Its a new era for League of Legends, one that reworks some of the game’s oldest narrative concepts such as “summoners,” the “Institute of War,” and possibly the “League of Legends” itself.
Riot always has something brewing with its mega MOBA hit League of Legends, but its latest plans might surprise you. We already know about the huge graphical overhauls coming to the game’s primary map, Summoner’s Rift, and the steady stream of new champions released over the game’s five years. Now, though, Riot wants to redefine the lore that ties League’s 100-plus characters together, and some of the story’s oldest concepts are winding up on the cutting-room floor.
In a developer’s blog posted by Riot’s Tommy Gnox, the developer explains that, after much consideration, they decided the stories they wanted to tell with their characters were at odds with the mechanics of the game. This was “unacceptable, and in such situations we seek to aggressively reimagine content in a way that realizes its full potential,” Gnox wrote.
For those not as familiar with League’s original lore, the basic concept is that each of the game’s many “champions” was in fact controlled by a “summoner” (that would be you, the player). The explanation for the champions being brought together in five-man teams by summoners was so that a group called the “Institute of War” could have them safely wage proxy wars, preventing actual conflicts from spilling over into the lands of Runeterra, the game’s setting.
Today, though, Riot feels these concepts are too limiting and is seeking to shed some of them in future updates that will rework the game’s lore. Gnox continues:
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.
Riot has heard fans clamoring for more story about their characters, and they feel these changes will better allow them to explore that “through various mediums.” While the game and story will no longer be “one-to-one copies of each other,” this will allow both League of Legends, the game, and League of Legends, the story, to grow at their own pace, Gnox writes. While its a change that may take getting used to for some fans, based on Riot’s previous experiments with League of Legends cinematics, its safe to say they have big plans for their story. And speaking of stories, Gnox assures fans that the previous official narrative works, such as comics, are still a “cherished part of League’s history,” even though they’re now non-canon.
What do you think of the change? Was Riot long overdue for cutting ties with its old story, or is Summoner’s Rift just not going to feel the same any more? Let us know in the comments.