League of Legends' Artist IronStylus Unveils Original Character Concepts

League of Legends' Artist IronStylus Unveils Original Character Concepts

leona final concept mock up

Riot Games Senior Concept Artist Michael "IronStylus" Maurino has shared a wealth of LoL designs that never made it into the final game.

Very few games can transition painlessly from concept stage to finished product, especially online titles that undergo regular updates and expansions. For proof of that, MOBA players need look no farther than the work of Michael "IronStylus" Maurino, a Senior Concept Artist at Riot Games. As a League of Legends character designer, and an active voice in the League of Legends community, Maurino has a unique insight into the creative processes behind LoL's many Champions. For example, in response to some LoL concept art that's been circulating on Reddit Maurino posted pieces from his own portfolio to show how character designs can change over time.

"I saw that awesome thread with a pile of older champion concept art which was dug up and I thought I'd dig through my own pile and show you (some of) the concepts I've worked on," Maurino wrote. "Big thing to notice: Things change a lot when it comes to concept art and character design. You're going to see a bunch of stuff we actually threw away, or iterated further upon depending on the situation of the particular development. Hell, you might even see something you think should have been in the released champion that didn't happen, but usually there was a good reason why it was changed."

A sample of the images are posted below, but Maurino notes they only comprise "a quarter of the characters that I've worked on that have seen the light of day". It's also clear that significant revisions were made to characters during development. The avian-inspired Quinn, for example, started out as a melee-based Champion before becoming the ranged-attacker that LoL players recognize.

Speaking as a outsider to League of Legends, I think this concept art looks pretty good, but Maurino himself would disagree. "Fun thing to keep in mind, a lot of this is awful," Maurino continued. "I think it's evident that a lot of my initial work was below the current quality bar of the company ... It makes me feel lucky that I'm a part of this team and that I've been given the opportunity to grow. We're all really lucky in that regard. I couldn't have improved at all if it wasn't for my amazing colleagues."

Source: Surrender at 20

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I don't really play LoL at all anymore, but I still subscribe to their page on Facebook and often get linked a lot of cool art from fans. However, some of their own artists have created quite a lot of fan art of their own that's fun to browse through. Here's one that was linked a few weeks ago: http://zeronis.deviantart.com/gallery/

This guys's stuff is freaking awesome.

It seems they are all wearing clothes. No wonder they didn't make the cut to being in the game.

Clive Howlitzer:
It seems they are all wearing clothes. No wonder they didn't make the cut to being in the game.

Nice try, but both the females in the concept art here are wearing just as much clothing in the final product. Good way of showing you don't actually play the game but are willing to spout generic bile.

OT: Maybe its just because I'm not an artist, but I actually like some elements of the Quinn and Diana designs more than what they actually went with I think partly because two of the Quinn concepts are holding swords instead of a crossbow, indicating that at one point she may have been something besides another goddamn ADC.

major_chaos:

Clive Howlitzer:
It seems they are all wearing clothes. No wonder they didn't make the cut to being in the game.

Nice try, but both the females in the concept art here are wearing just as much clothing in the final product. Good way of showing you don't actually play the game but are willing to spout generic bile.

OT: Maybe its just because I'm not an artist, but I actually like some elements of the Quinn and Diana designs more than what they actually went with I think partly because two of the Quinn concepts are holding swords instead of a crossbow, indicating that at one point she may have been something besides another goddamn ADC.

It actually was more of a shot at art design in video games in general. I also wouldn't go so far as to say it was 'bile'. That'd imply a lot more negative feelings behind it than there really are. It was a playful poke if anything. Learn to relax instead of knee jerk defend your favorite game.

Clive Howlitzer:

It actually was more of a shot at art design in video games in general. I also wouldn't go so far as to say it was 'bile'. That'd imply a lot more negative feelings behind it than there really are. It was a playful poke if anything. Learn to relax instead of knee jerk defend your favorite game.

