League of Legends keeps Akali’s old voiceover lines after player backlash

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Everyone agrees that Star Guardian Akali's voice lines were perfect. But the new voice lines to replace the old regular Akali VO faced tons of backlash from the LoL community. (Photo: Riot Games)
Everyone agrees that Star Guardian Akali's voice lines were perfect. But the new voice lines to replace the regular Akali VO faced tons of backlash from the LoL community. (Photo: Riot Games)

Riot Games, the developer behind League of Legends (LoL), is keeping the old voiceover lines for the champion Akali after they received backlash for attempting to change it in the Public Beta Environment (PBE) for the upcoming 12.14 patch.

The new voiceover surprised many players in the 12.14 PBE, as many expected new lines for Akali’s Star Guardian but not for the rest of her skins.

Popular voice actress Ashly Burch, who was the voice of Viper in VALORANT, Tiny Tina in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, and Aloy of Horizon Zero Dawn/Forbidden West, was commissioned to be the voice of Akali for the Star Guardian skin.

However, Riot also took the opportunity to redo the original voicelines for Akali, first done by Krizia Bajos.

This was met with much criticism from the players, who loved the original voiceover, describing the PBE lines as “currently not fit for Akali.”

While the consensus of most players is that Burch did a great job with Star Guardian Akali, many agree that the new Akali lines needed a bit more direction and guidance.

The original voiceover had a low, cool, and raspy tone. Krizia read Akali’s lines at a slower, deliberate pace.

On the other hand, Ashly’s rendition of Akali is the opposite: bright, rounded tones that make the assassin’s lines sound more heroic.

LoL Champions product manager Lexi “NeoLexical” Gao responded to some comments on a Reddit thread comparing the two Akali voiceovers by saying the new voiceover "takes time to get used to".

“Generally, change takes time to get used to, and it will take time for those who love the change to voice out their opinions. It’s very common to reject change,” said NeoLexical.

NeoLexical added that Ashly had done great work as Akali in the Tales of Runeterra video, but acknowledged that the base VO and the distinct things like Akali’s laugh “have its own appeal”.

She then said that the team intended to keep Akali along the “Chaotic good” alignment along with Shen and Zed and that the new VO introduced in the PBE did make the champion sound more heroic than intended, losing the "chaotic/anti-hero elements".

Neolexical then requested player feedback on the thread, intending to do one of two things: either keep Ashly’s Akali lines and hope everyone takes “more time to appreciate as changes takes time to settle in”, or “revert to the old Vos and wait for a more suited time".

Players continued to give their opinion in the thread, saying that the new lines were pretty "loud and boomy" for Akali’s backstory and personality, having been raised in Ionia as a ninja who’s seen a lot of war, death, and tragedy under the age of 20.

Some, like Reddit user "Lyxenn", noted that almost all ninjas in the game have low, whispering tones and that the new lines give off a "chipper, well off a city-type girl in a dubbed anime" vibe, which is perfect for Star Guardian Akali, who was a high school student in Valoran city.

Others concur that Ashly is generally a great VA, giving personality to Viper and Aloy. But according to Reddit users like "brody319", she should lean more into "ruthless killer than the heroic saviour".

Yet other players agreed that Akali eventually needs to move to a more developed role, but that the tone was out of place, kind of like giving Illaoi a voice like Lux or Aatrox getting Ezreal’s voice.

Still, some, like user "FruitfulRogue", asked Riot to “leave Akali’s old VO alone and "let good things STAY good".

It looks like the devs have chosen the latter.

As of writing, Akali’s new VO lines have been replaced with the original in the PBE, right before 12.14’s release, and this means that Akali fans can breathe a little sigh of relief.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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