You don’t have to be a fan, or even have any prior knowledge of League of Legends to appreciate the latest creation from Riot Games.
Yesterday, Riot – the studio responsible for one of the most popular, globally played multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games – released a new cinematic featuring one of the franchise’s oldest champions – Ryze, the Rune Mage.
Entitled Ryze: Call of Power, the five-and-a-half minute cinematic showcases Ryze’s adventures across Runeterra as he searches for and gathers World Rune fragments. While the video primarily features Ryze in various parts of Runeterra – such as Bilgewater, Shurima, Demacia, Freljord, and the Void – he is accompanied by several other characters that League of Legends fans are sure to recognize. Miss Fortune, Nasus, and Sona come to Ryze’s aid during his various battles, which includes the likes of Trundle and Vel'Koz.
Beyond the League of Legends lore, the cinematic itself is visually captivating. Vibrant colors, immersive environments, and flawless character design details really pull viewers into the world of Runeterra. Riot clearly has the know-how and talent for cinematic storytelling, so why not showcase that talent on the big screen?
For starters, as most gaming fans know, the track record for video game movies hasn’t been so great; a trend that Riot previously acknowledged in a 2017 Ask Riot Q&A session:
"We dream of films set in League’s universe and seeing our favorite champions come to life in movie theaters, but the track record on video game movies is a humbling lesson. For the most part, they aren’t great. And while the geek in us would love to rush into moviemaking, it’s definitely not something we should rush into.”
For any video game franchise, considerable care needs to be taken before making the move to theatres, or even as a made-for-Netflix movie. However, feature films utilizing CGI animation have seen more success than live-action adaptations. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Warcraft: The Beginning, and The Angry Birds Movie all hold positions in the list of top-25 highest-grossing video game movies, and that is only within the United States box office. Surprisingly, The Angry Birds Movie comes in at number two on that list. All three films also have above to above-mid-average Metacritic user scores.
League of Legends’ 2017 North American player base only contributed to 10.8% of the overall total, having been beaten out by Europe West, Korea, and Europe Nordic & East. Creating a film adaptation of the game for a global audience would need to be at the forefront of the creative process. However, if anyone can do it, Riot Games would likely be solid contender for doing so.