League of Legends’ Udyr will be the next champion to get a full VGU

A muscular man with a long, pointed beard, wearing a bear pelt on his head

During the 2021 League of Legends Season Opening Day livestream, Riot Games showcased a slew of new cosmetics, including three potential candidates for skin lines that could make their way to the shop based on a fan vote. But skins weren’t the only visual element that players could cast their judgement on, with some of the game’s older champions also getting a shot at receiving a full visual gameplay update. The winner? Udyr.

In a new developer blog released this week, Riot shares the result of both polls. In the skin thematic poll, Crime City Nightmare was the overwhelming victor, accounting for nearly 50% of the vote, followed by Debonair 2.0 (29.1%), and Monster Tamers (21.3%). The top two picks will be getting full skin lines in 2021.

Over in the VGU poll, Udyr was the clear favourite, taking the lion’s (tiger’s) share of the vote (37.2%). The defeated champions – Skarner, Nocturne, Quinn, and Shyvana – all had a fairly even distribution of the vote, sitting somewhere between 12-18% respectively. Udyr’s VGU is slated to release in early 2022.

Gameplay designer Stash ‘Stashu’ Chelluck hopes to retain the uniqueness of Udyr’s kit “by pushing the unique powers and playstyles of each stance, while keeping him the heavy hitting, full-melee fighter that really slaps when he closes the gap.”

Meanwhile, concept artist Justin ‘RiotEarp’ Albers is “looking forward to exploring and figuring out what the best version of our bearded melee spirit shaman can be.”

“There are lots of things with him that are already working and we can just embellish on those characteristics,” he says. “Namely his ancient, primal nature vibes, doing something really cool with those different stances, and making sure he feels right at home in the Freljord.”

Udyr’s lore will be getting some fresh copy as well, with narrative lead Mary ‘a highwayman’ Gumport highlighting the champion’s “untamed, deeply human core.”

“We want to do that heart justice,” she says, “so we’ll be digging into how our favorite shaman can keep wrestling with everything on his mind while more deeply connecting with the ferocity and spirit of the Freljord in his own unique way.”

Udyr was released all the way back in 2009 on patch 1.0.0.61. The champion has since been popularised largely by streamer Timothy ‘Trick2g’ Foley, quickly cementing the champion as a fan favourite. The Spirit Walker has also seen professional play recently after a long absence from the Rift.