Last year at the League of Legends World Championship in Incheon, the biggest moment of the event was perhaps not the competition itself: it was a virtual K-pop group called K / DA that performed an AR concert during the opening ceremony. The song from the group became a hit and inspired a flood of memes and fan art, and players could even dress up like the members in the game. Now developer Riot follows up with another musical act in the game: a hip hop group called True Damage. The studio even worked with Louis Vuitton on some of the unlockable skin designs.
True Damage is a group consisting of five League heroes, including Qiyana, Akali, Ekko, Yasuo and the recently added Senna, and from November 10, players can purchase their new appearance as in-game skins; the virtual group will appear on the same day during the opening ceremony of Worlds 2019. The IRL version of the band will consist of artists Becky G, Keke Palmer, Soyeon, Duckwrth and Thutmose.
According to Carlos Giffoni, lead producer for skins at Riot, the success of K / DA has largely inspired the new project. "Shortly thereafter we started with True Damage," he explains. "It took a while to figure out what we are doing, what the story behind it is." There is even a narrative element that binds the two events together. In the tradition, Akali, a member of K / DA, goes looking for new employees who ultimately form True Damage. "We wanted a group of people who felt really eclectic, and who felt that they really had unique roles to bring in," Giffoni says about the process of finding the right characters for the group.
Last month, Riot revealed that it was collaborating with the famous fashion house Louis Vuitton, and that partnership will tie in with the True Damage project. Both Qiyana and Senna will feature "prestige" skins designed by LV artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière. (You can see the Qiyana's above, while Senna's are available early next year.) And you don't have to pay Louis Vuitton prizes to unlock them; The LV skin of Qiyana is only available by playing an in-game event from Worlds 2019.
"It started more as a question," says Riot art director Seth Haak about the collaboration. "Can we do this?" Would it make sense? We wanted to feel it first, I think on both sides. & # 39; Louis Vuitton came on board after the True Damage project had already been set up and Haak traveled to Paris to pitch the concept. "It was pretty creepy how they were with us on the same page," he says. A week after that meeting, LV designers came back with some ideas and Haak says that they fit almost perfectly into the visual aesthetic of the project. "We didn't actually have to change any of the designs except some color so that it would play well with gameplay," he says.
Have hip hop and high fashion fit into a game such as League of Legends was not an easy task. It meant identifying current design trends, but also adapting them so that they do not look out of place in a universe of talking cats and time-traveling assassins. "Attracting champions in the game alone doesn't always work very well," says Haak. “Much of it must feel lived. So if a person carries a sword or a weapon or a personal object, it must feel like he has it. It is precious to them. Just like you would see a producer in a music studio with stickers on their things, because it's theirs. "
True Damage is also symbolic of a change at Riot. In the past, the developer would come up with new skins and cosmetic updates and then make a story to fit them into the universe. With projects like this it's the other way around. That is part of the reason why the character Akali is the common thread between K / DA and True Damage. "In the past we just did visuals, threw them away and created a story to belong," says Haak. "And we have seen how painful that has been. So over the years we have realized that the story really sets the tone and sets a goal for us as a team."