Favorite game? Not even close. But I do apologize, your statement read like one of the many asinine, ill informed, unironic "herp derp LoL is teh seixst beacuse all the gurlz are nudez!!!1!" comments I have seen and I reacted poorly instead of considering that it might be a joke. Poe's law strikes again.

Fappy:
I don't really play LoL at all anymore, but I still subscribe to their page on Facebook and often get linked a lot of cool art from fans. However, some of their own artists have created quite a lot of fan art of their own that's fun to browse through. Here's one that was linked a few weeks ago: http://zeronis.deviantart.com/gallery/

This guys's stuff is freaking awesome.

So he's the guy that did Laila from Hawken? I loved that lady, and that's all I really remember from my couple hours on Hawken xD

Quinn was supposed to be melee only? That would have been really cool, though most people would say she's barely viable as she is now because her ult turns her into a melee carry and pure AD squishy melee carries do not work in League if you're half decent at the game. Don't get me wrong, Bird Mode is fuckin' cool but it's still a bit odd as a concept. I can see the logic behind it but was a full character swap really needed? I used to say that Quinn is the Brave Mode, go ham carry but that's Jinx's thing now. That. Passive. Though.

See ya later nerds!

I like that in game Leona though, but it is a bit off from the general aesthetics League is going for right now. It's too... Realistic? Leona is on that painful list of needing a visual upgrade but is not even close to being a priority. I'd just like to see her particle effects upgraded.

major_chaos:

Clive Howlitzer:
It seems they are all wearing clothes. No wonder they didn't make the cut to being in the game.

Nice try, but both the females in the concept art here are wearing just as much clothing in the final product. Good way of showing you don't actually play the game but are willing to spout generic bile.

OT: Maybe its just because I'm not an artist, but I actually like some elements of the Quinn and Diana designs more than what they actually went with I think partly because two of the Quinn concepts are holding swords instead of a crossbow, indicating that at one point she may have been something besides another goddamn ADC.

Yes, Riot's famous egalitarian design which brought us such greats as Janna, Katarina, Boob-Ninja, Boob-Spider, and a Lux design that was so bad the community troll'd them until they made her look less like a whore dressed in a cheerleader costume. I play and I like League, but Riot is hugely guilty of this, though they claim it's so "you can recognize they're female at a glance", because apparently the voice work and portraits aren't enough. Oh and it's less important that we be able to tell Poppy is a female at first glance because I guess midgit tits don't count. Leona was their best dressed female champion for a while and she is wearing what is effectively a unitard with boob-plate and an armored skirt attached.

So who then went to the diana concept and thought it needed white WOW eyes?
Fire that person.

TsunamiWombat:

major_chaos:

Clive Howlitzer:
It seems they are all wearing clothes. No wonder they didn't make the cut to being in the game.

Nice try, but both the females in the concept art here are wearing just as much clothing in the final product. Good way of showing you don't actually play the game but are willing to spout generic bile.

OT: Maybe its just because I'm not an artist, but I actually like some elements of the Quinn and Diana designs more than what they actually went with I think partly because two of the Quinn concepts are holding swords instead of a crossbow, indicating that at one point she may have been something besides another goddamn ADC.

Yes, Riot's famous egalitarian design which brought us such greats as Janna, Katarina, Boob-Ninja, Boob-Spider, and a Lux design that was so bad the community troll'd them until they made her look less like a whore dressed in a cheerleader costume. I play and I like League, but Riot is hugely guilty of this, though they claim it's so "you can recognize they're female at a glance", because apparently the voice work and portraits aren't enough. Oh and it's less important that we be able to tell Poppy is a female at first glance because I guess midgit tits don't count. Leona was their best dressed female champion for a while and she is wearing what is effectively a unitard with boob-plate and an armored skirt attached.

I laughed far more than I should have at Boob-Ninja and Boob-Spider.

