-hero 100% of the time with no cares and then the symbiont suit hit him, I believe it would be correlate.

Quote:
Likewise the previous lore (where it was good) sets the stage now for the lore team to destroy Runeterra as it currently exists, A more coherent way of dealing with female Noxian warriors like Riven or any future characters would be to have them come from outlying and impoverished villages in the rural countryside that do not subscribe, out of their isolation and backwardness, to the paternalist conventions of the Noxian aristocracy.

]In that way the lore could simply have been added-to instead of erasing the heroic nature of Katarina's attempt to forge a new path against the resistances of expectations brought against her. It saddens me (even as a man) to think of this facet of Katarina being devalued when so many female pioneers in modern civilization have sacrificed their comfort and personal safety to advance the cause of gender equality. The U.S. astronaut Sally Ride inspired a generation of female scientists and engineers only after suffering through years of jeers and harassment in her field, and even today (especially as LoL expands internationally) an equal number of these situations of prejudice touch or will touch the players of this game as they seek careers or political recognition. Now however they will have one less exemplar of the perspicacity necessary to fight adversity, if "many options" weren't open to her the new Katarina it seems as though she just would have settled upon whatever future was given to her by her background, and that is not a good message to be sending, even if you attempt to justify it with the claim that it makes her more personable somehow (since according to RIOT authors being confrontational or dangerous is apparently one-dimensional).
In this new lore, compared to the old lore, we actually empower Katarina as a strong female. Having Kat struggle against a paternal society creates gender inequity in our world, which is something we do not want to have. Those sorts of themes are something that is central to properties like Game of Thrones, not ours. We have a world full of empowered and butt-kicking women. Kat's story being one where she had natural talents and interests that drew her to her vocation, and then has the drive and ability to excel, creates a character more fitting of the League of Legends world.


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Alice Twilight

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Senior Member

08-24-2012

Raven, we meet again dark one. I really like the new Kat lore, HOWEVER, redoing lore is only a small patch for a much larger problem. Make no mistake, making champions interesting and well developed characters should be a top priority. Right now, I find that you're lacking in the identity of the various nations needs to be fleshed out more. It's not hard to get a rough idea from champion lore but nations their own big stories. It's important to remember that cities and nations are characters. As an example, I've seen a lot of bat Batman stories start off on the wrong foot by getting Gotham wrong.


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cpmd4

Senior Member

08-24-2012

I have to say that with this revision comes a great new piece of lore! Well done!

Do you guys plan to redo all the older champions' bios, or just ones you feel aren't up to par with what you want? And will they be reminiscent of what they were before? Kat's lore here is very different from before, but Fiora's and Shyvana's (which was a favourite of mine) are both similar to their old bios. I know there are quite a few champs whose stories I love and I hope aren't changed too much (*cough* Riven *cough*).


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Eserine

Senior Member

08-24-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiotRaven View Post
The third Spider-Man movie had plenty of problems, not the least of which was the "emo" symbiont suit Peter Parker. But I disagree that what we're doing is correlate. Spider-Man, apart from the third movie, has plenty of existing flaws built into his character. He's a kid, he's trying to hold down a job and complete school, he has a girlfriend he has to protect, etc. If he had none of these flaws and was just an awesome super-hero 100% of the time with no cares and then the symbiont suit hit him, I believe it would be correlate.
I'm not sure how you define being a kid, having a job, completing school, and having a girlfriend "flaws", symbolically Peter Parker's physical and developmental shortcomings were addressed suddenly when he was bitten by a radioactive spider, which allowed his story to progress toward a focus upon the imperfections intrinsic within his environment like his friend's evil father, a love triangle, and his uncle being murdered. He is functionally and tactically invincible from the time he was bitten, much like Neo's ascension in the first Matrix film. Writers later attempted to add self-doubt elements to both these stories and in both cases they failed at delivering improvement, because the protagonists play to a messianic narcissism complex where the audience wishes to vicariously live as or be loved by an unstoppable overman, much like Katarina is (or was, at least).


