The League of Legends 2021 Worlds Show Open transformed what is traditionally a live musical presentation into a 14-minute cinematic odyssey. Keying off the then-unreleased animated series Arcane, the Show Open served as an introduction for audiences into the worlds of Zaun and Piltover, as well as the two sisters at the heart of the story.
Worlds 2021 Show Open
The opening serves as a prelude to introduce us to Vi and Jinx, two characters with a complicated but powerful bond. We see them through a hazy landscape, a literal representation of the unspoken strife that stands between them. This scene introduces us to all the things that threaten to tear them apart, even as they seek to come together -- their past, the years spent apart, and the mysterious power of Hextech crystals.
Welcome To the Playground (Bea Miller)
Welcome to the Playground pulls us deeper into the world of Zaun, and is the first opportunity to upend audience expectations for what they are watching. We transition from the animated world of the previous scene into Bea Miller's performance guiding us into a fully realized version of Zaun. This was the first time Riot had attempted a live action expression of their IP in a narrative piece of storytelling, and we had to make sure the world was as richly detailed as any of its past animated expressions.
At the same time, it was important that the world we saw here was a natural extension of the one audiences would come to know in Arcane, so tremendous effort was taken to evoke the style and aesthetic of the series. On the other end of the marketplace, an animated Vi carries us back into a CG world to continue her search for Jinx, but hopefully the lines between live action and CG have started to blur a little in the audience's mind.
Enemy (Imagine Dragons, JID)
Enemy is the centerpiece of the Show Open, both in terms of the performance and the place it sits in the story. Jinx and Vi continue their chase as Imagine Dragons and J.I.D. take us through various corners of Zaun. We're able to see a bit more of Jinx and Vi's personalities come out throughout the chase -- Vi's indefatigable determination, Jinx's violent mischief and fractious moods.
The chase ultimately leads us to Jinx's hideout, where Vi confronts her, hoping to find a piece of her sister still inside this manic force of nature. Their reunion is cut short when Jinx's demons prove too much for her damaged psyche. Using matte paintings from the animated series, we painstakingly recreated the environment in full 3D, giving us a dynamic location to stage Jinx's breakdown and the unstable Hextech explosion that she unwittingly unleashes.
Burn It All Down (Denzel Curry Remix) [feat. PVRIS]
The spillover from Jinx's actions ripple out across Zaun, opening a turbulent Hextech portal that transports us from the cavernous undercity to the glittering wealth and soaring skies of Piltover above. We fly over the procedurally-generated cityscape to land within the council building and its halls of power. Lynn Gunn of PVRIS performs as Piltoveran citizens face off against displaced Zaunite dancers. Denzel Curry activates a Hextech sphere in Jayce's lab, finally taking us from the world of Arcane to the world of the esport competition, where pro teams Edward Gaming and Damwon Kia prepared to face off on the game's biggest stage.
Behind The Scenes
Executive Producer - Nick Troop
Creative Director / 3D Supervisor - Trevor Kerr
Executive Producer - Ryan Chung
Creative Lead - Figge
Art Director / 3D Lead - Aaron Covrett
Art Director / 3D Lead - Nick Scarcella
Animation Supervisor - Dony Permedi
Animation Supervisor - Dony Permedi
Animation Lead - Adrian Lim
Compositing Lead - Brinton Jaecks
FX Supervisor - Serjan Burlak
FX Lead - Chris Anderson
FX TD - Charles Trippe
Lighting / 3D
Twisted Mountain Animation
Main Road Post