Its almost as if concept art is way cooler than whats in the game

major_chaos:

Clive Howlitzer:

It actually was more of a shot at art design in video games in general. I also wouldn't go so far as to say it was 'bile'. That'd imply a lot more negative feelings behind it than there really are. It was a playful poke if anything. Learn to relax instead of knee jerk defend your favorite game.

Favorite game? Not even close. But I do apologize, your statement read like one of the many asinine, ill informed, unironic "herp derp LoL is teh seixst beacuse all the gurlz are nudez!!!1!" comments I have seen and I reacted poorly instead of considering that it might be a joke. Poe's law strikes again.

Did you see the one video walk through of the Riot office and one of the artists has a background of Ashe and Sivir making out? I'll try and find it. It was from like 3 years ago.

TsunamiWombat:
and a Lux design that was so bad the community troll'd them until they made her look less like a whore dressed in a cheerleader costume.

Okay, so I looked up the old Lux design and all I have to say is.... wow. That is just... Bad.

Have a look!

Quinn makes so much more sense now

The Wykydtron:
Quinn was supposed to be melee only? That would have been really cool, though most people would say she's barely viable as she is now because her ult turns her into a melee carry and pure AD squishy melee carries do not work in League if you're half decent at the game.

Well, it was Riot who decided that "Melee ADCs" should either be faceroll overpowered or completely worthless.
(looking at you, Tryndamere, Master Yi, Fiora...some of you more than once actually)

Originally, they only cared about three things for "AD Carry"; attack damage, crit%, and attack speed.
And it was fine, but at some point Riot decided "FUCK MELEE CARRIES!" and it was so.

Now...

Have a good AS steroid and good range? You a carry Marksman! Herp-a-derp!
Have the same only in melee/short range? You an assassin or fighter! Sherb-a-derb!

Atmos Duality:

The Wykydtron:
Quinn was supposed to be melee only? That would have been really cool, though most people would say she's barely viable as she is now because her ult turns her into a melee carry and pure AD squishy melee carries do not work in League if you're half decent at the game.

Well, it was Riot who decided that "Melee ADCs" should either be faceroll overpowered or completely worthless.
(looking at you, Tryndamere, Master Yi, Fiora...some of you more than once actually)

Originally, they only cared about three things for "AD Carry"; attack damage, crit%, and attack speed.
And it was fine, but at some point Riot decided "FUCK MELEE CARRIES!" and it was so.

Now...

Have a good AS steroid and good range? You a carry Marksman! Herp-a-derp!
Have the same only in melee/short range? You an assassin or fighter! Sherb-a-derb!

Actually people like Tryndamere are AD bruisers, Yi is the perfect picture of a proper melee carry. AKA fuckloads of damage but little survivability in fights (Meditate doesn't count now AP Yi is dead and buried, thank god.) which is exactly why melee carries don't work because one stun fucks them over and then 5 guys dogpile on top of them and they just melt. Hell i've seen Yi's die to nothing but AOE spells when trying to get into the enemy team and they weren't even aimed at him in particular.

Tryndamere can pass as a half tank whereas Yi would get rolled if he even thought about tanking. You've seen the Tryndamere who kills your entire team if you ignore him and try to focus the official carries right? Then if you focus Tryndamere, the time it takes for him to die means your team has died to the Jinx or something.

I think Yasuo is a melee carry too, building him tanky doesn't work from what i've seen. Riot is trying to do things with melee carries at least bless 'em.

AD brusiers can carry really hard (fuck you Jax!) so they could be mislabeled as a true melee carry but the way all bruisers have to be unkillable AND have damage is fucking stupid. Fuck you Jax.

Also I wish they would stop trying to force that stupid "Marksman" term down our throats. It's fucking bad. Even the commentators in the LCS call them AD carries, you ain't fooling no one.

not really a fan of the game, but I've always liked the character art

The Wykydtron:

Atmos Duality:

The Wykydtron:
Quinn was supposed to be melee only? That would have been really cool, though most people would say she's barely viable as she is now because her ult turns her into a melee carry and pure AD squishy melee carries do not work in League if you're half decent at the game.

