When Riot Video games debuted its augmented reality-fueled Ok-pop group Ok/DA to the world again in 2018, League of Legends followers had been curious to say the least. For the reason that group’s debut tune Pop/Stars, the musical squad has been pretty quiet outdoors of some staggering observe releases, however now that their full EP is out? The world is theirs for the taking. However how does a not-so-non-fictional pop sensation take over the world past simply the League of Legends neighborhood? We spoke with Riot Video games to seek out out.
Talking with Riot Music Lead Toa Dunn and Inventive Director of LoL Advertising and marketing Patrick Morales, we discovered rather a lot in regards to the motivations behind taking over the music world on this style and the place the subsequent step ought to lead.
Riot Music Group creates music-driven experiences throughout quite a few areas within the Riot-verse, together with the video games themselves, leisure mediums outdoors of working titles, and within the esports scene. When speaking in regards to the highway main as much as Ok/DA’s success, Dunn tells us, “Over the previous few years, we have launched varied musicians from our music universe to our gamers. This contains every little thing from pop, Ok-pop, hip hop, and extra. Our groups have experimented with music and have explored alternative ways to convey music to life, our music collectives, and the person artists, in addition to our league of legends champions which were reimagined as modern-day musicians and performers. Our hope is to sooner or later have a thriving music universe that followers can work together and have interaction in distinctive methods. And for us, music is essential. All of that is in service of making lasting recollections and popular culture moments that resonate with gamers and followers alike.”
This inventive method to advertising noticed a novel success with Ok/DA, a hit that has skilled an enormous growth, leading to quite a few media accounts to additional the phantasm of actuality, in addition to a brand new EP that’s out there now. The not too long ago added Seraphine sung her manner into the sport and into the pop group, even having her personal social media presence in startling element.
Morales provides, “In some ways, Ok/DA represents the pure development of the place we noticed music headed as a inventive medium throughout the firm. For a lot of League’s existence, we have cultivated this virtually distinct musical identification within the ways in which we have supported the sport, from all of the musical themes for every champion to all of the cool world anthems that we’d put out for our gamers to energise every aggressive occasion 12 months over 12 months. However then we thought, what else might music do by way of actually satisfying our gamers and presumably stand by itself as a inventive expertise? So again in 2018, the groups behind the Riot Music Group and lead advertising got here collectively, fascinated by the methods during which we might do that as a manner convey the music expertise to life outdoors of the sport, which inevitably turned the founding pitch behind Ok/DA. Earlier than all of the skins, all of the music movies, and all the superb issues that we noticed come out that 12 months, we actually simply had one easy aim: create a real popular culture second that will invite the surface world into what League was all about.”
Following the debut of Pop/Stars as a single, the group went quiet. No new songs, no appearances…nothing. In 2020, that modified and a giant cause for that reappearance, in keeping with Riot Video games, was as a result of so many followers saved asking for extra music. The Pop/Stars tune additionally was an enormous hit within the VR sport Beat Saber, furthering curiosity for brand new content material.
Whereas the celebs of Ok/DA are rendered variations of actual in-game champions, the actions and inspiration behind the group could be very actual expertise. That being mentioned, the main target is on the characters themselves and making them really feel built-in into our each day lives. “As actual musicians, we needed gamers to have the ability to work together with them in the identical manner that they do with the type of expertise that you simply see in actual life via social media, one thing that we found particularly not too long ago via engagement occasions, like spirit Blossom Pageant, is that our gamers are at all times actually excited by the ways in which we allow them to work together with our champions,” Morales tells us. “So given the fact based mostly nature of each the music universe and Ok/DA, that is how we determined to do this this 12 months on this large multi month music launch marketing campaign protecting a breadth of various channels and ways.”
Seeing songs like Pop/Stars hit primary on music charts is thrilling, and was an enormous shock (and a welcome one) to followers all over the place. The League of Legends neighborhood is huge and it’s exhibiting no indicators of slowing down. Now that Riot Video games is incomes that ‘S’ in its identify with quite a few titles, lots of that are spinoffs from League itself, new eyes on the Riot microcosm means extra progress, extra curiosity, and extra causes to maintain pushing for higher content material.
