Superfad and Riot Games Collaborate on Spectacular New Promo for “League of Legends”
When Riot Games decided to make “League of Legends,” the company’s immensely popular online videogame, available on the Mac platform, they asked Superfad to create a statement like no other.
The brand-driven design and live-action production company responded in spectacular fashion with “Laboratory” (a.k.a. "League of Legends Now On Mac"), an intense 96-second tour through the futuristic laboratory of Dr. Mundo, the game’s murderous arch villain and declared “League of Legends” CEO.
Precisely detailed and almost hyper-realistic, the promo simultaneously pays homage to the game’s more than 40 million existing players on PC while welcoming new Mac players to the fray. Superfad Director Jason Cook performed some intense research to ensure that every detail in his concept would be true to the existing game, before enlisting his own intrepid team of digital artists and animators to create the complex short film. The Superfad team also created a new 3D animated “League of Legends” logo for the project.
“Creating compelling stories is the core of what we do at Superfad,” says Darren Jaffe, Executive Producer at Superfad. “Creating this story for League of Legends was an exciting challenge for us because fans of the game are pretty obsessed with its details. We needed to come up with a fresh new look while maintaining precise accuracy about the existing game. In many cases, the detailed look we were creating using super-realistic 3D animation, had existed largely in the imaginations of the fan base. That is a daunting vision to live up to. In the end, we knew the hardcore fans would either love it or hate it, but that’s the risk we had to take.”
“Riot wanted this to be a new beginning in a way, but also something of a love letter to their army of fans,” says Cook. “It was fantastic working with the Riot team because they supplied us with visual references, key art, schematics, and all kinds of artwork that we use to precisely and accurately define and refine the shapes of all the weapons and other items. Every detail in the promo comes directly from League of Legends lore and history. We were determined to show the fans the details of the game they love so much, but show it to them in a completely different way than they’re used to. Having such an incredible wealth of reference and history to work with made my job very exciting and enjoyable.”
It would appear that the fans have spoken. In the first two days since the promo was posted on YouTube, the spot was viewed over 1 million times, with almost entirely positive comments from League of Legends.
“Laboratory” opens with an approach towards a set of secured steel doors. The bizarre-looking blue hand of Dr. Mundo swipes an access card through a reader, before impatiently destroying the same reader with a quick punch. The doors open to reveal an ominous laboratory full of menacing scientific equipment, dangerous weapons, oozing chemicals, and surprisingly ordinary-looking work areas. Just when it seems the environment could not get any creepier, Dr. Mundo’s infamous cleaver spins across the screen and into another control panel, opening another set of steel doors and revealing another room full of even weirder weapons and equipment.
The scene progresses to a messy desk bearing the nameplate of Dr. Mundo, complete with spilled chemicals and a still-burning cigar. Mundo’s blue fist appears again, coming down on a computer station before collapsing into a friendly caress. The concluding message on the screen then reads: “League of Legends Now on Mac…Finally.” The promo concludes with the new Superfad-created animated logo for League of Legends.
Over a period of three months, a Superfad team of as many as 18 people worked on the promo, including 3D modelers, designers, matte painters, texture artists, compositors, digital sculptors, and more. The team used both Apple and PC workstations to run a variety of software tools, including Autodesk Maya and Mudbox; Adobe After Effects; and Z-Brush, as well as project management software from Basecamp and Google Docs.
Client: Riot Games
Director: Jason Cook
Designers: Yuki Yamada
CG Lead/Technical Director: John Nguyen
Camera: Kevin Walker
3D Modeling: DeAndre Moore, Gene Arvan
3D Animation: Cat Yoo
3D Lighting: Josh Kohlmeier, Andy Kim, Patrick Vidal, Josh Studebaker
3D VFX: Ian Townsand
Matte Painting: Tom Price
2D Animation: Yuki Yamada
Storyboard Artist: Scott Ritchie
Flame Artist: John Shirley
Compositor: Miles Kinghorn, Richard Taylor, Mark Kim, Andrew Soria