Riot and Arcane build worlds and emotional connections with Runeterra

Riot are looking to capitalize on the success of their hit Netflix series, Arcane, by releasing a 5-part documentary on its making. Riot made the announcement that the documentary will be called ‘Bridging the Rift’. Fans can catch the episodes on YouTube, starting Thursday, 4 August, 2022, 4 pm. They include a ton of behind-the scenes footage. The show also shows the process and creative input going into creating Riot’s ever expanding lore and world.

Arcane, a lore building spinoff of the popular League of Legends game, was a surprise hit. It’s always helpful when a show has some source material to work off of with an existing fan base, but the biggest surprise was how many new viewers seemed to enjoy the show. Social media was full of Arcane fan art following the show’s release.

The show follows the stories of sisters, Vi and Jinx, who are brought up in this utopian society with a seedy underbelly. The show mixes a steampunk aesthetic with some elements of modern fantasy. Like the best works of fantasy, Arcane gives the impression of a world that once existed as opposed to an alternate world because of its very human characters and the dynamics shared between them.

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Riot’s world building to the absolute limit

The show has been praised for its world building — working as an origin story for the city of Piltover – and also for its thrilling action sequences and choice of music. Most of the background music includes modern pop, rock and hip-hop tracks, including an opening credits track by Imagine Dragons, which at first might seem like an odd choice but seems to seamlessly fit with the energy that the show displays.

Video game adaptations with far more concrete sources for adaptation haven’t always worked in others mediums but Arcane seems to be changing that and has also made a case for animation as the best way of channeling the infinite possibilities for storytelling that a video game inherently enables. Netlfix’s Castlevania has been praised for much the same. Some of the praise should also be spared for the voice actors — Hailee Stanfield and Ella Purnell, who play Vi and Jinx, in particular were excellent.

It was the number 1 show on Netlfix for three weeks and made the top 10 in 52 countries. Some of this wasn’t a surprise considering League of Legends’ international audience but it’s still quite rare to see video game adaptations, never mind animated shows, have such a large viewership. Netflix should also take some credit for going through with the project. It wasn’t just a hit with the masses, however. The show won nine Annie awards and has been nominated for the prestigious Emmy awards that will be taking place later this year. It’s got a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 9.1/10 on the site. Fans are now eagerly awaiting a second season that has been in production for a while and is scheduled for a post-2022 release.

Most importantly, the show is preparing narratives and building fandom for the world of Runeterra and the places League of Legends characters visit and come from. It all ties nicely into Riot’s overall strategy in developing an MMO game that will live inside this world. By building backstory and personal stories for many side characters and locations, they are creating bonds with viewers way earlier in the product pipeline.