The developers of League of Legends have lamented a new trailer so bad it convinced some community members that the game was dying.
In a message on Twitter last night, Riot Games addressed the backlash to this year’s new season movie. Every year, as LoL’s competitive mode gets its annual reboot, Riot traditionally releases a trailer that puts the characters front and center. My personal favorite is “Awaken” from 2019:
This year the video is The Brink of Infinity. Unlike the battle scenes that have dominated the New Year’s movie in recent years, this year’s effort is a realistic take on League of Legends’ map, Summoner’s Rift, with a voiceover from a child understood to be the in-game character Pantheon.
Unlike previous years, the video is rather unimpressive, with players on Reddit (opens in a new tab) describing it as an Unreal Engine demo rather than a creative take from one of the biggest games in the world. But beyond these individual complaints, some have highlighted broader concerns.
League of Legends had a pretty weak year in 2022. Its traditional roster expansion dropped from six champions to five, with only one major overhaul of an existing character. Preseason – often a period of significant change – was muted, with one of the biggest “new” features returning to a neutral monster that had to be cut from the game last year. After Arcane in 2021, we have had no follow-up, and many players have noticed that the flow of game stories and storytelling has dried up significantly.
All of this is set against the backdrop of comments from Nicolo Laurent, CEO of developer Riot Games, who announced that the company’s 2023 budget is the largest it has ever been. That might be good news for just League of Legends fans, but for the sheer breadth of content the company is currently working on. Not long ago, Riot only produced League of Legends, but it now makes several other ongoing games; Valorant, Wild Rift, Legends of Runeterra and Teamfight Tactics all have dedicated teams behind them. It’s also making an MMO and a fighting game, developing a second series with Arcane, publishing indie games through Riot Forge, and probably a lot more is happening behind the scenes – all while trying to overhaul several of its national and international esports scenes.
This activity combined with what appears to be a lack of content for the “bread and butter” title sent the community into what amounted to near total panic. On Reddit, someone joked about ways Riot could fill the apparent hole in the budget, while others asked whether it was time to worry that the game was approaching the sunset period. Necrit, a YouTuber so famous for his breakdown of the game’s history that he was actually immortalized in the LoL universe, posted a video in response to Brink of Infinity titled “League is ACTUALLY Dying.”
the whole league scene is up in flames even necrit has lost faith the silence from the riot is defeating pray to god they say something soon10 January 2023
Riot took note and published a thread that was almost unprecedented in its openness. While the company is relatively vocal about upcoming features, I don’t recall seeing such direct communication about a community upheaval. The developer told fans that “unique circumstances” led to an “alternative approach” for the Season 2023 video and acknowledged that Brink of Infinity “has led to further speculation about our investment in League.”
Honestly, we should have been more communicative, which might have helped with some of that feeling and speculation. We believe League has a bright future and we’re investing in it, but we can do a better job of sharing those plans with you.10 January 2023
The thread goes on to say “we should have been more communicative, which might have helped with some of that sentiment and speculation. We believe League has a bright future and we’re investing in it.” More details on that investment are said to be coming “in the next couple of days.”
It will be interesting to see how Riot tries to change the narrative. In reality, League of Legends itself seems to me to be in pretty good shape, especially for a game approaching its 14th anniversary in 2023. Less new content isn’t great news, but the impact of the pandemic on production schedules is still being felt. , with the huge number of AAA games coming out this year, indicating the logjam we’ve seen elsewhere in the industry in recent years. League of Legends isn’t dying, but it’s clear Riot has some work to do to convince fans it’s still kicking.
A former League of Legends pro names his son after the character that made him a world champion.