Way back in 2013, Riot Games revealed the above concept art for a new League of Legends champion during the Chinese qualifiers for the game's World Championship. The character was named Ao Shin and was to be the first playable dragon champion in League of Legends. As time passed with very little new info, hype in the community grew.
This week, Riot has revealed the reason for the lengthy silence: Ao Shin is no longer in development. However, the company is working on a different dragon to take his place.
Riot broke the news in a post on the Dev Corner section of the League of Legends boards. The developer called the silence surrounding Ao Shin "totally a mistake on our part," admitting that by not talking about the champion after announcing him, they only increased hype.
Riot revealed that it ran into various problems during the creation of Ao Shin, including issues creating a kit — or group of abilities and passive powers — and problems with the character from a lore and conceptual level. One particularly big problem was "delivering on the unique shape of a serpentine dragon's body." Riot said it believed it could solve this problem, but wasn't convinced enough to commit engineering resources to it.
Not all is lost, though. In the post, Riot announced that it will still be delivering a dragon champion to League of Legends — just one with a different name and theme. This new champ, tentatively named Aurelion Sol, is expected to be added to the game in the first half of 2016.
"While we're sorry to have hyped up the idea of a serpentine, storm-wielding dragon for so long, we're still very excited to deliver a dragon champion this year that we hope you'll love," read the post, ending with a promise of more surprises to come.
There are currently 129 playable champions in League of Legends. The latest, a sniper character named Jhin, was added to the game last month.