Riot stands to gain huge after partnering with Marvel

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Riot Games announced today that it was partnering with Marvel to create comics that will delve into the lore of Runeterra and explore new art styles for the game. While there hasn’t yet been any mention of a crossover event and most of the in-game lore is already fleshed out, Riot still has huge upside in this move.

In terms of shockers today, most League of Legends fans would have expected to see something along the lines of Faker leaving SKT or the uniting of a super-team in NA or EU. Instead, we get a different shock completely removed from the e-sports world.

According to the Verge, Riot has announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment to bring the League of Legends lore to comics. This comes at the heels of Riot’s recent movement to soft-retcon the Runeterra universe, which included a lot more artwork and stories from Riot itself. Now, it seems, Riot is passing the heavy lifting of that burden to perhaps the best story-telling entity on the planet.

By partnering with Marvel, Riot is opening up to more diverse art and thematic styles than they have produced in-house. This also means that there is the possibility for some skins inspired by the Marvel comics or even crossing over into the MCU.

That sort of potential crossover – though unconfirmed and miles off – could be great branding for Riot, with fan-favorite characters like Garen or Viktor sharing a panel with their MCU counterparts Captain America or Iron Man. But there is also a great possibility to use the comics to market in-game assets and grow Riot’s exposure, as they did with the recent K/DA song that topped the digital sales charts. Indeed, Riot’s head of creative development Greg Street told The Vergthat one of Riot’s goals with the Marvel partnership was to tell stories that take place in alternate universes of League.

"[U]ltimately, there are three kinds of stories Riot wants to tell: more detailed origin stories; stories that advance the narrative beyond characters’ origins; and alternate universes of League, like K/DA, where four deadly assassins are re-envisioned as pop stars."

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Riot has said that these alternate universes are the basis for all the skins in the game so this direction could provide the opportunity not only to flesh out the lore of existing skins but tease upcoming skins in new universes. A comic series on the K/DA universe, the PROJECT universe, or the Pool Party universe would be delightful ways to tease new skins coming out. And if there was an upcoming “Iron Man” Xerath skin, this partnership could open the door for a way to tease that.

In addition, this push for more exposure of League’s lore comes just over a week after Riot trademarked “Legends of Runeterra.” This move gave rise to rumors that the company was developing an MMO to go along with the existing MOBA. Having these Marvel comics coming just before Legends of Runeterra is released would be a fantastic way to stoke interest before the game is released.

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Riot and Marvel have already announced the first installment will be called Ashe: Warmother, and will detail the backstory of the Freljord archer. The comic is set to release in May 2019.

What do you think? Are you interested in reading a League of Legends comic book or series? Do you think Marvel will attempt to make any major changes in the existing lore?