killing memes in LoL and Riot’s Approach

With the unveiling of a new champion, Irelia, the League of Legends dev team seemingly has more ideas on how to keep a hold of the community. Instead of going the Valve way (endlessly ignoring the Half Life 3 memes), they’ve decided instead to embrace them. In short, the game is going to wholly embrace the ridiculousness. You may already be familiar with the wacky pack consisting of Arclight Yorick, Dragonmaster Swain and Beekeeper Singed. Now, two new heroes are set to join the trio – Pizza Delivery Sivir and Birdio. This is an uncommon approach on adjusting to the so called ‘killing Memes’ in LoL and we’ll explain everything down below.

Over the last two years, the dev team has been hard at work, having released a bunch of new features like voice chart, replay mode and various reworks for the game’s outdated champions. Skins are Riot Games’ main revenue stream, so it’s no surprise, really, that they’ve invested so much in the most demanded cosmetics by the community.

A little background, the developers over at Riot Games didn’t think Pizza Delivery Sivir was going to fit into the game well. When Grumpy Monkey and Riot Tea Time originally sketched up the design for the character in 2013, it was turned down. From then on, PDS grew into a meme, where, much like the aforementioned Valve, it was something the community was behind, but the devs weren’t willing to commit to. It’s been a long journey and our beloved heroes almost never made it onto the drift.

All hope wasn’t lost, though, because then came along Urf day. Technically, Urf day already existed at the time of PDS’ conception, but one thing led to another and the skin never made it on board. In the League of Legends universe, Urf day is celebrated every year on what we call April Fools’ day. The day is meant to commemorate when a werewolf mauled clean Urf, the manatee, and on this occasion, new skins that normally wouldn’t make the cut are released into the community. Think of the wackiest, most ridiculous skins you can imagine – a tree man in a cat-themed onesie or a cyclops-like alien in Groucho Marx glasses.


One of the most greatly memeifed character in the LoL world has been Pug’maw, the bipedal dog with spit attacks. Not surprisingly, the release of this character garnered quite some friction from the community, with one particular user apparently suffering from a ‘severe case of existential dread’ as soon as they saw it. Others did like it though, and appreciated the fact that it was meant to be a joke rather than a trauma-inducing event. At the end of the day, the character helped the dev team see to what real extent the most ridiculous of characters in the game are embraced.

If the community could handle something as ridiculous as this, then surely PDS was going to be a drop of water in the vast expanse of the ocean. In product manager, Jimenez’ words, ‘it helped them gain the confidence of embracing the ridiculousness.’

For the longest time, a great chunk of the community was for the idea that Pug’maw should either be changed or not be released altogether. They argued that even for an April Fools’ skin, the game went a touch overboard and didn’t belong in the game. This is especially after the previous controversy with Sewn Chaos and Blitz. For those out of the loop, these were two skins that much of the community was behind, but on release, the champion was odd-textured and apparently broke the visual equality the game usually offers.

Pug’maw, despite looking cute (because dog), but if it were to be actually adopted in-game, some players argued, there would be lots of issues. If they had instead opted to use it as a disguise Kog’Maw wears, it would have been a potential fit. However, at the end of the day, Riot Games ended up doing whatever they felt they wanted to do. The reception was unexpectedly stale, but that’s the only thing that led up to the release of something the community actually wanted – PDS.



Pizza Delivery Sivir

Well, Pizza Delivery Sivir was supposed to happen in 2017, but because of… reasons, she inevitably didn’t make it. As it turns out, modelling a skin after real-world concepts isn’t as easy as most people imagine. There were a lot of considerations that had to be taken into account. As you may well know, there are several iterations of the PDS meme, and so deciding on which one to embrace all the while trying to calm the community isn’t a simple task. In the end, the team opted instead to drop the idea of food and pivot towards a toy pizza box instead. But this didn’t make things that easy, either.

Time’s arrow marches forward, the saying goes, and after the whole Pug’maw controversy was under the table, it was time to focus on Urf Day, 2018. As it turns out, Pizza Delivery Sivir is back on the table. All the preceding years’ designs were scrapped and the skin team got down to cooking new ideas for what she should look like. There’s quite a bit to consider when it came to the same, apparently, right from the collared shirt to the color of her pants and hat, and even whether the vespa should be in the game or not. Even the kind of pizza that was going to be in the game had to be considered, because if the memes are anything to go by, pineapple on pizza would definitely set some tongues wagging. At the same time, it’s not like everyone hates pineapple on pizza, after all, and even those have to be represented at the end of the day.

In her own way, PD Sivir is unique since the toppings on her blade match the Chroma you use. Despite the long-lived trend of hating prickly fruit on pizza, which by the way has its origins in the ‘memeverse’, ahem, the team decided to side with our Hawaiian friends. Already, it’s causing debates even though the skin isn’t out yet. According to one user, the pizza is supposedly upside down and has been declared ‘the worst pizza delivery girl every.’ To be fair, controversy isn’t anything alien in the LoL universe.




Anyone who has ever been in the pizza delivery business will tell you it’s not a job you want to do alone. Or rather, if you can have company, you’re better off doing it with someone else. Before you guess, no, Birdio isn’t going to be some pseudo-sidekick in the pizza delivery business. He’s a fried-chicken delivery gargoyle. Maybe in some way, he is a sidekick of sorts, I suppose.

On the other hand, it’s one of the easiest ways to start a fast food war. According to the team, despite the fact that Demolition Man had spoiled the ending of who’s going to win a war of that scale, there’s still reason to fight.

All the same, he definitely looks like a character to love. The juxtaposition of the serious as the metal suit and chicken suit make it difficult to decide whether to take the character seriously or a well-meant joke. It’s all in the spirit of April Fools, after all.

Porting over human food over to Runeterra was something of a challenge. In the mind’s eye, it’s easy to see how awesome explosions and magic are supposed to look, but putting the idea on paper is hard. What’s even harder is applying the same concept when it comes to pizza and fried chicken. The team had to spend quite an amount of time studying fowls in order to decide what kind of bird Birdio was going to be. Some of these ended up being productive enough to make it into his Chromas. At this rate, don’t be surprised if a whole ‘Fried Chicken’ craze forms up from Birdio’s possible popularity. One can only cross their fingers and hope the community’s creativity kicks into gear.



The shock

There is no shortage of surprise, criticisms and celebration on forums and communities like Reddit over the set release of PDS, which has somewhat been overshadowed by the release of the Irelia trailer. Even as we wait in great anticipation to see if she’s going to be as great as the trailer suggests, we mustn’t forget to honor the fall of Urf.

The League of Legends team has it in mind to keep the community happy by busting new memes into the spotlight and keeping the surprising players. In the best of spirits, they intend to ‘kill the memes’ and have hired assassins to take care of the job. All of them apart from Magma Chamber, of course.

If you found the article funny, also have a look at our post on the funniest skins in League of Legends.

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