'I belong here': Writer reveals the origin behind 'Valorant' Agent Neon, 'LoL' Zeri's voice lines

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  • Michael Luo

Narrative writer Michael Luo revealed that Zeri from “League of Legends” and Agent Neon from “Valorant” were inspired by an anti-Asian attack experienced by an elderly Filipino woman in New York.

Luo shared the reason why both characters from the multiplayer games say the phrase, “I belong here. We all belong here,” in a tweet on Jan. 10.

He shared photos of the two characters and a screenshot of the New York Times article titled, “Brutal Attack on Filipino Woman Sparks Outrage: ‘Everybody Is on Edge.’” The article covers a story in which a 65-year-old Filipino woman, Vilma Kari, was assaulted near Times Square in New York while her attacker, Brandon Elliot, yelled, “You don’t belong here.”

“Back in March 2021, I read this article,” Luo tweeted. “It’s the reason Neon and Zeri say ‘I belong here. We all belong here.’ A reminder. #StopAsianHate.”

Riot Games’ multiplayer game “Valorant” recently revealed their first Filipino character, Agent Neon, who has electricity-based powers and incredible speed. The company’s other multiplayer online battle arena game “League of Legends” also unveiled their newest champion, Zeri, with a trailer uploaded on Jan. 6, 2022.

The trailer features Zeri defeating a group of men in the fictional undercity district Zaun with her electric magic. She also appears to have the ability to dash over walls and move with exceptional speed.

“A headstrong, spirited young woman from Zaun’s working-class, Zeri channels her electric magic to charge herself and her custom-crafted gun,” reads Zeri’s short biography on the Riot Games website. “Her volatile power mirrors her emotions, its sparks reflecting her lightning-fast approach to life. Deeply compassionate toward others, Zeri carries the love of her family and her home into every fight. Though her eagerness to help can sometimes backfire, Zeri believes one truth to be certain: stand up for your community, and it will stand up with you.”

Filipino voice actress Vanille Velasquez, who voices both Neon and Zeri, took to Twitter on Jan. 6 to say, “I am ecstatic to announce that I am also the voice of the newest League of Legends champion, Zeri!”

“Thank you so so much, Riot,” she added. “To voice in just one of your games is already a huge honor. To be in two is absolutely amazing. I cannot be more grateful.”

While Agent Neon will be joining Valorant’s update on Episode 4: Disruption tomorrow, Zeri will make her appearance on Summoner’s Rift with the “League of Legends” patch 12.2 launch on Jan. 20, according to Dexerto.

Featured Images via League of Legends (left), VALORANT (right)

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