Riot Games has released their new set of exclusive holiday champion skins on the Public Beta Realm this week, and it included a special Christmas Katarina skin. Katarina is an assassin, one of the more iconic and most-cosplayed champions within League of Legends. This skin puts her in a short little Santa dress, the kind that every MMO in existence dresses the female characters in around the holiday season.
But more than one player noticed that her recall animation (the anim that plays while Katarina goes back to base) is her whipping out a candy cane and swinging around it in stripper pole fashion. And several of these players spoke out against it on the League of Legends forums:
I don’t care that she’s dressed like a hooker, I don’t care that she has a tacky hair color (IMHO). But the stripper pole? C’mon, Riot. That is WAY over the top. Until now, the sexy skins have been plentiful but somewhat tame, and this one is just a bit too much. I will happily buy this skin if (AND ONLY IF) they take out the stripper pole recall animation. There’s no reason for it at all. The skin can stand on it’s own apart from that.
Let’s show Riot that there is a point where it becomes too raunchy. A significant amount of sexy is acceptable, but lets keep these Trampion skins to a minimum.
This. It’s obviously yet another in a long line of “for the entertainment of our teenage boy audience” skins, so it’s ridiculous to assert that it’s all about women’s rights or exercise.
Frankly, I think I’ve about had it with Riot’s attitude toward women. I’ve spent a significant amount of money on this game, but when paying customers complain about the way that women are depicted, it’s nothing but nice-sounding things about how they want a variety in design, then more skins with scantily-clad females dancing and talking in very suggestive ways.
If Riot wants to keep designing the game for insecure teenage boys, go for it, I’ll take my money elsewhere.
Thankfully Riot have listened, and the pole dancing recall animation will be removed before this champion skin is ever released and purchasable in the live game. Senior Product Manager Volibar says:
You’re right. This doesn’t really fit with her thematically, and it’s too much. We’ll be removing it.
I’m always happy to hear when a developer listens to player feedback and admits their mistakes. I’m not going to give them a pass for coming up with this idea in the first place though — how does this even make it past that many eyes and onto the test realm? Why is it the player’s responsibility to point out sexist character designs when Riot themselves have acknowledged their own failures in the past and offered up a commitment to better representation of women in their game?
If you want to watch the animation of Xmas Katarina, here it is on YouTube: