League of Legends Lead Champion Producer Alexia “Riot Lexical” Gao has been with Riot Games for more than eight years. For seven of those years, Aurora has been sitting in a folder, she told press at an exclusive media preview at Riot Games HQ.

Since 2018, Lead Concept Artist Sunny “Riot Kindlejack” Pandita and Lead Champion Designer Blake “Riot Squad5” Smith has been throwing around ideas about her, they revealed in the Aurora Champions Insights post.

Can Aurora be played in the jungle? How about support? League of Legends dev team weighs in
Credit: ONE Esports, Riot Games
Can Aurora be played in the jungle? How about support? League of Legends dev team weighs in

During those early days, they saw her as a dancer who told stories through smoke, or a mage who can combine elemental magic before circling back on the “bunny concept” that’s in her final design.

Why the process of designing League of Legends mage champion Aurora took so long

“Honestly, it’s an archetype that gamers are no stranger to. I personally do a lot of onboarding for Rioters, and one of the exercises we do is to pitch a champion,” Riot Lexical shared with press. “And it’s an idea that comes up again and again.”

All Aurora abilities explained, with exclusive mechanics clarifications from Riot Games
Credit: ONE Esports, Riot Games
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Not only did newcomers propose this highly popular bunny concept — when the rest of the dev team caught onto the idea, they were also very enthusiastic about it.

Riot Squad5 then started to conceptualize her abilities to fit this adorable outlook. One of the ideas the team came up with was a genius mage who could copy other people’s magic.

Official Aurora concept art showing her meshed with different prey animals
Credit: Riot Games

“By this point people were playtesting her. They really loved the kit and felt like spell stealing was a fun skill expression, but we got pretty mixed results for everything combined,” Riot Squad5 shared in Champion Insights. “People kept saying stealing spells felt too evil for her!”

Because of this feedback, the team made a tough call — they created a new champion instead, whom we now know as Sylas, while a significant part of her personality became Lillia.

Notions around the spirit realm morphed into the Spirit Blossom skinline, found their way into Yone, and even contributed to Fiddlesticks’ demon lore, the blog post revealed.

How Riot Games ended up taking Aurora’s bunny concept even further

Official Aurora concept art compilation
Credit: Riot Games

When Riot Lexical moved over from Legends of Runeterra to become the Lead Champion Producer for League of Legends in 2021, she called for an Aurora do-over.

“Aurora is so unapologetic, she’s such a strong woman. It would be really interesting to have that dichotomy of a prey animal and her personality, which is why we not only looked at bunnies, but also squirrels, et cetera,” Riot Lexical told press.

One of the original concept arts showing her in a witch hat and rabbit ears was something that the team kept going back to despite the many iterations.

Aurora concept art showing close-up of her face with freckles in ONE Esports featured image for article "Officially, Aurora represents this misunderstood disability group — a first in League of Legends history"
Credit: ONE Esports, Riot Games
Officially, Aurora represents this misunderstood disability group — a first in League of Legends history

They then explored her Vastayan heritage, placing her in the Freljord, showing that Vastayans are not just found in Ionia, but all over Runeterra. They also gave her unique Vastayan markings in the form of freckles on her face, shoulders, and thighs.

As to why she wears large witch hat, Riot Lexical shared an interesting story with press. “When we started talking about her friendship with Ornn, one of the things that we go back to is — instead of the Rabadon’s Death Cap, it would be Rabadon’s Friend Cap,” she said.

“We just thought it was such cute, unique interactions that we just really love and wanted to pursue. Personally, maybe I’m a little biased.”

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