Oh Right, and a Cartoon: Riot Unveils League Animated Series ‘Arcane’

To close out its 10th anniversary celebration stream, Riot tonight debuted the below trailer for Arcane, an upcoming animated series set in the League of Legends universe. Very little is known about the show as of yet, aside from what’s obvious from the trailer of course, which is that the art direction, colors, and lighting in Arcane seem jaw-on-the-floor gorgeous. (The facial animations look a little Dreamworks-y, but whatever.)

A word of caution, however, before you watch: If you’re not fully versed in League‘s extensive back catalogue of promotional shorts and animated music videos, you might mistake all of the footage in this trailer for footage of the new series. Friend, this is not the case! Until the 50 second mark, this video is actually a highlights reel of previous League cinematics. I guess Riot figured that the right people would know the difference, and everybody else could just get a hugely incorrect perception if the show? And while League‘s animation department is clearly worthy of celebration on the game’s 10th anniversary, maybe this is genuinely misrepresentative to the layperson?

This is also why the trailer says “FROM THE CREATORS OF,” but then doesn’t finish the sentence — Arcane is from the creators of these old clips, and you’re supposed to know that these clips are old clips, not new clips of the new thing that you clicked on the trailer for and expected to see footage of, you absolute gumball machine!


Anyway, Arcane appears to be an in-house operation from stem to stern, based on all currently available data. That’s how Riot handles pretty much everything, but it’s interesting to see a game developer tackle a project like this itself, rather than delegating its license to an established company in the applicable field. Blizzard, for instance, tasked Legendary Pictures with making its 2016 semi-live action Warcraft movie, rather than handing the reigns to its own, industry-renowned cinematics department.

Riot hasn’t said when we can expect to watch Arcane in 2020, who is starring in the series, how long the series might be, or even how people might watch it when it does finally come out. Debuting on a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu doesn’t really seem like Riot’s style, so Arcane may just end up on the official League of Legends YouTube channel with the rest of League‘s animated shorts. You’ll probably be able to watch it in the League of Legends launcher too, but like, why do that? Why would anyone do that?

We do know, at the very least, that de facto League mascot Jinx factors into the new series somehow, since she walks out of the shadows at the end of the trailer — a reveal that means nothing to anyone who saw Jinx surfing a bomb at the beginning of the video and assumed that they were seeing footage of the new series.

I’m going to bed!!

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Jordan Mallory

Jordan Mallory is a 10-year games industry veteran with more heart than sense. Lover of frogs and dedicated Girls' Generation S♥NE. Mr. August, Men of Game Development 2015.

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