Over the past week MGG Spain had the opportunity to speak with August, Lead Champion Designer for League of Legends. Known in the community as responsible for most of the characters that appear in Arcane, what not many know is that the creator of Jinx, Vi or Ekko was once known as Riot Gypsylord. For the record : "Browning previously called himself 'gypsylord' after Gypsy, his first dog. After gaining global perspective, he realized the term gypsy was racially charged in Europe. He changed his name to 'groovylord' then to 'jinxylord' and settled on 'Riot August'. (source : Wikipedia)".
The creator surprised us with this answer to the question about what had changed the most since he came to Riot (2012): "One of the biggest changes we've made in the last few years that I think is incredibly good is that we've focused on diversity and representation. League of Legends is a global game and we think it's important that, since we're present on a planetary level, players around the world can see themselves in some characters. It's important that you can play LoL and there's a champion for you. It's not just about gameplay. It's about how they look, talk or are. We've focused a lot on that over the last few years and it's been a cool change for champion development."
While there are times when designers take orders from above, one of the positive aspects of working at Riot Games according to August is "having the freedom to do endless things" by working side-by-side "with the artists and writers from day one." It is no coincidence that there is now greater sensitivity to issues of inclusion, nor that the rise of Genshin Impact catapulted designs like Gwen or Seraphine, nor that the early years were full of beasts, wizards, archers and paladins due to the influence of World of Warcraft.
Gem "Lonewingy" Lim and their impact on Neon and Zeri
Riot Games still has a lot to change and no one is unaware that the company's culture has resulted in a 100 million euro severance package for all the women who worked at the company. However, just as having no memory would be an injustice, female employees of the company such as Kate Chironis assure that the company is on the right track thanks to the people who now work there. In her own words, "there's still a lot to do," but at least we have diverse development tables where opinions are heard and she has "the opportunity to fight from the inside."
One of the most interesting examples of this is related to the releases of Zeri (League of Legends) and Neon (Valorant). The design team for both characters constantly switched back and forth, collaborating to create a complementary story based on electricity with one representing the positive charge and the other the negative. Since in Valorant the agents have a nationality and are part of an alternate, future version of our real world, it was clear from the beginning that both would originate from the Philippines.
Among the participants in both designs was the aforementioned August, but just as important as his role was that of Gem "Lonewingy" Lim, originally from the Philippines. The artist not only had a major influence on the design of both characters, but also for the gameplay. One of their ideas to represent the Filipino players was to allude to a shared experience: the electrical problems of the country's big cities and their blackouts. Thus, Zeri has a story in which she cannot control her volatile electrical powers and therefore needs a cannon and Neon is limited by an energy bar that runs out.
Zeri arrived with anime aesthetics and Filipino origin, so did Renata Glasc as an 'older woman' product of the multiculturalism of Zaun and soon we will have a monster that will give even more variety to the game.
This interview has been translated from MGG Spain by bxakid and was originally written by Bruno Ouviña aka GalleGutsito.
We talked to August, champion designer for League of Legends, who has just been promoted to Lead Champion Designer, and he gave us all the details about champion creation.
In our Interview Riot August told us about some of the ideas he has for League of Legends. New champions that may one day end up making it into the Rift.
The old League of Legends champions have received major updates with mini-works over the past few months. Riot August gives more detail about A plan by Riot Games that goes far beyond simply renewing old characters.