Well, it was Riot who decided that "Melee ADCs" should either be faceroll overpowered or completely worthless.
(looking at you, Tryndamere, Master Yi, Fiora...some of you more than once actually)

Originally, they only cared about three things for "AD Carry"; attack damage, crit%, and attack speed.
And it was fine, but at some point Riot decided "FUCK MELEE CARRIES!" and it was so.

Now...

Have a good AS steroid and good range? You a carry Marksman! Herp-a-derp!
Have the same only in melee/short range? You an assassin or fighter! Sherb-a-derb!

Actually people like Tryndamere are AD bruisers, Yi is the perfect picture of a proper melee carry. AKA fuckloads of damage but little survivability in fights (Meditate doesn't count now AP Yi is dead and buried, thank god.) which is exactly why melee carries don't work because one stun fucks them over and then 5 guys dogpile on top of them and they just melt. Hell i've seen Yi's die to nothing but AOE spells when trying to get into the enemy team and they weren't even aimed at him in particular.

Tryndamere can pass as a half tank whereas Yi would get rolled if he even thought about tanking. You've seen the Tryndamere who kills your entire team if you ignore him and try to focus the official carries right? Then if you focus Tryndamere, the time it takes for him to die means your team has died to the Jinx or something.

I think Yasuo is a melee carry too, building him tanky doesn't work from what i've seen. Riot is trying to do things with melee carries at least bless 'em.

AD brusiers can carry really hard (fuck you Jax!) so they could be mislabeled as a true melee carry but the way all bruisers have to be unkillable AND have damage is fucking stupid. Fuck you Jax.

Also I wish they would stop trying to force that stupid "Marksman" term down our throats. It's fucking bad. Even the commentators in the LCS call them AD carries, you ain't fooling no one.

from what ive seen yasou is the melee carry by definition. He has stupidly highdamage ( 100 % fucking crit chance) and can disengage pretty easily. He is easy to shutdown early game though. And from what i can tell right now top lane bruiser quinn is way better than carry quinn which gets outclassed by anyother adc. Dont fuck jax, fuck riven the damn girl snowballs so hard its not even funny.

TsunamiWombat:

Yes, Riot's famous egalitarian design which brought us such greats as Janna, Katarina, Boob-Ninja, Boob-Spider, and a Lux design that was so bad the community troll'd them until they made her look less like a whore dressed in a cheerleader costume. I play and I like League, but Riot is hugely guilty of this, though they claim it's so "you can recognize they're female at a glance", because apparently the voice work and portraits aren't enough. Oh and it's less important that we be able to tell Poppy is a female at first glance because I guess midgit tits don't count. Leona was their best dressed female champion for a while and she is wearing what is effectively a unitard with an armored skirt attached.

well to be honest i didnt know riven was a woman for a month and i played my first week only with her. And we had heated debates about poppy's gender

sagitel:

The Wykydtron:

Atmos Duality:

Well, it was Riot who decided that "Melee ADCs" should either be faceroll overpowered or completely worthless.
(looking at you, Tryndamere, Master Yi, Fiora...some of you more than once actually)

Originally, they only cared about three things for "AD Carry"; attack damage, crit%, and attack speed.
And it was fine, but at some point Riot decided "FUCK MELEE CARRIES!" and it was so.

Now...

Have a good AS steroid and good range? You a carry Marksman! Herp-a-derp!
Have the same only in melee/short range? You an assassin or fighter! Sherb-a-derb!

Actually people like Tryndamere are AD bruisers, Yi is the perfect picture of a proper melee carry. AKA fuckloads of damage but little survivability in fights (Meditate doesn't count now AP Yi is dead and buried, thank god.) which is exactly why melee carries don't work because one stun fucks them over and then 5 guys dogpile on top of them and they just melt. Hell i've seen Yi's die to nothing but AOE spells when trying to get into the enemy team and they weren't even aimed at him in particular.

