/dev: Thresh Re-Fleshed and the Viego No-Go

Much like living in Runeterra right now, developing League comes with its fair share of surprises and challenges. Here are two behind-the-scenes stories about bringing Thresh and Viego to Wild Rift.

Hey folks, Mirross and Draggles here.

When it comes to champions, we strive to be transparent with you all on what we’re working on. Sometimes that means we get to announce brand new additions to the roster or share some behind-the-scenes thoughts about controls and design. This time, we’re doing something a little different. We want to share a couple of stories from development where we faced difficulties and explain what those challenges mean for two Shadow Isles champions: Thresh and Viego.



As we just revealed in the Patch 2.4 /dev diary, in Wild Rift, base Thresh has flesh.

Before we address his new look—why introduce Thresh to the game at all? Simply, Thresh’s gameplay is iconic. He’s one of League’s most popular and resonant champions, with a unique and high-skill kit, and his dark yet grimly joyous theme stands alone in the support roster. Even way back in 2019, we knew we had to introduce Thresh into Wild Rift; it was never a question of “if”, just “when” and “how”.

One of our other aspirations is to open up the experience of playing League to as many players as we can across new platforms and regions. You’ve likely already seen a few of the changes we’ve made to champ and skin designs to bring them up to 2021’s standards in an ever-changing world. Thresh’s situation is a little different; and frankly, bringing the Chain Warden to mobile was a complicated endeavor for our team.

To meet the requirements of Wild Rift’s mobile platforms, and in order for us to maintain our current age rating (which is important because we want to make sure players of nearly all ages can play Wild Rift), we needed to make some adjustments to Thresh’s existing design.


However, we were determined to go beyond simply swapping out assets and calling it a day. As we were deep in planning for the Sentinels of Light event, we saw a great opportunity to go beyond a visual update. We don’t want to spoil anything just yet, but “Unbound” Thresh represents a canonical chapter of Thresh’s story that you’ll learn about soon.

We’re really stoked to see what sort of chaos and torment that the Chain Warden will wreak upon Wild Rift when he arrives in August.



As for the Ruined King himself, Viego will not be coming to Wild Rift (yet).

Since Viego’s sword-swinging, soul-swapping gameplay made its way to League PC, we’ve been in love with his abs...olutely unforgettable playstyle. Viego is a fairly complex champion mechanically, but even more so technically!

Wild Rift has been in development for a few years now, even before the Ruined King was a twinkle in the eyes of his PC design team. As we were building out our underlying systems for champ abilities, we first prioritized additional tech for form-swapping champs like Shyvana and evolving champions like Kai’Sa or Kha’Zix.

Viego’s League PC passive, Sovereign’s Domination, and his ultimate, Heartbreaker, allow him to possess the bodies of his slain foes, giving him free casts of his enemies’ abilities and instant teleports to the enemy backline. This can result in chaotic back-and-forth fights where Viego uses the enemy team’s entire arsenal to close out teamfights by himself.


Viego in League PC

Unfortunately, with Viego’s under-the-hood complexity, we realized we wouldn’t be able to get him up and running reliably on our current timeline. The last thing we’d want is to release Viego only to disable him again and again to fix technical interactions with every other champ. Meanwhile, we're releasing a lot of other new champions in Wild Rift in 2021 and 2022! So, we made the decision very late in his development to icebox his release for now.

This sucks, and we’re really sad we had to make this call, but we think it’s the best one for the health of the game and our team. We intend to release Viego one day when we’ve made our supporting tech more robust, as his gameplay is really engaging and he’s fast becoming an important character to Runeterra’s overall plot. Viego represents a milestone for our team at which our underlying infrastructure is able to handle his level of complexity—we have every intention of making and releasing Viego at a later date, treating it as the bar of excellence that we need to hit in terms of our development capabilities.

Why do the ability-stealing bad guys always cause the most trouble?

So real talk: many of you might not agree with our decisions here. Even internally we spent a long time (and had many spirited debates) ensuring we were doing all our homework before landing on these outcomes. We wanted to be candid and show some of our thinking on these two troublemakers before you get your hands on Thresh in the flesh (ew) next month. In the meantime, good luck fighting back the Ruination!