Woman says League of Legends character Seraphine is based on her, Riot denies it

A girl named Stephanie has alleged that a new League of Legends persona with a equivalent look and identify, Seraphine, is in response to her. On the crux of her allegation is a temporary dating she had with a Rebellion worker in 2019, an worker who she believes borrowed main points from her likeness and lifestyles for the fictitious KD/A pop big name.

Rebellion denies the allegation. “Seraphine used to be independently created via Rebellion Video games and used to be now not in response to someone,” wrote the corporate in a commentary emailed to PC Gamer. “Moreover, the previous worker [Stephanie] is regarding left Rebellion greater than a 12 months in the past and used to be in a division and function that has no enter in any respect into the inventive design procedure.”

(Word: We have now left out Stephanie’s complete identify on the request of each her and Rebellion.)

In a Medium post published today, Stephanie shares a screenshot of text messages and recounts moments from a brief relationship with “John,” a name she uses to obscure the identity of the former Riot employee. Stephanie says that she and John met in person twice, and otherwise chatted and played League of Legends over the course of three months in 2019. During that brief relationship, John allegedly brought up ideas for skins for her favorite League of Legends character, Ahri, that were based on her. When she visited him for a tour of Riot’s headquarters in Los Angeles, he also gave her artwork by Riot illustrators depicting her as Ahri, which she thought was “strange” given how briefly they’d known each other. Additionally, she says that John implied that he could influence the KD/A project.

Shortly after Stephanie’s visit to Riot HQ, she cancelled future plans to see John and expressed to him that he was moving too fast. At that point, “he ended things and blocked me,” she writes.

When September of this year came around, Stephanie was reminded of something John had said in 2019: That a K/DA surprise would be revealed on her birthday. On that day, an illustration of Seraphine was posted to the character’s Twitter account to announce that she used to be “running” with KD/A (Rebellion posts on behalf of a few of its characters as though they are actual folks). All of it gave the impression to Stephanie like greater than a twist of fate. 

The pink-haired persona seems very similar to Stephanie, and poses with a cat in illustrations which might be moderately like Stephanie’s footage along with her cat, which she says she despatched John in 2019. Stephanie additionally notes that the nature’s drawings glance very similar to her personal art work, and that the nature comes from Piltover and Zaun, areas in League of Legends lore that she wrote an essay about—an essay she shared with John, and that she says he published out and framed in Rebellion’s place of job.

A text conversation between Stephanie and "John" in which she tells him it's a bad idea to make a skin based on her.

On this textual content trade, Stephanie tells “John” that making an Ahri pores and skin in response to her is not a good suggestion. (Symbol credit score: Stephanie)

From her commentary, it is transparent that Stephanie has now not loved any a part of Seraphine’s resemblance to her. “I have felt in reality grossed-out about it, to the purpose that I will be able to’t play one in every of my favourite videogames,” she wrote. “But even so that, it is been roughly horrid to have a League champion who looks as if you, has such a lot of of your traits, and has a NAME that is nearly just like yours. Other people I have by no means met ship her to me on-line and indicate the similarities, there’s already immense quantities of porn of her, I see folks arguing about her near-daily.” 

One problem to Stephanie’s allegation is that a Rebellion worker too can make a reputable declare to being inspiration for Seraphine. On October 29, Rebellion senior clothier Jeevun Sidhu tweeted that his spouse, a Rebellion worker who is going via Rebellion Whiskies on-line, impressed Seraphine’s persona. Whiskies, whose hair could also be dyed purple, posted a photo of herself cosplaying as Seraphine on September 28. Stephanie has acknowledged the tweets, announcing that she does not consider Seraphine is handiest in response to her. She additionally identified that the declare that Seraphine is in response to any person else is contradictory, as a result of Rebellion claims that Seraphine “used to be now not in response to someone.”

Nonetheless, the tweets do look like a hard hurdle for Stephanie’s case, as does Rebellion’s declare that the worker in query hasn’t labored on the corporate for over a 12 months and not had affect over persona design. As for what criminal attitude she may just pursue, Michigan State College regulation professor Brian Kalt mentioned in an electronic mail to PC Gamer that the case would most likely contain “the tort of proper of exposure, often referred to as appropriation of likeness,” which “protects your identify or likeness from unwarranted intrusion or exploitation.”

(Symbol credit score: Stephanie/Rebellion Video games)

This complete state of affairs has been in reality violating.

There are a couple of tactics to construct a case in response to the tort. A star, for example, may argue that Rebellion is exploiting their “popularity, status, social or industrial status” for exposure with out their permission. Whilst Stephanie does indicate that Rebellion is probably earning money from her likeness (“simply differently a large videogame corporate has screwed over a lady and not using a 2d concept”), she isn’t well-known, and the focal point of her grievance is on privateness. “This complete state of affairs has been in reality violating,” she writes.

“She may have a case for that,” says Kalt. “It isn’t transparent to me what her damages are, regardless that. She’s dissatisfied, however what number of greenbacks is that price?” In his view, the location “doesn’t sound like a ‘million greenbacks price of emotional misery’ form of case.”

No matter occurs within the criminal area, if it is going there, it is simple to grasp why Stephanie believes that Seraphine is a minimum of in part in response to her. In keeping with her account of occasions, the Rebellion worker she dated hinted that he may just put facets of her into the sport as an (excessive and undesirable) romantic gesture, after which, a 12 months later, Rebellion did unlock a personality with a equivalent identify, glasses, hair, and face form to her. Seraphine in reality does appear to be Stephanie past simply the selection of hair colour.

However there is additionally the risk that it is natural twist of fate. If the resemblance is intentional, it kind of feels very arduous to end up except any person, equivalent to the previous Rebellion worker who used to be allegedly accountable, confirms that Stephanie used to be the direct inspiration for Seraphine.

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