Tryndamere can pass as a half tank whereas Yi would get rolled if he even thought about tanking. You've seen the Tryndamere who kills your entire team if you ignore him and try to focus the official carries right? Then if you focus Tryndamere, the time it takes for him to die means your team has died to the Jinx or something.

I think Yasuo is a melee carry too, building him tanky doesn't work from what i've seen. Riot is trying to do things with melee carries at least bless 'em.

AD brusiers can carry really hard (fuck you Jax!) so they could be mislabeled as a true melee carry but the way all bruisers have to be unkillable AND have damage is fucking stupid. Fuck you Jax.

Also I wish they would stop trying to force that stupid "Marksman" term down our throats. It's fucking bad. Even the commentators in the LCS call them AD carries, you ain't fooling no one.

from what ive seen yasou is the melee carry by definition. He has stupidly highdamage ( 100 % fucking crit chance) and can disengage pretty easily. He is easy to shutdown early game though. And from what i can tell right now top lane bruiser quinn is way better than carry quinn which gets outclassed by anyother adc. Dont fuck jax, fuck riven the damn girl snowballs so hard its not even funny.

We don't need to worry about Riven, the bitch is forever permabanned. Top Quinn should win lane super hard against your typical melee if she's any good but you run the risk of robbing your team of a tank and unless your support is Leona or something tanky you have a really bad front line problem. Quinn can hold her own bot most of the time. Proc Harrier on someone, Vault, proc Harrier again. Level 1, half HP gone in a second. Go out of your way to make that happen at level 1/2 and the lane is heavily in your favour already.

Barely anyone can play Yasuo well, his ult being so situational limits his damage so if he misses his tornado he's pretty much done in a 1v1. Building a knockup team around him works but if the Yasuo can't play you might as well not have bothered.

The Wykydtron:

Actually people like Tryndamere are AD bruisers, Yi is the perfect picture of a proper melee carry. AKA fuckloads of damage but little survivability in fights (Meditate doesn't count now AP Yi is dead and buried, thank god.) which is exactly why melee carries don't work because one stun fucks them over and then 5 guys dogpile on top of them and they just melt. Hell i've seen Yi's die to nothing but AOE spells when trying to get into the enemy team and they weren't even aimed at him in particular.

Tryndamere can pass as a half tank whereas Yi would get rolled if he even thought about tanking. You've seen the Tryndamere who kills your entire team if you ignore him and try to focus the official carries right? Then if you focus Tryndamere, the time it takes for him to die means your team has died to the Jinx or something.

I think Yasuo is a melee carry too, building him tanky doesn't work from what i've seen. Riot is trying to do things with melee carries at least bless 'em.

AD brusiers can carry really hard (fuck you Jax!) so they could be mislabeled as a true melee carry but the way all bruisers have to be unkillable AND have damage is fucking stupid. Fuck you Jax.

Also I wish they would stop trying to force that stupid "Marksman" term down our throats. It's fucking bad. Even the commentators in the LCS call them AD carries, you ain't fooling no one.

Eh, I'd say there's a huge difference between Trynda/Jax and Hecarim/Shyvana/Jarvan. The latter can actually initiate a fight and tank some damage, while still dishing out some, but the former can completly rip apart your backline if your support is off fapping in a bush or something.

And the term "carry" is honestly a bit old, I can understand why they want to be away with that. It just coems from a time when lategame revovled around the ADC in the late, even lategame powerhouses like Jax (before the rework that improved his early but nerfed his late), Anivia or Karthus didn't have as big an impact. If you couldn't kill the Kog'Maw at 50 minutes in theg ame wqas pretty much over, unless you had a Vayne yourself on your team.

Nowadays though ADC:s carry a lot less in the lategame, and the game revolves a lot less about them. Now you can still win a fight even though your ADC was obliberated by a lux combo if you have an AP hypercarry like Orianna or Kayle.

 

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