Why back when we first saw Steel Legion Lux on the PBE in early December, Ironstylus mentioned that the skin was lacking context and promised to one day, when he could freely speak of such things, return to fill us on the Steel Legion line of skins. That day has finally come now that Steel Legion Garen, the missing piece of the context puzzle, has been released.
|Steel Legion Garen concept art courtesy of IronStylus|
Here is the IronStylus perspective and thoughts on the how the Steel Legion skins came about:
"So, my thoughts and some process explanation:
A while back I transitioned to the Skins team. My first few jobs were actually cancelled because of some not-the-best results when the model came back. See Battle Priestess Soraka and a few other skins. I'm not going to go into all the stuff I worked on because some of it might be something the community wants despite them not being the best quality skins.
I was pretty fond of the Crimson Elite skins, though I didn't know at the time that they weren't the most popular. I had known we sort of made them in "response" to the Commando skins. I wasn't a hundred percent fond of the Commando skins and I wanted to up the anti. I had this idea for the "Steel Legion". A sort of future world where Demacia allies with Piltover to get rad power armor to fight the sneakiness of the Crimson Elite.
We were is eating on a Garen skin when I pitched this idea. I did a very quick doodle of Steel Legion Garen and it took hold. It was a pretty cool them because Garen is sort of a space marine sorta dude who I thought would look nice in the motif. From then on, when we had other skin ideation for other Demacian champions I pitched a Steel Legion skin. One of those later skins was Steel Legion Lux.
Now at that time, since I was new to the team, i didn't have a firm grasp on what a lot of players expected from skins, especially when relating to the established player psychology those champions elicited. I was sort of in the mindset that I just should make something cool looking. I think I blindly threw the dart and hit the right note with Garen, but in retrospect I didn't really know what Lux players were expecting.
What ended up happening with Garen was pretty cool. Everyone loved the skin idea and we made some really bananas effects and animations. Shoquistador and RiotDudebro really blew it out of the park in those respects. Garen exceeded expectations and we were on track to possibility to make it a Legendary. It was held on to for a long time while we worked on other content.
In the meantime, I finished up Lux as well, and she started production much later.Thing was, I had sort of transitioned onto a few other things and that skin wasn't my primary focus. I had taken a break to work on Diana, back to more skins, then onto another champion and after that moved onto some style guide work. This left me pretty disconnected from Lux's development. I wasn't really there to help guide vision like I did with Garen. Everything came out good, but I definitely didn't see its evolution through and I regret that.
Later, Lux was slotted and Garen was still being held in backlog. It wasn't supposed to go out as is. Lux was to come first. I wasn't too terribly pleased with that because I felt Garen was a much better flagship for the Steel Legion theme. So, because she was slotted, Lux forged ahead onto PBE, resulting in the upheaval at the time. Seeing that reaction made me feel doubly bad. I certainly felt I had missed the mark and disappointed players. However, at the time, I mentioned to people that Lux was missing context. That context was Garen. This skin isn't exactly the embodiment of Lux, but I think that had it been married to Garen earlier, and not isolation, people would have understood a bit better.
Yes, we'll be re-approaching Lux at some point soon I'm sure. I'm not working on skins at the moment so I don't have the skinny on plans, but we got the community's message loud and clear.
Back to some development, after we had concepted Lux and Garen we decided they needed a more fitting adversary force and created the Bioforge idea, the flagship being Darius. Again though, I felt like we were lacking context. Either way, he came out and he was neat. In a lot of these cases I think the challenge came down to cadence, slotting and pacing. Everything that was done was done to quality, we just got a little goofed when it came to release.
So, that's the skinny on that development. Hopefully that clears a few things up, but I realize it doesn't explain away the Lux confusion and passionate discussion. I now know to really investigate the needs and desires of the players, and not just project what I feel is a cool motif. That's also become the standard practice of the Skins team. Get into the player psychology and make sure we're deliver on what that niche of players expects. Hopefully we'll be on the mark more going forward.
Here's some concept art for some added value. I don't have the Lux concept so I'll nab that later and explain my rationale there."
When asked about the future of the Steel Legion series, Ironstylus replied:
"Depends on how they're received. If they're received well, then we have plenty of real estate to work with. I would imagine we'd also include Piltover champions in a Demacia/Piltover alliance as well as Zuan champions for Bioforge. Nothing slated yet, but still possibilities."
As he mentions Bioforge stepping up to the plate to battle Steel Legion, one summoner questioned the future of the Crimson Elite set of skins and if any more will be made. IronStylus responded:
"Depends if we return to a tier of skins that is akin to model swaps without heavy custom animations or particles. The Crimson Elite skins don't really lend themselves to sweeping thematics. They mostly equate to geo changes and that's it."