Sometimes, when we set out to make a new champion, we start with a specific role in mind—like a support jungler. Or we begin with just a theme—like "earth mage."
Camille began with a different sort of plan: "Let's make a champ that makes players feel like in-control badasses."
And, obviously, nothing is more badass than a lady with giant freakin' blades for legs. As a piece of concept art, Camille was pretty dope from the get-go. But to make her into a real character, we had to answer another question: what sort of person would replace their legs with a two-piece hextech knife set?
The most important thing to know about Camille is that she's better than you. She's smarter than you, richer than you, and a hell of a lot deadlier than you. In-game, she'll taunt you with these facts as she tears you apart with slicing kicks.
Camille is from Piltover, a city enjoying the fruits of a cultural renaissance. It's flourishing, and the moneyed families who pull the city's strings want it to stay that way. So they employ "fixers" like Camille—dark agents who work to maintain the current balance of power. One key to the current balance is that the lower city of Zaun must not rise, lest it become a real threat to the powers of Piltover.
"Piltover has a lot of money," says Ariel "Thermal Kitten" Lawrence, "and when there's a lot of money you often get big differences between the classes—the haves and the have-nots." Zaun's scientists may be more free from rules and regulations, but much of the physical wealth of the two symbiotic cities has gone to Piltover. Camille stands between these two worlds, and if she fails to preserve the balance, the consequences would be tremendous. Piltover would fall, chaos would rule.
So, as you might imagine, Camille's willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths to do her job well. When she realized that replacing some parts of herself with hextech weaponry could give her a leg up over her opponents, she just went for it. The idea of bodily augmentation isn't so strange to the people of Zaun and Piltover, even though many in these cities would consider Camille's particular body-mod to be pretty damn scary.
Admittedly, Camille has had some second thoughts about her big "blades-for-legs" transformation. "She would never admit it to anyone else," says Thermal Kitten, "but there's a little bit of a question lurking in the back of her mind: has she gone too far? How much more could she augment without losing her humanity?"
Her deepest fear is that, because she's traded in her own flesh for tools, others may see her as little more than a tool to be used. Camille is a woman straddling the razor-thin line between machinery and humanity. But none of that matters, she thinks to herself, so long as I'm still in control.
Playing as Camille is all about maintaining control, dictating battles on her terms. When she decides she wants a fight, she gets one—zipping in using her hookshot to force enemies into a 1-on-1 duel. "She's so confident that she can toy with you," says champion designer Jeevun "Riot Jag" Sidhu. "That's kind of what her Q is all about. It's like 'I'm going to hit you in two seconds.' And then she does."
Camille's hookshot was the first ability locked down in her kit, although even it went through a few weird iterations. At one point she was basically an English spiderwoman—she could shoot five hooks in a row and dynamically loop around walls. While this mechanic was very fun, it repeatedly proved to be impractical for use in most combat situation (and it was hard as hell to get a grip on).
Camille's kit features some very important cooldowns concentrated around specific windows, and it'll probably take most players a few games to get used to these. But those who put in practice with her will reap the rewards.
"When you pull off your combos correctly, it's supposed to sort of look like a dance," says Riot Jag. "She Qs you, backs away, sweeps you with W, and lunges back in for the second Q."
There are a few combos that'll require even more work to perfect. You can prime her W while you're in the middle of your hookshot/walldive combo so it goes off at the exact moment you dive in on an enemy. "That's the really flashy play that the playtest team always sends me replays of whenever they pull it off correctly," Riot Jag says.
Camille shines brightest when on cleanup duty. If you’re losing a fight to Camille’s team, she’s gonna hunt all of you down like an unstoppable secret agent from one of those movies that gets too many sequels. She will find you, and she will… well, you know.
A lot of Camille's early concept art pulled influence from other "cyborg assassin" archetypes from movies and videogames. "She’s a James Bond-style agent," says concept artist Hing "Hdot" Chui, "but she’s also an elegant lady."
We came up with a bunch of early nicknames for Camille meant to capture or convey some aspects of her personality: Lady Em, The Gray Lady, The Left Hand of Piltover, or just Diver. Without question, the goofiest of these was "Cyborg MI6 Mary Poppins."
The hardest thing to capture with Camille's visual design was the idea that her hextech core (which powers her legs) has slowed, but not stopped, her aging process. She’s actually around 80 years old, but her form suggests that she’s much younger. She’s not immortal, but she’s older than she looks.
The secret to Camille's good looks has nothing to do with her skincare routine—it's the hextech core embedded in her chest. It takes more than strong hips to maneuver her leggy cutlery, and that means Camille's commitment to the cause has affected just about every part of her body. Even her eyes glow, betraying the inhuman source of her power.
Camille is chopping heads on the PBE now. Stay sharp—she'll hit the live servers soon.