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Genesis & First Steps - LoL, League of Legends: Discover PROJECT skins history!

LoL, League of Legends: Discover PROJECT skins history!
Genesis & First Steps
  • PROJECT's Lore

Basically, PROJECT: Yasuo was supposed to be the only one that would appear in League of Legends client. Riot's office in Santa Monica was working on this skin as it was working on other skins, in a completely normal and usual way. However, at the same time, Marco "Wendigo" Silva — computer graphics designer at Riot for the São Paulo office — had already made his own design of PROJECT: Yi. At the time, he called it "Cyber Yi".

As you might expect, an idea as important as a series of skins must be checked from top to bottom and must be flawless, just like Arcade skins. Silva then decided to maintain his "project" and wrote, with a team of conceptual artists and animators that he himself had assembled, a 50-page presentation proving the value and relevance of his ideas for the game. The cyberpunk genre of Silva's idea interested more and more people.

My first reaction was like, ‘whoa, this is ridiculous'. I was impressed.
Larry “The Bravo Ray” Ray - Lead Concept Artist on Cyber Yi (Source)
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PROJECT vs. Robots

These two families should not be confused. Robots or Mechas are different from PROJECTS. In the Mechas family, there are two additional subgenres. One includes Malphite, Aatrox, and Kha'Zix. The other includes Viktor, Kog'Maw, Skarner, Cho'Gath, Vel'Koz, and Urgot. The difference between these two types of Mechs can be clearly seen in their Splash arts alone.

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"Mecha, on the other hand, pulls influence from Giant-Robot/Monster-Attacking-The-City movies and animes. The sensitive parts of the mechs are covered up and painted, bringing form and function together to create a gigantic machine that looks like it could fit a whole family of yordles in the cockpit."
Riot Cactopus - Communication Lead on Mechas Champions (Source)
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"Battlecast is like what the Vikings would build if you gave them combustion engines. There's black oil, hot sparks, pistons, a fuel source. Everything's on fire and it's gonna hurt to be near it."
Adam « Riot AdamUnicorn » Kupratis - Visual Effects Artist on Battlecast Champions (Source)

The PROJECT skins are not steel monsters. They are human-sized champions protected by an exoskeleton. It is an improvement of the human being through the fusion between the latter and the machine, a kind of hybrid.

“In order to become PROJECT you have to surrender your humanity, the technology takes over your soul."
Lisa « Saiyaka » Thorn - Visual Designer on PROJECT Skins (Source)

However, PROJECTS should not be seen as empty and soulless shells. There are signs to remind us that they are, despite everything, at the base of humans: Leona's visible jaw, some of Master Yi's apparent muscles, Yasuo's gloves.

From left to right: Leona's jaw, Master Yi's  boots, and Yasuo's gloves - League of Legends
From left to right: Leona's jaw, Master Yi's boots, and Yasuo's gloves

Shaping Up

This is literally the shape of the characters. For the Mechas, there is a preponderance of hexagonal shapes for the first family — and for Viktor's army, it is assemblies of spare parts that make up the overall shape. Colour is also important: basic Mechas are cold blue/grey steel characters while Viktor Mechas display orange and red colors escaping from the joints.

The PROJECT have colors similarly close to the Mechas, with the difference that theirs is attenuated by the surrounding light.

Artists call these sorts of defining details “shape language,” and clearly determining the shape language for each champ and skin line creates a sort of visual consistency that’s easily understood and recognized by players.
Riot Cactopus - Communication Lead on Shaping Language (Source)

The characteristic forms of PROJECT skins are mixtures between elements of computer science and magic, which are found in the small particles displayed by the skins — between technology and magic.

The artistic team then gave a definition of what PROJECT meant.

PROJECT: is the perfect fusion of one’s supernatural essence with advanced weaponry and body augmentation. This linking of technology and energy allows extraordinary hosts to channel their essence into physical manifestations and, in rare cases, transcend the corporeal plane. Only subjects possessing extremely focused inner essence and exceptional physical attributes can unlock the true power of PROJECT.
Riot Cactopus - Communication Lead on PROJECT's Definition (Source)

PROJECTS are all different from each other. Their particles are different for everyone. Lucian has parallelogram shapes, smooth and dynamic and his E-Ardent Blaze usually displays a compass rose. The designers wanted these elements to be present even with the skins, not forgetting that the PROJECTS are initially human.

That is why Fiora has triangular particles, representing grace but with sharp, aggressive sides, while Lucian emits ever stronger bursts of light, bringing the character back to his dynamism.

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From São Paulo to the Rift

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Players loved the PROJECT concept, but it took time to figure out how to integrate its themes and ideas with the potential suggested by Marco Silva’s pitch for “Cyber Yi.” Size, color, shape, purpose, personality: each of these elements had to be carefully considered and toyed with to turn PROJECT into a full-blown skin line.
Riot Cactopus - Communication Lead on Cyber Yi (Source)

Silva thus saw his idea appear in the Summoner's Rift — for a player who mains Master Yi, this skin is a real treat.

League of Legends welcomes new PROJECT skins!

Yes, we were right! The PROJECT family returns to the Rift! Give a warm welcome to Pyke, Jinx, Akali, and Irelia as they put on their new suits for the first time!

Irelia's PROJECT Skin will have its Prestige Edition!

PROJECT skins are coming back in League of Legends! Get ready, because Irelia's brand new Prestige skin will soon blast into the Summoner's Rift!

  • PROJECT's Lore
  • Genesis & First Steps
Thomas Sauzin
Thomas "Calo" Sauzin

Head of Portal League of Legends 🇫🇷 — Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo

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