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The “Sexy” Factor

Sexy champs, competing with other MOBAs, and a closer look at art and animation

By Jinxylord, Ghostcrawler & obiwunkenobi

Welcome to Ask Riot! Have a question?

This week it’s sexy champs, art and animation, and competing with other MOBAs. And reminder: Ask Riot’s one-year anniversary is coming up (in a few weeks), and we’re going to celebrate by having Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill and Brandon “Ryze” Beck, aka the co-founders of Riot and co-creators of League, sit down and answer a bunch of them. If you’ve got a burning question for the guys who started this whole thing, ask away! Look for their anniversary Ask Riot sometime SoonTM.

Q

When will you make more sexy girl champions?

A

I talked about this recently on Reddit, so here’s a quick copy-paste:

In 2013 we made a conscious effort to shift away from the “hourglass girls” we had been making for years. We just had so many women in our game that could easily be described by, “Syndra, but in a different cosplay.” We needed more variety. There are a lot of different ways to make compelling female characters that don’t revolve around raw sex appeal. IMO having a large variety of female and male characters is really good for us. Lets us hit a ton of different niches which is important with a roster as big as ours.

That said, it’s been a loooooong time (over 3 years) since we’ve made a new first order appealing female character (like of Lux, Ahri, or Jinx). I think it’s important we make another, not because “OMG SEX APPEAL,” but because “I feel attractive” is a compelling character fantasy that a lot of players (men and women) really attach to. The key is the character’s looks HAVE TO MAKE SENSE. Visuals should support the overall theme of a character, not be there in spite of it. The way Caitlyn looks makes no sense for a prim and proper sheriff. The way Ahri looks makes a ton of sense for a succubus.

It is also crucial to recognize that even within the “attractive character” space, there is huge potential variety in the ways that attractiveness can express itself (there’s a reason I used Lux, Ahri, and Jinx in the above example). As long as the character’s visuals serve and resonate with the its thematic we shouldn’t be afraid of going the “sexy” route. League’s got room for all kinds.

Jinxylord
Champion Designer
Q

What’s the plan for keeping League competitive with other MOBAs? There are a lot of games with similar setups/mechanics.

A

At the end of the day, we think it’s a good thing if there are design and other differences among the various MOBAs. It gives players a reason to choose the one that fits their individual play style rather than having a bunch of carbon copies with only superficial differences. For example, some players like last hitting and some don’t care for it. Some players want strong individual agency and carry potential, while others prefer a game where the entire team wins or loses together. While some of the conventions of a MOBA (like lanes and turrets) may feel universal, there is a lot of opportunity for differentiation. DOTA has couriers. HOTS has talent trees.

We would make an exception if something happened (like a new feature, design or way of thinking about a game) that evolved the entire genre and became the new status quo. Many MOBAs for example (including League) have a loot system now, because it’s something players expect. I can’t predict what that thing would be (an editor, a PvE mode, some kind of new progression system?). But if it was something players wanted and was good for the game overall, we’d strongly consider adding it to League as well, rather than just be stubborn for the sake of being stubborn.

Design Director, League of Legends
Q

What software do your artist and animators use? Any recommendations on what someone should focus on learning if they want to work in the industry/at Riot?

A

Different studios use different stuff, but common software in the industry is Maya, Zbrush, Unreal, Unity, Photoshop, etc. Many studios also have proprietary software that an artist may need to learn after being hired. What’s more important is that you understand basic artistic principles, can execute on your area of expertise at a high, industry-standard level, and can communicate effectively about your artistic decisions.

tldr: Learning industry-standard software is a good start, but it’s the quality of your craft and your understanding of how it does or doesn’t fit into the bigger picture that matters. You can always learn new software if you have strong fundamentals, and companies looking for artists are looking more at your work than your software credentials.

obiwunkenobi
Art Operations Director

Thanks for reading this week’s Ask Riot. Have a question?

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We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).

We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about.

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