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The fine folks at Riot Games have created an unparalleled game and entertainment empire with their League of Legends world, and we jump at the chance every time we get an opportunity to play in that lore. As the world of League expands they introduce new characters players can embody in-game with exciting character reveal trailers.

For the release of Naafiri, their latest playable champion, the League of Legends team had some exciting narrative and styling concepts up their sleeve. They invited us to help build upon their amazing vision and craft with a 2-minute animation that would capture a unique vision for this equally unique champion. This was unlike anything we had explored before and was the perfect opportunity to get weird and wild.


Naafiri is the latest Champion to be introduced into the League of Legends game. As playable champions go, she also has a pretty unique backstory. Unlike most of us mere mortals who inhabit one body, she inhabits several. Our story starts with and introduction to Naafiri, a Darkin imprisoned within a dagger, though she is set free once she is consumed by a pack of vicious Dune Hounds… or does she consume them? Thus begins the story of Naafiri’s transformation and the crux of our animated spot.

The trailer is broken down into 4 distinct acts, each serving as story beat and major transformative moment throughout the piece. Within the acts, the audience catches brief flashes of visceral moments that hint at the many lives Naafiri has lived, as well as the lives of those she has inhabited. Imagining how her mind would look as it was splitting allowed us to dive into a realm of surrealism we had never attempted before.


Story is nothing without a way to tell it. Considering Naafiri’s multi-faceted origins and transformation, it was important to us to utilize every method in our animation arsenal. 3D, cell, 2.5D, and even machine learning were used to give life to Naafiri’s story, and each chapter was spearheaded by a different artist to ensure a unique look and feeling. From 3D animation with hand painted illustrative textures to give a grounded feel in the intro, to a “storybook” 2.5D style in the battlefields of her memory. Generative frame analysis tools aided the artists during the more frenetic and surreal moments where Naafiri’s mind is splitting, allowing shots to smear and combine together to better visualize her distorted state of mind and perception all while letting new tech give its own interpretation of our illustrated reality.


Exploring the idea of Naafiri’s mind splitting into many mortal forms is both abstract and terribly exciting. Visualizing how this would come to life was a deep dive not only into Naafiri’s history, but into the process of one self becoming several as well. The physical torment and the visceral mental transformation combined to create a look unlike anything we’ve created before.

On top of the narrative concept, we wanted to pair the story with a unique animation style that not only took inspiration from manga and graphic novels, but pushed each of the main moments in the spot into their own unique visual style. As Naafiri transforms, so too does the visual representation of her journey.


At the end of the day, the most important audience is the Riot fanbase. How would they receive all of our work? 1.7 million views in the first 24 hours speaks for itself, with many lauding the reveal as the best champion reveal they’ve seen in years. All of the details in the design and story beats paid off as fans dug deep to uncover every easter egg we had hidden. As fans of League ourselves, it’s great to contribute to a world on this level and continue our collaboration with the talented League of Legends team at Riot Games.