League of Legends game director Andrei ‘Meddler’ van Roon has revealed how Riot chooses to make new champion skins and why they “vault” certain skin lines.
Skins in League of Legends allow players to customize their favorite champions in a number of unique outfits and styles, that can be purchased or unlocked through event pass missions and chests.
While there are many unique skins in the game, with multiple styles for each of the 148 characters, there are also ‘skin line themes’ such as the PROJECT set, where champions have a similar look as seen with Jhin, Vayne, and Vi below.
These themes are often released as part of an in-game event and with fans demanding that their mains should be included in each collection, Riot Games opened up on their process of handling these skin lines in a ‘Quick LoL Thoughts’ blog post on June 19.
Riot dev Andrei van Roon explained that there is certain criteria that needed to be met when choosing between skin lines. He added that one of the key factors is how well one of these collections did, compared to expectations and the marketing support given, such as music videos or trailers for the cosmetics.
“We don’t expect a skin for a niche champion to be acquired by as many players as one for a really popular champion,” he explained, “so this is about acquisition relative to the base champion’s popularity.”
Removing Little Legends from ARAM for the sake of gameplay clarity
How we decide which skin lines to continue with, rework, stop doing, with a few exampleshttps://t.co/Ep9ncNwYAx
— Andrei van Roon (@RiotMeddler) June 19, 2020
Another element that Riot’s design team focuses on when planning new additions is how many other champions could receive similar skins in the future, revealing that they will move on from a collection if no other characters could fit the theme.
“A skin line might be well-loved and perform well, but if we’ve used up all the good fits it makes more sense to focus on other themes instead,” Meddler added.
He also explained that even skin lines that consistently perform well, highlighting the Star Guardians set as an example, would not be oversaturated with new releases and that Riot would have to bring a “different spin” with every character.
Riot has also vaulted some of these themes before, as seen with the 2019 Sugar Rush skins, and shared that they would rather shift their efforts towards some of their more popular or new skin lines in future events.
As well as breaking down the skin selection process, Meddler also highlighted, in the blog post, that they would be removing Little Legends from the ARAM playlist, revealing a lack of interest in their addition to the game mode and their potential to cause issues around visual clarity.