League of Legends Specialist Discusses Yasuo's Iconic Voice Lines and Language

Every League of Legends player has likely heard Yasuo’s aggressive voice lines that accompany [...]

(Photo: Riot Games)

Every League of Legends player has likely heard Yasuo's aggressive voice lines that accompany his abilities, and after an explanation from Riot Games, we now know the inspiration behind Yasuo's iconic phrases.

Hearing Yasuo scream "Hasegi" at you time after time while in-lane has become core to his character's identity alongside being despised by much of the community. Thanks to this breakdown from Riot, you've not got something to think about when Yasuo is yelling and stabbing you while flashing that Level 7 mastery emote.

When those voice lines were being written, Riot Ransom said that they hoped to give Yasuo's voice an Ionian background by mixing in characteristics of Asian languages and dialects in the process. The Rioter also explained that it was necessary to separate Yasuo's voice from anything that could be too easily associated with something in the real world.

"When we wrote Yasuo, we referred to his combat utterances as an 'ancient Ionian dialect,' which was a canonical way of justifying his faux-Asian vernacular. (He wasn't the first one to speak an ancient Ionian dialect, by the way—listen carefully to Karma when she casts Mantra.)," said Riot Ransom, senior content specialist. "The practical truth is that we chose not to connect Yasuo's ability grunts to any existing culture on Earth, since doing so would a) break the fiction of Runeterra and b) make localization tough for every region that has to translate them into equally distinct and memorable phrases in its native language."

The Japanese language was a more specific influence on Yasuo's voice as well. Riot Ransom explained that associated Yasuo's phrases with the language without actually allowing him to say Japanese phrases was one of the challenges that they attempted to solve.

"Yasuo's co-writer ManWolfAxeBoss lived in Japan and speaks fluent Japanese, so we asked him to write lines for Yasuo to shout during high moments that would evoke the power and emotion of a samurai flick—but without any actual Japanese words. (Just a typical example of the fun and absurd challenges we can face when writing for League of Legends.)," Riot Ransom continued. "Given how legendary the cry "hasegi!" has become within the League community, I think he did an amazing job. Some things never dull!"