Morales provides that whereas success was anticipated, the unbelievable magnetitude of it has been a wild trip. Ok/DA moved from being an progressive idea into an area the place this group turned an “surprising spokesperson” for League of Legends as an entire. “We have heard numerous tales about music followers who received into League due to Ok/DA in addition to these of League gamers who’ve found a wholly new style of music due to it,” says Dunn. “I feel the widespread thread that we noticed was that, you understand, there’s this distinctive connection that the music of League can foster and that is what we’re making an attempt to do extra of as we speak.”
The inspiration behind the music could be very a lot fueled by the champions themselves and the occasions surrounding them. Ok-pop is a big style of music with an extremely loyal fanbase, however the mix of musical stylings is past simply that area of interest. It is meant to be a celebration of those heroes, a option to humanize them in an effort to attach the neighborhood much more.
League is far more than simply the sport. It is esports, it is on-line play, it is particular occasions, it is a whole ecosystem constructed on neighborhood and the connection between Riot Video games and gamers. Ok/DA is one other bridge between the devs and the followers, making the tight-knit neighborhood even moreso whereas celebrating what introduced everybody collectively within the first place.
Dunn provides to that, saying: “It is actually about creating significant content material that delivers participant worth in new and thrilling methods outdoors of the core sport expertise.” With the brand new EP and extra content material deliberate within the years to return, the League of Legends neighborhood is getting a extremely desired breath of contemporary air.
The long run
With the brand new EP, the longer term is brighter than ever. With extra music, extra collaborations, and a repeatedly rising social media presence to lend to the realism, Ok/DA is simply getting began concerning what the group means to the League household.
Whereas cartoon-facing teams is not precisely the latest idea (suppose Gorillaz), having it’s utterly fictionalized is an progressive step. Taking that inventive advertising idea to the subsequent degree utilizing social media is wise — if not unnerving at instances when coping with real-life ideas like depresson and anxiousness — and utterly fleshed out. Talking with the 2 Riot Video games workforce members, I needed to understand how they’ve dealt with making this fictitious group extra human with real-life experiences and distinctive personas to this point. How did the workforce evolve this idea past simply the “pop” expertise?
“One of many issues that we actually needed to do that 12 months was discover methods for our gamers to attach with our champions, as a result of that degree of interplay was at all times one thing that we discovered is fairly profitable, based mostly off of expertise that we have offered,” responds Morales. “This 12 months, we needed to attempt one thing somewhat bit otherwise by truly giving them a voice via social media. And that serves two functions: The extent of interplay beforehand talked about, but additionally we needed to inform a story. League could be very a lot an IP wealthy in storytelling in a wide range of totally different mediums, and we felt that this 12 months could be a extremely attention-grabbing alternative to discover what that will appear to be if gamers might even have a hand in that storytelling.
“In the end, we checked out social media as an attention-grabbing platform for that, we needed to see the place this might doubtlessly lead. The latest champion’s story was one which we thought was actually attention-grabbing, we needed to understand how we might inform this type of origin of a rising star who actually received to find herself and discover a place amongst her idols. So by way of how we did that, we adopted an analogous thought course of to Ok/DA. That philosophy was that we by no means actually needed to stray too removed from the core truths of who these champions are. Lots of the weather that individuals love about Evelyn, n phrases of her being this type of excessive diva, are actually simply derived from her base traits as a champion inside League. She’s a demon that thrives off of consideration, and we needed to create lots of those self same inventive parallels with their Ok/DA personnas in a lot of the identical manner once we first heard that serophene was this musician who is de facto all about empathy at her core, we needed to create a narrative based mostly off of that and actually create a persona. Their core personalities created these personas and every social media profile is an extension off of that.”
It should be attention-grabbing to see how Ok/DA continues to evolve and its affect felt throughout the League of Legends neighborhood. Within the meantime, the brand new EP completely slaps and you may hearken to it for your self within the video beneath: