That's not even true. I'd argue it's quite the opposite. If we were cheap, we could just pick up joe-schmoe's art outsource emporium and have them make us a bunch of mediocre quality skins and call it a day.
Finding somebody who's awesome at their craft and an awesome person who fits our culture makes it tricky. We have a lot of top talent walk in our doors and not get offered a job. Holding on to people once we get them is easy. We don't place on the top of "best companies to work for" charts for nothing. We have so much top industry talent here who could submit their resume anywhere in the industry and get a job if they wanted, but choose to stay with Riot. RiotBamDragon? He's been in the industry since the 90s working on very well known things (Goldeneye). Talking with him before getting hired was what made me 100% sure I was making the right choice. If this dude calls Riot home after working at countless studios and then spends a lot of nights a week playing community games on his own time, there's got to be something great about the company.
When you hear those rumors of "Rito forces employees to work 12 hour days" the only truth in that is people working 12 hours, Riot forces nothing (we do ask you do 8 a day though)...some employees
to work 12 hour days to finish stuff faster because they love what they do and want to get their content out to the players one patch sooner. I frequently work 9-10 hour days spending my lunch and dinner playing a round or browsing the forums because I absolutely love my job and the game. I don't
to do this, I can easily just say "hey the scope is too high on this, I can't go forward with this extra stuff" and go home a few hours earlier or I can just bust my ass and make a skin just a little bit cooler for no extra cost on the player's end (ex. I didn't
to give Mecha Malph a new run cycle, or spend my morning before work writing this post)
The reason Riot is such a large company and still manages to be stretched for resources at times is that in the last few years we've decided that outsourcing almost all of our stuff doesn't produce consistent top quality results. Other companies dedicate much smaller teams to their games, this is because they outsource a majority of their art assets. Nothing wrong with that at all, we still do outsource some things, but there are hassles that come with it that we decided we didn't want to deal with all the time. Because Riot isn't actually cheap, we now have things like a 30+ man skins team full of 100% skins dedicated concept artists, modelers, texture artists, animators, tech artists, producers and QA. I'm sure you've noticed the spike in quality even from last year, that's a direct result of this.
And this is all perspective from me on the art side of the company (and skins team specifically) as a fairly new employee. I don't actually know what it's like in finance, legal, or even programming. They might feel differently and I might feel differently in a few years. Riot certainly isn't
lollipops and rainbows, but the stress and hassles I've encountered are just what happens when you work in a team where everybody has equal say in a project. Luckily everybody is mature and reasonable so if somebody doesn't get their way they don't pout about it. We all know we're apart of something bigger than just ourselves and that it isn't about us and our personal wants for each project, it's about the players.
Riot will always feel stressed for resources because every time we hire somebody new, we put that much extra work into things. Our scope creep is faster than our team's growth due to our very strict and rigorous hiring process. The second we get more animators that would free up some of my time, is the second I start taking on even more challenges to fill that free time.
The sivir piece as stated before is purposely pushed to the extreme for the action shot. As an animator, that to me is a beautiful pose, one of the best in all of our splashes. If they drew her in that pose "realistically" it'd be boring and static.