Over two years ago, Riot Games had to force Graves to give up his cigar in League of Legends in light of regional laws against the use of tobacco.
There was naturally an outcry from the community as it did affect the champion’s persona. However, many simply took it as an opportunity to create another meme, and have been bugging the developer ever since to revert the change.
That day is finally upon us.
Yesterday, president and co-founder Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill took to Twitter to tease the return of Graves’ cigar in League of Legends.
Shortly afterwards, the Public Beta Environment (PBE) received an update that indicated Riot Games will soon be reverting the splash art of Graves to the original version in which he is clamping down on his favorite cigar.
To clarify, those in the west may not see any harm in the usage of tobacco in a video game. However, there are different cultural standards and League of Legends is played across the world. For example, China has strict laws against any morbid depictions even if it is in the form of skeletons.
To get more context, here is what art lead Drew Silver explained back then when the developer announced the change.
Essentially, there was a significant risk of censorship or age rating problems in various regions based on the depiction of tobacco usage. This kind of thing is pretty strictly enforced in parts of the world, and in this case it became clear that we needed to remove the cigar in his splash. The relevant laws sometimes apply differently depending on content type, which is why something that might work in peripheral content like a cinematic may not work in content like splashes that are tied specifically to the core game.
That being said, there is no clarification as to what suddenly changed to convicne Riot Games to stop caring about the same aspect. Did the laws change? Did the cultural standards in different regions took new turns?