‘League of Legends’, the multiplayer battle arena game, is celebrating its ten-year anniversary. USC roommates Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck created the game under their indie label Riot Games, and it now boasts over 100 million monthly players and generated $1.4 billion last year. To celebrate a decade of success, Riot Games is rolling out a variety of new enhancements and projects. Among them, is an animated series called ‘Arcane’, which Riot developed internally, with Paris-based Fortiche Productions, which had previously crafted the “Champion” intro videos in the game.
The ‘Arcane’ team included a “traditional Hollywood writers room” including some screenwriters who have worked on “major” TV shows. Riot’s global head of IP businesses and partnerships Jarred Kennedy said, “By independently financing the show, it gave us the creative oversight that we needed.”
The team at Riot Games spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about their plans for this 10-year anniversary. Discussing ‘Arcane’, Beck stated:
“Ten years is a long time. We certainly didn’t imagine what 10 years would look like when we were a small startup racing to get a game out as fast as we could… Arcane is one of these big, exciting endeavors for us. Originally, League started off with a bunch of characters and we threw them together really quickly. Over time, players became really attached to the characters and we wanted to build more of a universe around them… We have been, over the last few years, experimenting with what can longer-form epic storytelling look like. Animation felt like a natural way for us to deliver a fantastical world.”
Like ‘League of Legends’ itself, ‘Arcane’ is not all-ages, but “14+.” Head of creative development at Riot, Greg Street said:
“It’s not a light-hearted show. There are some serious themes that we explore there, so we wouldn’t want kids tuning in and expecting something that it’s not.”
Riot Games hasn’t announced how ‘Arcane’ will be distributed, but Kennedy expects those discussions to begin in the “coming weeks.”
Kennedy hopes the show will reach a new audience:
“Our hope is that people will watch the show, enjoy it and want to explore the world of League of Legends more. Over time, there will be lots of ways for them to do that.”
At ten-years, ‘League of Legend’ is a massive success, but Street says that the creators want to expand even further:
“We started this world with a game, the game exceeded our expectations and our players said they wanted to see more of this world. We really look to IPs like the Marvel Universe, but also things like Star Wars and Harry Potter. Obviously, we have years to go before we attain that level of success, but that’s what we aspire to be one day.”
Do you play ‘League of Legends’? Are you excited that a cartoon adaptation is on its way?