League of Legends just got a new champion. K’Sante is a big burly brawler that uses enormous tonfas made out of stone to crush his opponents. He’s also League of Legends' first gay Black champion, which has apparently led to his backstory being edited in certain countries and locales.
Speaking to Sky News at the League of Legends Worlds 2022 tournament, executive producer Jeremy Lee admitted that Riot replaced "lover" with "partner" in some countries. That’s despite being "very proud" of the openly gay K’Sante in a tournament that had a performance by openly gay rapper Lil Nas X.
Riot Games wants "everyone who plays League of Legends to find a champion that resonates with them," explained Lee, noting "each region can localize and publish that story in what they feel like is best for the players."
"Each region may publish certain aspects of the game a little bit differently to fit into the local culture," he added.
When asked to clarify if Riot changes aspects of League of Legends characters or stories to ensure access to certain countries, Riot public relations lead Hanna Woo said simply, "Yes, I would say we do." However, she added that League's website and the game itself are almost identical the world over, with translations that are almost one-to-one for all in-game text.
Woo explained that it's up to the player to interpret a character’s backstory. "Even if it's not explicit, even if it's not direct, even if there are changes made, or things are just not as much in the forefront of that character's identity, it's like you are meant to see them," she said.
Contrast K’Sante with Apex Legends’ recently-added trans character, Catalyst, which the developers stated was explicitly trans in a way that can’t be denied no matter what part of the world you live.
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