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Riot’s project team talks to us about the latest Star Guardian event

A new game mode, missions and skins all in a gigantic League event.

Riot Games

The Star Guardian skins are arguably among the most popular cosmetics in League of Legends. With the release of Star Guardian Lux in May 2015, fans went wild. While there have been anime-based skins before (like Super Galaxy Rumble), this new skin was flashy, brilliant and extremely nostalgic for anime fans.

Fast forward a year and a half to October 2016 and Jinx, Poppy, Janna and Lulu are revealed as the backing Star Guardians to Lux’s crew. Released through a shiny splash site, players were hype that there were even more of these brilliant cosmetics in game.

Now, more Star Guardian skins are releasing for Ahri, Ezreal, Soraka, Miss Fortune and Syndra — alongside a full blown event with a new game mode and missions for users to complete.

The Star Guardian skins are breathtakingly magical.

The skins look phenomenal (as usual) and feature the first male Star Guardian, Ezreal. The female skins take clear inspiration from anime like Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but Ezreal’s outfit is more princely!

Riot Games

“One of our goals this year was to give each of them a little more individuality and make them stand out from one another. Ezreal automatically does that by being a guy,” said product manager Anna Donlon in an e-mail interview.

“The perception of what a heroic archetype is varies from region to region. Ezreal is a good example of a character that might seem more feminine by western standards but is seen as quite heroic in eastern nations. A lot of Anime series’ have male heroes in them that look way more like Ezreal than any other champion in our game, so he was a natural fit.”

Also joining the new crew, led by Ahri, is Syndra, who has a mysterious past as an older-generation Star Guardian. Her intentions are a little unclear, but she seems to be helping Ahri out. The lovely fox leader had recently lost her previous team of Star Guardians in battle and has been carrying this burden as she leads her new group.

No, the enemies in question were not any members of the Dark Star skin line. Donlon confirmed that the Dark Star skins are in a different universe, though the idea of crossing over different skin lines isn’t completely unheard of.

The Star Guardian skin line started off as a one-off project for Lux, but turned into something great that all players enjoy.

“It was definitely a risk and it took some internal convincing last year that this was the right theme to invest in at the larger scope. But we all believed in it. We also had data showing that our players really love Manga and Anime in general, so we took the risk, and we are happy to say things went well enough last year that it inspired us to create this experience for players this year,” said Donlon.

Save the city in the new Invasion game mode and get rewarded for fulfilling your destiny.

Invasion is the player-versus-environment co-op game mode that will launch on September 7, along with the rest of the skins. The game is set in the Star Guardian universe and players will battle it out as the SGs to defend the city against monsters. Don’t worry — all Star Guardian skins will be unlocked for this game mode, whether you own them or not.

The game mode will have two difficulties: Normal, to get you warmed up and understanding gameplay and Onslaught, the more brutal difficulty that slightly randomizes the pathing in each run. Onslaught mode also scores players and rewards those who complete the run quickly. Achieving certain ranks will even net you special rewards!

Donlon noted that while some players will definitely try to rush through the game mode to get rewards, they’ll definitely “be facing a larger challenge this time,” since the pseudo-randomization will keep offering them new challenges. Invasion will continue to feel fresh to players who’ve played it multiple times.

Riot Games

The missions for this event will be tied to the Invasion game mode, and you’ll be able to trade in your earned Star Tokens for a new icon and ward skin!

There have been similar events in the past, like the Dark Star event, that came with the Dark Star: Singularity game mode, or the release of the Blood Moon skins, which also came paired with the Hunt of the Blood Moon game mode. The Star Guardian event is the first time the new mission system is being used to pair with the release of a new game mode.

“The Star Guardians are thematically a really good match for a co-op PvE mode. The guardians working together as a team is an integral part of their identity, which fits perfectly with the mode,” said Donlon.

Putting together an event like this is a huge collaboration from many different departments across Riot. While organizing the different groups and getting them to work all on the schedule needed is hard, their hard work definitely pays off once the project is complete.

The new game mode and skins won’t be released until September 7, but they should all be testable on the Public Beta Environment soon if you want to get a jump start in your baddy-bashing.

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