Riot shuts down fan theories, confirms Zeri and Neon are not the same character

After weeks of speculation, theorizing, and connecting lines of string to different documents on a corkboard, the VALORANT and League of Legends communities can sleep soundly. Riot Games confirmed earlier today that Neon and Zeri, the two newest characters released for the two games, are not the same person. 

“We’ve seen your fan theories and side-by-side comparisons of Neon and Zeri, League’s newest champ,” Riot said in a developer update earlier today. “And to officially set the record straight: No, they’re not the same characters, no they’re not related, but they were made in tandem by the League and VALORANT teams.”

Theories surrounding the relationship between Zeri and Neon were hard to ignore since their similarities in appearance, electricity-focused gameplay kits, and sharing of the same voice actress made it easy for fans of both games to draw conclusions. But Riot has explicitly said that the two characters are separate entities and their releases are to be treated as separate events across two different games. 

Riot also gave insights into the development of Neon and Zeri, and how both the League and VALORANT development teams worked together to create a pair of characters that could be linked together. 

VALORANT developer John Goscicki and League developer Ryan Mireles—who lead the character design teams for their respective games—worked together throughout 2021, citing the launch of Riot’s new animated series, Arcane, as the catalyst of inspiration behind Zeri and Neon’s creation. 

“In League we have diversity goals in terms of role, region, gender, and playstyle,” Mireles said. “VALORANT has most of these as well—but they’re very different from what we do in League. So we needed to make sure we found a space that was good for both of our games, and was exciting for players.”

Neon is currently live in VALORANT, while Zeri is set to be released in League on Jan. 20.


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