Riot Games wants to create a League of Legends cinematic universe, but they’ll settle right now for TV. The developer behind the wildly popular video game League of Legends is celebrating the franchise’s 10th anniversary with a foray into a medium they’ve never explored before: television. Specifically, animated television. Riot Games is developing a League of Legends animated series based in the LoL universe called Arcane, which will be the first scripted on-screen project from the company.
In a profile with The Hollywood Reporter, Riot Games revealed a few of the projects in the works in honor of the League of Legends 10th anniversary, one of which is its very first animated series. Titled Arcane, the series is aimed at a “14+” audience (like the game!) and will deal with more “adult subject matter.”
“It’s not a light-hearted show,” Greg Street, head of creative development at Riot, told THR. “There are some serious themes that we explore there, so we wouldn’t want kids tuning in and expecting something that it’s not.”
Arcane will be developed internally by Riot and animated by Paris-based Fortiche Productions, which has animated League of Legends character reveal trailers in the past. Riot has already assembled a creative team in L.A. to operate as a “traditional Hollywood writers room,” according to Riot’s global head of IP businesses and partnerships Jarred Kennedy. It features writers who have worked on “major” television shows, Kennedy said. “By independently financing the show, it gave us the creative oversight that we needed,” he added.
Street hopes that Arcane will be the start of a League of Legends multimedia universe, akin to Marvel or Harry Potter. “We started this world with a game, the game exceeded our expectations and our players said they wanted to see more of this world,” said Street. “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.”
League of Legends was launched in 2009 as a multiplayer online battle arena video game and quickly grew into one of the world’s most profitable game franchises. It has more than 100 million active monthly players, two professional esports leagues, multiple yearly competitive tournaments, and now it wants to expand into Hollywood. While Riot hasn’t yet had discussions for distribution of Arcane yet, Kennedy said he plans to begin in the “coming weeks.”
Arcane is slated to debut sometime in 2020.
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