When you consider horror icons in games, what first springs to mind is probably Nemesis (Resident Evil), Pyramidhead (Silent Hill), or maybe new modern fans would argue Freddy Fazbear (Five Nights At Freddy’s). However, games that aren’t inherently horror are often overlooked when they try to ramp up the fear factor in some way.
Enter Fiddlesticks. Specifically the 2020 remake of the champion that was originally released way back in 2009.
The shambling mass of metal and torn fabric, piloted by a demon as old as “the first scream of creation” (how badass does that sound though), Fiddlesticks’ updated look is widely considered to be the best remake Riot have done so far. But the interesting thing is how they turned him from a relatively comedic scarecrow into something actually terrifying.
Fiddlesticks is one of 4 known greater demons (also called Akana) inhabiting Runeterra, the others being Nocturne, Evelynn, Tahm Kench, and Raum (the demon Swain struck a deal with). Now, each of these characters has horrific elements to them, the first of the list being the demon of nightmares. However, Fiddlesticks completely eclipses his counterparts in just how scary he actually is. To do this, we are going to look at the lore of the character, and discuss what makes him the demon king.
“The scarecrow took them all. Nobody left...but me”
Fiddlesticks is an ancient demon, possibly the oldest as he proclaims to be the “first of ten” in his voice lines. There are legends spread around Runeterra, each different culture having their own variation of the demon who goes by that name, and it’s heavily implied that “Fiddlesticks” is a name it adopts because it was the last word of the victims of the scarecrow. Seeing as how all of his voice lines in game are rusty imitations of what victims have said before he kills and devours them.
There has to be an infinite amount of credit given to the voice actor Kellen Goff, who absolutely kills it here. His sound can be achieved by talking whilst inhaling, and it only enhances the completely unnatural sound (it can also hurt, so be careful if you try it). He has a knack for villainous characters, as he also provides the voice of Overhaul (My Hero Academia) and Funtime Freddy (Five Nights at Freddy’s).
Fiddlesticks character design is also masterful. TBSkyen did a great video breaking it down fully in terms of animation, but to paraphrase, every part of Fiddlesticks is crudely built to be a poor facsimile of a human. As he doesn’t truly understand the world around him, he just copies what he sees and hears, attempting to blend into his surroundings. As he is currently present in farmland, he resembles a crooked scarecrow.
The nature of Fiddlesticks, being that he wants to hunt and eat you, is a primal fear which switches the person from predator to prey. But the fact he then mimics what people say, and exploits the fears of his prey to only make them cower before he feasts. He very much plays into the idea of “a harmless scarecrow” being a monster hidden in plain sight. Though generally the best horror is what you can’t see, Fiddlesticks really circumvents this issue by copying things. Human, but not quite. Though his physical appearance isn’t going to fool anyone, hearing the last wisps of your loved ones’ voices before you succumb to the same fate, is absolute nightmare fuel.
League of Legends does horror right.
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