League’s Star Guardian skin line is perhaps one of the most popular in the game, but the most recent batch of star-themed skins revealed on the Public Beta Environment earlier this week had fans scratching their heads. Today, Riot Games dove into the development process behind the skins and why the company chose to approach the new Star Guardian additions a little differently from previous years.
Looking at the new Star Guardian skins, fans can see a stark contrast between this set and previous iterations. Of the four new skins, only Star Guardian Neeko boasts the characteristically bright and cheery features that the skin line is most well-known for. Star Guardian Xayah, Rakan, and Zoe each take on a darker, evil ambiance.
Zoe has taken over the role of the antagonist in the Star Guardian universe. Both Xayah and Rakan originally served as part of Star Guardian Ahri’s team before being corrupted by Zoe’s darkness, according to the skins’ descriptions. This is apparent from the lovebirds’ models and recalls, which occasionally reveal their Star Guardian outfits and bright, cheery looks underneath the corruption.
Although the evil spin brought a new angle to an otherwise 2D skin line, many fans couldn’t help but be disappointed. After seeing teasers for the skins, the community expected a new team of upbeat Star Guardian champs, with some players even anticipating the frequently-memed Star Guardian Urgot. But upon the arrival of the “anti-Star Guardian” looks, it became clear fans wouldn’t be receiving the lighthearted skins many had come to love.
In a comment on the game’s forums, Riot Beardilocks shot down the possibility of a “light” version chroma for the Star Guardian Xayah and Rakan skins. He explained that the design team took a tri-pillar approach to this set of skins, with one main theme standing central to Xayah’s design: Xayah is dealing with an internal struggle between good and evil. To release a light version of the skin would be to dismiss this internal battle—the very thing that stands as the fundamental concept behind the skin’s creation.
The abilities on the new Xayah and Rakan skins clearly demonstrate the struggle each character faces in their corruption. Some abilities represent the light, while others represent the dark. A light variant would conflict with these spells and their effects, causing the skin and its lore to lose cohesion.
“If we did commit to fixing all of these things so that they made sense for a light variant, we’d need to do entirely new visual and sound effects, new animations, new voiceover and new recalls,” Riot Beardilocks said. “At that point, we would basically have to charge the price of a whole new skin, or to add these as a toggle they’d basically need to become ultimates, because it would take the same amount of development time as a whole new skin would.”
Star Guardian Xayah and Rakan will retain their evil characteristics moving forward, according to Riot Beardilocks. The lovebirds’ skins will release with three chromas each, but unfortunately for fans of the classic Star Guardian looks, none of them will be light versions.
The four new Star Guardian skins are now on the PBE and are expected to release with Patch 9.18, which goes live on Sept. 11.