League of Legends reboots lore in face of “creative stagnation”

By Matt Martin, Friday, 5 September 2014 09:30 GMT

Riot is rebooting the story and narrative behind online phenomenon League of Legends

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In a blog post on the official site, the team responsible for narrative in the game said it’s a move similar to content tweaks and balancing – Riot wants to keep the storyline as fresh as the gameplay.

“In the early days of League, we created a fictional background that would justify how players could control champions during games,” writes Tommy Gnox. “We came up with concepts like Summoners, Fields of Justice, an Institute of War, and indeed, the League of Legends itself – all in an attempt to provide fictional context for in-game action.

“After a while, these early choices began to create unexpected problems. Every new champion needed a reason to join and remain in the League, and as their number grew, the net result was that over time the world started to feel, well, small, and eventually less interesting.

“The institutions we’d designed fostered creative stagnation, limiting the ways that champions, factions and Runeterra itself could grow and change. Furthermore, the very idea of all-powerful Summoners made Champions little more than puppets manipulated by godlike powers. The background we’d created to explain in-game action was ultimately restricting the potential narrative development of the game’s defining characters.

Gnox said the team has heard the League community ask for an update to the games narrative, and so has decided to expand beyond just reasoning for character actions.

“Essentially, it means that the game and story aren’t one-to-one copies of each other. League as a game is about creating awesome gameplay, while League as a story is about creating deep, vibrant characters and factions inhabiting an expansive world. We don’t want to limit story because of gameplay, just like we wouldn’t limit gameplay because of story – we want both of them (and all the other elements of League) to have the freedom to be as great as they possibly can be,” added Gnox.

The team will update the community with narrative changes going forward in the same way it does with gameplay, said Gnox.

One of the principles we’d love to discuss further is our focus on ensuring that champion identities remain consistent regardless of where you encounter them; for example, Darius should always feel the same regardless of whether he’s administering an axe in a story piece, the game, or a cinematic. Exploring champions’ backstories and motivations beyond what you see in the game doesn’t mean they’ll suddenly start feeling like different characters; what it does do is offer a huge spectrum of options for fleshing out personalities and deepening connections

If you have the slightest interest in League of Legends, the full blog post is a good read.

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