Worlds 2021 final show opener sets up 'Arcane' story
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Original Reporting

When the creative team for the 2021 League of Legend World Championship final show opener sat down to plan, they settled on a single line that informed every decision: a journey through the world of “Arcane.

That decision resulted in multiple musical performances throughout physically realized representations of Piltover and Zaun, where Season 1 of the animated Netflix series takes place, but it also led to the creation of unique animations that help audiences understand the core of the show.

The show opener provided an opportunity to reach beyond the usual League of Legends esports audience and break into the broader cultural conversation, Executive Producer of League of Legends and Wild Rift Global Esports Events Nick Troop said. So, while the dedicated viewers might have a better understanding of who Jinx and Vi are, not everyone will know their dynamic as sisters.

“What we wanted to take were easily recognizable themes and extract those and put them in the story that we told this year,” Troop told Upcomer during an episode of the Untold Tales podcast.

However, Troop added that sprinkling previously animated clips from the show throughout the opener wasn’t an option. Instead of showing exactly what happened between Jinx and Vi, the creative team said they needed to make allusion to their relationship.

The opener began with a clip underscoring the duo’s happy, sibling relationship. But as things progressed, Troop said they needed to reinforce the dynamic that Jinx and Vi do still care for each other despite the conflict between them.

“You can try to bend existing clips, but ultimately you just end up with a watered-down expression of Arcane, and I just think the show is too damn good to have tried that,” Troop said. “Instead it became about, let’s do these bespoke moments that drive home the points of the story that we wish to tell.”

As an example, while the creative team made an effort to visually represent the sort of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” traits that are central to Jinx’s character in “Arcane,” Troop said it wasn’t as important to show why that’s part of her character.

“You look for the things that will still be sufficiently coherent to people, even if you don’t explain it,” Troop said. “We sort of turned that into a one page outline, sat down with the showrunners for Arcane and said ‘this is the story we’re wanting to tell.’”

Troop said he made this outline after watching the series at least five times before the planning began and added that the showrunners for “Arcane” gave not only approval for the new clips but also their enthusiasm to see more of the world they had spent years creating brought to life.

The first three episodes of “Arcane” debut on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on Netflix, the same day that Worlds 2021 comes to a conclusion.

General editor and ASU Cronkite (e)sports journalism master’s degree holder. More than anything, Jason wants you to watch Pokémon VGC.
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