Riot devs reveal that Valorant’s Neon and League’s Zeri were developed in tandem

If you noticed some similarities between the two, turns out that was by design.

Images via Riot Games

Hero shooter Valorant recently got a nice little update that brought in its newest playable Agent, Neon. The lightning-fast hard hitter has been well received by players, even after being accidentally unlocked automatically on release, but some who have dabbled in Riot’s other games have pointed out the similarities between Neon and Zeri, one of League of Legends’ newest Champions. That, it turns out, is no coincidence.

According to a post from Erika Haas on Valorant’s official website, the two characters aren’t the same person or even related to each other; however, they were developed in tandem by the two games’ teams, spearheaded by Valorant’s John Goscicki and League’s Ryan Mireles. That might sound like a fun, if unimpressive, bit of trivia, but as the post goes on to detail the tricky process, it soon becomes apparent that this was more than a simple palette swap.

To start with, the two games play radically different from each other — a simple copy-paste of assets wouldn’t cut it. To work around that, the teams built the characters up from the idea of a shared power source: speed and electricity. From there, ideas like the characters’ Filipina origins, and even their personalities — narrative writer Michael Luo describes Neon as “the negative charge” and Zeri as “the positive” — grew out organically as the duo gradually took shape.

The teams struggled to overcome various other issues during development, not least of which was designing interesting gameplay elements that wouldn’t break their respective games. But the results speak for themselves, and Neon and Zeri have ended up as a tribute of sorts to the respect and collaboration between two quite different games.