Early design prototype of Elderflame had a knife that looked like the players were choking a baby dragon

Riot later scrapped the whole baby dragon idea

Riot just recently introduced their ultra-premium skin bundles in the game called “Elderflame” in VALORANT.

The Elderflame skin bundle had a pretty mixed reception. While everyone unanimously agreed that Riot hit it out of the park with their skin game, some players still showed their concern regarding the premium pricing and possible interference to the competitive aspect of the game.

In a recent official post, Riot explained their design approach to giving life to a living breathing dragon as a weapon skin. Preeti Khanolkar, who is a producer at Riot Games, claimed that it was a whole new challange as their art team had never tried something like this before.

Baby Dragon as a knife

Elderflame skin concept
Image via Riot Games

“We had Denis explore a few options for what the melee could be, ranging from a dragon claw all the way to a literal baby dragon. One baby was enough. Also, it looked like the poor little guy was being choked and we felt weird about that“, Preeti Khanolkar on why they decided to skip the whole baby dragon as a knife idea.

Additionally, during their design process, they had multiple prototypes where they experimented with how they were going to solve some design and technical issues. “Our dragon is more in the realm of Game of Thrones than within the whimsy of How to Train Your Dragon“, Preeti Khanolkar on their design inspirations.

Elderflame skin concept
Image via Riot Games

Furthermore, they also stated that they went for a “badass” vs “cute” tone while designing the skins. After looking at the 5 different weapon skins, it is obvious that all of them have unique animation that makes them stand apart from each other.

While some players argue that $100 for a skin bundle is crazy, it is still hard to deny the fact that these skins probably took a lot of time to make from the initial prototype phase to the actual release. Monetization in a free-to-play FPS game will always be a pretty heated topic. However, we all can agree that Riot’s skin game is on a whole new level compared to all other FPS games right now.

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