Quote:
Originally Posted by RiotRaven View Post
In this new lore, compared to the old lore, we actually empower Katarina as a strong female. Having Kat struggle against a paternal society creates gender inequity in our world, which is something we do not want to have. Those sorts of themes are something that is central to properties like Game of Thrones, not ours. We have a world full of empowered and butt-kicking women. Kat's story being one where she had natural talents and interests that drew her to her vocation, and then has the drive and ability to excel, creates a character more fitting of the League of Legends world.
"Empowered"? As I have anticipated you have chosen to argue that removing all instances of sexism mentioned within the lore is better than to address such things within the gameworld, as likewise many critics have charged the designers with omitting characters with black skin in the game to solve the need to address whether there is racism in Runeterra. I feel this is wrong because there is an implicit implication of both sexism and racism, both in the historical ages and locations League of Legends draws from unreservedly in its art and storytelling style, and secondly from modern life where both of these forces are present and equally glossed-over. Let's look at the game: Hiemerdinger, Zilean, Viktor, Jayce, Singed, Rumble, Warwick, and Ziggs are all scientists. There are no female scientists. Jarvan IV is the hereditary male descendent of the Demacian monarchy, together with male-ruled Noxus the center of conflict in Valoran lore, whereas the North countries of the three sisters are politically powerless and relegated to about as much attention or prestige as whatever swamp Karthus crawled out of (and their leadership likewise as neighboring hereditary matriarchies does not seem to be available to men of merit), Janna is a chesty blonde floating around in a bedsheet making phone-s.ex jokes, where no male equivalent to this (or other sexualized female champions) exists even after repeated (very popular) demands from portions of the community that would be interested in such things and a "challenge accepted" guarantee from IronStylus. There are no female Generals, nor in the "equal society of Noxus" were any women sent to the Crystal Scar conflict to be pictured in the JoJ (unless inexplicably wearing male armor suits). No physically-older, heavier, or non-smooth faced human woman is part of the League, nor have monstrous female Voidlings been added, although we do have a skin of Morgana wearing an apron and baking cookies and Akali in a very revealing nurse outfit (again because no women are able to have advanced degrees such as doctorates or law credentials like the male characters). Need I go on? I can if you would like me to, there are hundreds of instances I and other players see all the time when engaging with this universe.

You have moved what characters were openly fighting against to what is now underground and unacknowledged, and to reach in heavy-handedly for the proposed superficial modifications in the hope of paying lipservice to an uninspired and disingenuous utopia will be widely jarring and disconsonant with what has already been established as intrinsically canonical, where traces of prejudice are buried even unto the deepest roots of the weltanschauung (or comprehensive worldview) of Runeterra.


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Xulsigae

Senior Member

08-24-2012

Do Pantheon skins count as beefcake to answer all the revealing costumes of female champs?


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Swanhaven

Senior Member

08-25-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiotRaven View Post
Undetermined as of yet. Since she throws them, it would be hard to have them all be special. However, I would find it surprising if she doesn't have one that isn't from someplace special…
...Her dad got her a parrying dagger for her fifth birthday? Did Garen bring her a nodachi then had her duel him with it on their first date and that's how she knew he was The One?


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Eserine

Senior Member

08-25-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xulsigae View Post
Do Pantheon skins count as beefcake to answer all the revealing costumes of female champs?
I can't write as someone attracted to the male form, but if you have seen the large number of "fanservice" threads on the subject on the forum through the years put up by frustrated women and men of that orientation

Quote:
Originally Posted by bérnkastel View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ergheis View Post
1. Pantheon
2. Pantheon
3. Kassadin
4. Pantheon
monstrous guys in masks are NOT hot. just putting that out there before you go out looking for women tonight. and no means no.

they have a point that the female characters (and their costumes) are overtly sexualized in a comprehensive way that male characters (as Pantheon could even be a pig-faced person thanks to the lore team's new stance on manimals) are not. Zyra most recently in several threads was denounced for her impractical near-nude fashion choices, and again this is only one instance where the character design, lore, skill dynamics, personality, official player art contest selections, or a number of other facets of the wider system of operations all could be seen to reinforce negative stereotypes about gender, which Raven seems to be claiming that Riot fails to recognize or see as a problem beyond what is explicitly stated in Katarina's lore (where it once was fought against).


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Waafu

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Senior Member

08-25-2012

@Eserine: I agree with a lot of the points you've made, and Riot's character roster as a whole does give rise to unfortunate implications about gender, among other things (though I think they've done a better job with this than a lot of other franchises).

However, it doesn't really apply to Kat's lore or Noxus. Even though the city-state is currently ruled by a man, there are no laws against women rising to power as long as they can acquire the strength they need to attain recognition. All citizens, regardless of gender, are required to serve in the military for a compulsory period of six years. Noxus' obsession with power and physical strength would naturally force women to work harder since they're physically weaker on average. This is already implicit in Riven's lore, and I think that introducing other elements of discrimination against women would be a bit excessive. Kat gained power by proving herself to be a better assassin than her colleagues, male or female, and presumably that already took more hard work and skill on her part than it would have if she were male. That's already admirable in itself.

I agree with you about the conspicuous lack of female Noxian soldiers in the JoJ art, that was something I noticed too (the standard issue armor could be the same for both genders, but that more likely to have been an oversight on the artists' part as a result of internalized sexism). The opening passage of Kat's old lore:

Quote:
As a militaristic state, it would perhaps come as no surprise that the primary responsibilities of Noxian women are raising strong children and providing succor for husbands who walk the path of soldiery.
...was both sexist and inconsistent with the requirement of military service for all Noxian citizens.

I appreciate your posts a lot and if you make a separate thread about gender dynamics and how they relate to Riot's lore and champ design I'd be happy to share some of my thoughts (especially on monster champs and the normalization of male as the "default" gender, which is an issue in society at large). I just don't think it belongs in this topic.


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Sylph

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Emissary of the League

08-25-2012

Well done Riot... well done.