(TF)T-Minus Eighteen Weeks: The Story of TFT (Part 1)
What do you get when you add 12 devs, eight weeks, and League of Legends together? TFT, obviously.
Your voices (and memes) came through loud and clear. After internal discussion and consideration, we are making the decision to move back to splash art across Teamfight Tactics (TFT). That being said, we also wanted to take the opportunity to walk you all through how we were approaching models and our reasoning behind it.
Splash arts are beautiful. They are the highest quality illustration work we do on League of Legends. Each splash art is carefully crafted to tell new stories, inspire the imagination, and make the universe of League of Legends more complete and unique.
They are also not created with TFT (and its specific use case) in mind and we recognized a few opportunities to replace them with something that could do a few things better:
The best version of the game has thematically cohesive sets. In order to achieve this, sometimes we need to make changes to the champion models you see in-game. One example of this in the Galaxies set is Graves.
We knew that Graves would be a great fit in the Space Pirate trait, but we didn’t have a skin that fit the thematic. We did, however have the vintage Jailbreak Graves model which we were able to make adjustments in order to bring him to life as the final member of the Space Pirate crew.
Having four Space Pirate champions allowed us to get two levels out of the trait and build more awesome gameplay where it was possible for players to loot items in addition to gold.
Clarity and Quick Identification
Using models allowed us to highlight important gameplay elements directly in the shop cards and better communicate champion-specific game mechanics. In Galaxies, Aurelion Sol’s star-fighters don’t behave in the same ring-like pattern on Summoner’s Rift. They also don’t receive a lot of visual prominence in his splash art, especially when scaled down.
More freedom with the background also gave us the flexibility to more clearly show the relationship different champions have with each other (origin, class, role, etc.), especially if they didn’t come from the same original skin line.
We also found from labs and surveys that as Teamfight Tactics expands to new audiences, new players with less League experience found it very difficult to identify the in-game models based on their splash art.
Many of the new players that have been joining us don’t have the years of League experience behind them, and we want to ensure that just like all of you that have been with us from the jump, that we set them up to find the fun as soon as possible.
Back to Splash Art
At the end of the day, we're taking this feedback as a huge compliment to all of the work the splash art teams and illustrators have done through the years. Their ability to resonate with all of you is awesome. We're still trying to find ways to solve the issues we talked about so we'll keep working on solutions until we find something that we're happy with. Until then, we're paying attention to all of your feedback (and again, even the memes) so keep bringin' it and we hope you all have a blast with Teamfight Tactics: Galaxies.