“While wrapping up the Howling Abyss, the entire team was on the lookout for something to balance out the Abyss’ cold, serious atmosphere. Unlike our other maps, the Howling Abyss had a very structural, linear cadence–it was literally a bridge without any fantasy elements, which didn’t feel very League. To counter this, the whole team brainstormed about cute and fun things we could add that would remain true to League and not take away from the map’s epicness. It was sort of tricky because whatever we added had to be noticeable without being too distracting–we didn’t want players confusing our little critter for a minion or monster they should kill! We wanted to create something furry that looked like it could survive through harsh weather, so RiotEarp looked to mountain goats, reindeer, and polar bears for inspiration. He sketched the initial poro concept art based on a cuter version of all of those things and we ran with it! Howling Abyss is the coldest and harshest place in all of Runeterra, so you can think of poros as the manifestation of whatever warmth, happiness, and love that still exists.
After RiotOtown modeled and textured the very first poro, he and RiotCaptainLx decided to add a super huge tongue because the little guy reminded them of a puppy. Then, during the animation phase, RiotCaptainLx took it a step further and had the poro lick its whole face in one shot! With the tongue mechanic in place, he also animated the poro to run around panting with its tongue hanging out. We totally agreed that poros should pant just like that–they radiate with love, so they’re extremely hot despite the Abyss’ bone-chilling temperatures”!