League of Legends’ Spin-Off Games Transcend ‘True Canon’


The League of Legends model has advanced immensely over its 11-year life span. What began as a easy Multiplayer On-line Battle Enviornment (MOBA) crammed with wild and unusual characters has fashioned right into a residing and respiration world. Lately, Riot Video games put out a number of video games, many who happen in Runeterra — the world by which League of Legends takes place.

Now that Runeterra is totally fleshed out and has a number of video games encompassed in it, many gamers at the moment are specializing in what the “true canon” means on this world. With the latest launch of The Ruined King and Hextech Mayhem, developer Riot Forge appears hesitant to verify whether or not these video games are particularly canon in League’s story. This has led gamers to dismiss the occasions on this recreation, as they could not match neatly into the true canon. Riot Video games and Riot Forge’s stance on the canon of its video games exhibits is that it’s not notably involved about an all-encompassing omni-canon, but it surely desires the story to be about what League of Legends actually is: Legends of heroes.

To be canon or to not be canon?

Across the time that the Ruined King was launched, Riot Forge held an AMA on Reddit to discuss the game. A question about how the game fits into the canon was brought up, and Rowan Parker, creative director at Riot Forge, answered. He later posted his answer to Twitter, as it was clearly a topic many fans of the series were interested in. His explanation left many unsatisfied, and some were still confused. Parker’s response simultaneously claimed that Ruined King was mostly canon, but Riot Forge isn’t fully committed to making in-canon games.

1/? FAQ: "Is the Ruined King game's story canon?"

When I get asked this I think about why it matters to ppl. We want to know "Can I get emotionally invested in this story?" or "Did this story really happen?"

So if I'm asked "Is the Ruined King's story real?" the answer is YES!

— Rowan – L4T3NCY (@RiotL4T3NCY) November 16, 2021

I perceive why many gamers really feel dissatisfied with that reply. A big narrative and canon is one thing that may be very pleasurable. We’ve seen it in recreation franchises like Resident Evil and even within the films — just like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Constant canon provides a sense and understanding that every story beat, character, or occasion serves a higher goal. It brings causality to a story. As an alternative of random occasions and characters performing independently and probably in a contradictory method, every thing falls into one another. Occasion X occurs due to character Y, which is able to have an effect on the lands of Z. With the big and eclectic world of League of Legends, the omni-canon acts as a Rube-Goldberg machine — unusual shapes and gizmos that don’t really feel congruent, however all effectively work collectively for a singular goal.

The problem with an omni-canon is that it leaves little or no room for “extra weight.” If a narrative or a personality doesn’t match neatly into that canon or narrative, it’s nearly utterly excised, like heretical writings from a mad monk within the mountains. This will make a recreation or a TV collection really feel myopic — solely centered on one factor, leaving no room for experimentation. That is even seen within the League of Legends collection with characters like Rumble and Shaco, whose tales — or lack thereof — don’t match into the grand narrative Riot Video games has been constructing as much as. Whereas they’re nonetheless playable in video games, they really feel misplaced in comparison with characters with extra narrative weight like Swain or Lucian.

As an alternative of wrangling all of those tales and characters into one thing cohesive, Riot Video games is taking a unique strategy — a compromise, of types. The world of Runeterra does have an official timeline and is crammed with characters and occasions that work off of one another. Nonetheless, there may be room for non-canonical storytelling, giving the narrative freedom to experiment. This introduced us spin-off video games like Hextech Mayhem and the Ruined King. Whereas some occasions in Ruined King and all of the occasions of Hextech Mayhem are non-canonical, it nonetheless focuses on a core worth of the League of Legends collection: Characters, or particularly, heroes.

I want a hero, or 140 heroes

Leap again 11 years in the past, when League of Legends was in its infancy. As an alternative of regarding itself with an overarching narrative with a plausible world, LoL was merely only a MOBA. The world of Runeterra was not as vital as its inhabitants. To this present day, League of Legends’ roster is crammed with attention-grabbing and distinctive characters, as a result of it’s what helped begin the fandom for this recreation. The significance of the characters and their traits appears to be a part of the ethos of those video games. That is put succinctly by Rowan Parker within the Reddit AMA. “Do we expect Ziggs ‘actually’ blew up half of of Piltover in a rampage? Most likely not (a lot). Nonetheless, is the banter between Ziggs and Heimer true to persona and expose extra of their relationship? Undoubtedly.”

Ziggs blowing up Piltover next to Heimerdinger

Hextech Mayhem and Ruined King are supposed to be explorations of the characters contained in the lore of LoL. We get to see characters that we now have identified for years in a brand new mild and categorical themselves in a brand new method. Like Rowan says, it’s not vital whether or not Ziggs blew up half of Piltover. As an alternative, the the reason why and the way Heimerdinger tries to cease Ziggs are vital, as a result of these actions and motivations assist the gamers perceive Heimerdinger extra and respect his character. Whereas the main beats of Ruined King do happen on the timeline, not every thing within the recreation needs to be notably true as a result of the story serves as a solution to see the characters categorical themselves.

Narratives contained in the canon of a collection can serve this goal simply as successfully as non-canon narratives. They could even really feel extra impactful, as canon narratives can all slot in collectively. The best way that Riot Video games is dealing with these “non-canon” video games might be understood by trying on the full identify of those video games. Each of them have “A League of Legends Story” of their title.

These are tales discovered on the earth of Runeterra. Tales, myths, and even legends don’t have to be totally involved with an overarching narrative or logic. Tales serve a goal, whether or not it’s an ethical on the finish or to know a hero and their deeds. This idea is even actualized contained in the LoL canon with fan-favorite character Braum. He’s a personality that’s surrounded by tales, primarily about himself and the deeds that he has achieved. Nobody actually questions if all these tales are true. It doesn’t matter; they accomplish their purpose, which is to make individuals perceive who Braum truly is.

An omni-canon continues to be a legitimate solution to create a world or a collection of tales. Every thing becoming in properly with one another feels good and emphasizes the significance of actions and penalties. Non-canonical tales sprinkled all through a canon may also help create myths inside its personal world. These tales are supposed to serve a goal and are generally nearly as vital because the canonical ones. They inform us tales about characters, beliefs, and ideas that will curiosity us on a storytelling degree. That is what permits legends to be born.

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