Riot Games Teamfight Tactics: Fates League of Legends Art Blast
Hi everyone! The production artists on TFT are excited to share with you some of the work that went into set 4: Fates. But before we get into the fun stuff, I wanted to express how proud I am of the team, not just for making our best set to date, but also because it’s the first time we built an entire set while working from home. Needless to say, WFH is tough! It presented a number of new challenges around communication, feedback, and most importantly the difficulties of being socially isolated. We found lots of little things like Jeremy Page’s daily coffee GIFs, team playtests, and art reviews that helped us stay connected as a team. But, of course, all of that wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing players. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity you all have given us to continue making games and creating beautiful art. Thank you.
Now, onto the art! Here to speak more on our front end is Sebastian Reeve.
Thematic & Little Legends
Hey yall! For this set, we were so excited about the world around Fates, and we really wanted to bring the world to life beyond just the gameplay itself. This set was the first where art direction was a major driver in the set development process, inspiring all parts of the experience. We wanted to bring that thematic into the client, updating that original TFT loading screen and Lobby background (finally!), so that you are immersed in the world from start to finish.
This set was also our chance to give exciting new gameplay features a spotlight in our UI. To visually highlight the Chosen mechanic, we used animated cards, HUD effects, and consistent color to create a cohesive experience everywhere from the trait tracker to Chosen units on the board.
Finally, we’re really excited to bring you some really iconic new Little Legends, and a whole new way to level them up, Star Shards! Now, leveling up that 3 Star Precious Panda Choncc is in your control, powering them with Star Shards that can be earned in the Battlepass during this season. We’re excited to continue to push how we present and celebrate your Little Legend avatars throughout the TFT client.
Next up is Isaac Wood to tell us about the work his team did on VFX.
When it comes to VFX, Fates is the biggest set we’ve done yet. We added new boards with interactive events, a new gorgeous Carousel, new booms, 13 origins, 13 classes, and soooo many new characters—some with abilities even League hasn’t seen before. Despite the challenge, the team managed to make Fates the best-looking set yet.
With the new Chosen mechanic, we knew we needed to make Chosen champions feel powerful and stand out from the rest of their team. We played with a lot of different ideas to make this happen, like attaching banners or swords to their backs, but none that felt particularly strong or eye-catching. Finally, we came up with the idea to have Chosen units literally fall from the heavens. We tested it out in-game and everything fell into place.
Last but not least, there were so many new and exciting traits this set, and we knew it needed to feel great when placing them on the board. Cultists in particular posed a special challenge. When we first saw Galio we knew we wanted to really show off the trait. We referenced the skins and knew many of their recalls involved summoning portals and Blood Moon rings, so we decided that each unit would create their own Blood Moon symbol and together they combine their energy to spawn Galio. Highlighting Galio like that allowed us to add a little bit of dread to TFT. Watching and waiting to get crushed by that level 9 Galio over on the side—it’s terrifying!
Next up, Gino Whitehall is here to tell you about the work we did on Concept.
Concept Design is one of the first steps in helping to realize a game designer’s vision, following a product from prototype all the way to the screen. Beyond painting pretty pictures (which is always fun), Concept Design is problem-solving. Our job is to take an exciting idea and visually present it to players in a way that feels immersive, meaningful, and fun.
Fates was a set that had everyone inspired from the get-go. The idea of this mythical journey had so much potential, and ideas were coming in from all directions. But there were questions too. How do we evoke the right feelings? How do we engage players while maintaining gameplay clarity? Gradually, we were able to hone in on what really made the set cool, and played up those aspects. It took a ton of communication, collaboration, and trust; I’d like to thank my awesome team for delivering on all of this. I’d also like to thank our talented concept artists for their masterful hands, and wrinkly brains. Finally, thanks to our players for their ongoing support! You bring meaning to what we do. We’re very proud to share our efforts with you, and we hope you enjoy the art of TFT: Fates!
Last, but certainly not least, is Jeremy Page to tell us about the work we did in Arenas.
Hello everyone! I’m Jeremy, Senior Environment Artist on TFT.
With Fates, we all agreed that Concept had delivered us some very beautiful images, and that matching that fidelity in 3D form was going to be a lot of fun… but very challenging.
One thing to point out with League-style environment art is that anything organic is much more difficult to create than your standard man-made architecture. Not only did Fates have a plethora of organic flora to build, but we had to keep each arena skin different from the next, while still adhering to the theme and tone of the concepts.
So how do we create unique arenas, replete with the life and energy of an actual environment, within the constraints of a TFT board?
The easiest way we found is to group the assets we create into 4 specific buckets:
Easily the most important bucket, anatomy is basically the board, bench, perch, and goldmine. When stylizing these to fit into a theme, we adhere strictly to a template that never changes. It’s always a challenge to keep the anatomy fresh and unique.
2. Bread and Butter
The bread and butter is the bass player of the map. Less glamorous than the lead singer, but often more integral, this bucket includes the parts of the map that players notice least but feel nonetheless. For Fates this included mountain cliffs, rocks, roots, bushes, and grass.
3. Culture Kit
This is where environment artists really start to make the arenas feel unique from one another. For example, on the Festival Arena our culture kit included merchant props, lanterns and light strings, banners, shinto shrines, and a pagoda. For Akana, we created a bunch of totems. This bucket also includes the background skybox. More on that in a minute.
4. Points of Interest
This last bucket is what an environment artist on TFT loves to work on more than anything else. Points of interest (or POIs) are what attract the most attention from players and demand the highest fidelity from the artist. Luckily, Fates had a bunch of POIs to pass around as each board got a unique temple, a massive hollow tree, and some shrines.
In the end, Fates was a blast to make and I hope you all enjoy the aesthetics when you play.
Well, that’s everything we have for now! Thanks for taking the time to check out our art and helping us celebrate the joys of making and playing TFT! Stay safe out there!
Associate Art Director
Alexis Sorensen – Visual Effects Artist – Teamfight Tactics: Fate
Alexis Sorensen – Visual Effects Artist – Teamfight Tactics: Fate
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