Visualizing A World for The Fans Who Live In It.
League of Legends has amassed a following of die hard fans and players worldwide since its creation in 2009. Riot has supported the MOBA with a constant stream of content, primarily through the drops of new champions just about (at least what seems like) every week. With every update, Riot has been adding to the lore that serves as the foundation of the many different factions within the game. From wizards wielding spell books, to little girls with deadly teddy
bears, to pirates wielding massive steampunk-infused weapons – the League of Legends world has deep pockets. And to Riot’s credit – everything makes sense, and has a place in the lore of the world they’ve created. For all the champions they’ve crafted over the years and the history Riot has written behind them, League of Legends has never had a de facto overworld map. Runeterra has been a place of fan fiction, with theories over where
countries were located relative to each other. But now, Riot has it all figured out. Working with a cartographer who studied the LoL’s rich lore, Riot has crafted not only an overworld map, but an interactive one that lets their fans explore the regions of the world they battle over. We were honored to partner with the internal team at Riot to craft a trailer teasing the release of Runeterra’s interactive map.
Each of the 7 locations we highlighted in the teaser’s narrative journey has a wealth of lore associated with it. It was up to us to craft a journey that made sense, connecting the locations together through the lore.
Attaching League’s Lore To The Narrative Journey Of The Teaser.
For as amazing as League of Legends is, and as well as it has done as a MOBA, none of the imagery of the lore is built in game. We had to pull reference from concept art, cinematic designs, and other material Riot has collected over the years. It was important for us to infuse these iconic pieces of League’s history into the tease to help fans connect what they’ve seen, with its location on Runeterra’s continents. But this couldn’t be a straight lift, we needed to shape the concept art to the style and design language of the old worn map we were creating in the teaser.
Through treatment, redrawing parts of the illustration to align with a sepia-toned execution, we merged assets from Riot’s archives into a journey through the topography of Runeterra. That journey was informed by the initial narrative development we worked through. How we linked each region was important, since there are factions warring with other factions within the lore of League, and we had to acknowledge how each region related to each other. Shurima is League’s equivalent to Egypt – where most ancient civilization began – and so, it started our journey.
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Runeterra is driven by various forms of magic, with some nations partaking, and some nations condemning. Our initial vision was to “burn” the map into existence through bright leaded edges of magical energy tied to specific regions that used it. Ultimately, it became too distracting to the map itself, and the idea was tempered to focus on what was important.
Knowing that social media was going to play a role in the teaser’s release, we took further steps to accommodate for different sizes of the final teaser. We built the animation in an adaptable way so we could reframe easily, crafting custom spots per platform without deviating from the core creative.
We’re excited to see how the fans of League of Legends, and the die hard E-Sports players, react to the drop of the interactive Runeterra map. It’s a fantastic narrative tool that Riot has built that finally fills in a part of League lore, effectively connecting the dots for millions of fans. Our hope is that the teaser builds some excitement for the release and lets fans see what they’ll have at their fingertips shortly.
We’re so very proud to have been involved with the launch, and so happy to have worked with Riot Games as they continue to develop the world of Runeterra.