More than just that dude’s dead married woman
Senna is a
. Cursed past
the Blackness Mist
from childhood. Trained by the father of the man she would later fall in love with. Killed by a spoopy green ghost and trapped in his lantern for half dozen years. And so… what? A suburban Demacian ranch with a white picket fence, a Pug’Maw to fetch the paper, and 2.5 kids?
No. That’due south non adept plenty for League’s first support marksman. She wants more. An end to the Black Mist. Freedom from the expletive that keeps the Mist hunting her. A chance to liberate all of the souls suffering within Thresh’s lantern. And a really absurd weapon to practise it all with.
It Started with a Large F*&I@?$ Gun
“1 of the reasons we loved Xayah and Rakan was because yous could be an actual couple in the bot lane,” shares senior designer August “Baronial” Browning. “We wanted Senna to be a support and then she could lane with Lucian, yet we as well knew she should have a gun because she had i before getting trapped. There were no support marksmen in the game, so this was an open infinite for us to explore.”
League has one gatling gun, i minigun, one shotgun (with a cigar), 1 machine gun Kog’Maw, two handguns, 2 rifles, ii rocket launchers, 3 pistols, and six shotgun knees. But there was still one gun fantasy missing: A BFG.
Senna’s massive relic cannon was 1 of the guiding elements of her design, shaping everything from her concept art to her gameplay. In one of her earliest gameplay iterations, every time Senna used a spell she’d use the blowback from the gun to dash to a new location. But that made her feel more like a mage than a marksman, so August started working on a kit where she wielded dual pistols similar her married man.
“Equally I was doing this, the fine art team decided to depict the large gun stuff anyway,” August explains. “And it was sweetness equally hell, so I completely killed the pistol kit and went back to the BFG.”
While August was working on the gameplay, the art team held a “Senna-dome” led by concept artist Justin “Riot Earp” Albers, where all the artists interested in Senna could draw what she and her weapon could look like.
“We had to recollect of what the fantasy railgun is,” says Riot Earp. “An idea pitched by one of the artists was a gun made up of various Sentinels’ weapons, melted down and combined together in some way. And we thought the idea was really absurd, so afterwards working on information technology a piddling we concluded upward with a gun made of the lightstones from the other Sentinels captured by Thresh.”
Because League’due south never had a weapon that can only exist classified every bit an absolute unit, there were a few hiccups when the squad tested out the gun in-game. At one point it appeared as if Senna was carrying around Ekko’due south bat, just at five times the size. Slapping enemies with a giant bat-gun doesn’t exactly striking the marksman back up fantasy, so the team had to practise some artistic problem solving to get the animations right.
To requite the animators a realistic idea of how someone would motion conveying a weapon of that size, one of the members of the squad created a to-scale version of Senna’s gun. This helped take the animations from bopping enemies with an oversized lodge to shooting them with a BFG.
With a gun design locked (and loaded) the team was able to turn their focus to another of Senna’southward design aspects: Who the hell is this adult female actually?
There’s No Calorie-free Without Darkness
Dichotomy is cardinal to Senna’due south pattern: light vs. darkness, pre- vs. post-lantern, life vs. death.
Before recently, the merely canon delineation of Senna was a frightened adult female trapped within Thresh’southward lantern, but that version of Senna couldn’t be the one who was freed. Afterward six excruciating years inside the lantern, she couldn’t be the aforementioned.
“Everyone thinks they know Lucian and Senna’s story,” explains senior narrative author David “Interlocutioner” Slagle. “Only all we know is Thresh killed Senna. Going into it, she was a adult female defined past her human relationship to her husband and her torturer. So nosotros had to figure out what makes her
exterior of these relationships.”
To explore who Senna could be, Interlocutioner wrote stories to go along with each of Senna’south concepts created in Sennadome. By taking $.25 and pieces of each story, the team was able to identify a mutual thread: Senna wasn’t only a woman—specially not one who would allow herself to be defined past her relationships. She was touched
by something ancient and evil. Something nighttime. And thus Interlocutioner landed on one of Senna’s narrative pillars: She’s a woman cursed, but it’south a source of her strength.
“From a thematic angle, I felt duality was really of import,” Baronial shares. “This was someone who was put into an awful, hellish identify, and going through something like that changes you lot.”
1 of the team’s more difficult challenges was getting Senna’s personality just right.
After existence trapped in Thresh’s lantern, Senna realized that the Mist had hunted her for so long considering of the extra spark of life within her—and that the Mist actually acts with a purpose, seeking out that spark. She also gained a sort of kinship with the other souls trapped by the Mist. While those on the outside, including her own husband, might view them as the damned, she understands their pain and knows they desire no part in the Mist’s plan. And when she emerges, she knows full well that the simply way to end the Mist is with the dark power information technology harnesses.
That sort of pain and suffering can be hard to convey without making a character that merely comes beyond equally angry or edgy while defective depth. But Senna wasn’t willing to let her past to ruin her life. She can even so notice humour in little things, even if others might discover her sense of humour… a little off. And while Interlocutioner knew exactly what he wanted, it was sometimes difficult to explicate Senna’due south dry, gallows humor—where no one’s quite sure if she’s joking.
Telling Her Story in the Game
With a meliorate understanding of who Senna is and how she got there, the focus turned dorsum to her gameplay. How exercise y’all show Senna’s graphic symbol through her abilities? What do they look like when she has such opposing aspects of herself? And how practice you make it all piece of work in the support marksman function?
The reply came from thinking about what Senna’s been through since we final saw her.
To requite Senna a sense of scaling without the need to CS (or KS) or build pure marksman items, the team decided to let her scale based on the amount of souls she collects, like to Thresh’southward passive. But instead of absorbing the souls, she uses her curse to describe the Mist into herself, thus releasing the souls from their torment. (In game, this ways she autos souls to get their buff, rather than walking over them). And with every bit of Mist she absorbs, she grows more powerful, storing the Mist’s power in her gun and unleashing it on whoever she attacks.
But that’south merely i part of her kit. What about the rest?
Senna didn’t lose what she learned from years of preparation and fighting aslope Lucian and the Sentinels, despite existence trapped in Thresh’s lantern for years. She still retains the connexion to her previous life, and the team wanted to show it in-game. This is why Senna shares Lucian’s Q, but where his is chosen Piercing Light, hers is Piercing Darkness.
Only… she even so died. She spent
being tortured and witnessing other trapped souls undergoing their own forms of torture. Even through all that, she gained something from the Mist: the ability to plow herself and her allies into wraiths.
The team wanted to evidence that even though she’s free, Senna’s time in the lantern would be with her forever, and that information technology had fabricated her stronger. Past combining the power from her expletive, her grooming equally a Scout, and her time in the lantern, Senna’south able to unleash a powerful blast of Mist and lite that decimates foes and heals allies in its path.
Only past using all the parts of her—her pain
her love—tin she truly end the Mist and save Runeterra. Fifty-fifty in the end, after beingness killed and tortured by Thresh, she has won.
And then They Lived Happily Ever After… Or Not
And at present that Senna is gratis?
“They might not live happily ever later. Things haven’t always been happy so far,” explains Interlocutioner. “Simply nosotros wanted to requite them a gamble to experience love and non only suffering. Senna’south out. She’s not in constant torture state anymore. And Lucian gets his wife back. Information technology’s not perfect, but information technology’s real. I want their love to be existent.”