Arcane became one of the surprise hits of 2021, but the success of the League of Legends-themed animated series shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Riot Games isn’t just trying to make League of Legends the biggest PC game around. It’s trying to turn it into the next Pokemon; a suite of games that became the basis for an enormous cross-media IP. In the same way that Pokemon’s games are flanked by a hit TCG, an anime, and a toy line, Riot wants League of Legends to be known for a broad variety of different efforts.
Riot has already done a lot in terms of expanding League of Legends outside its hit MOBA. It has multiple spin-offs on the market, ranging from League of Legends: Wild Rift to Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends story, as well as the upcoming LoL-themed fighting game codenamed Project L. The biggest success so far has been Arcane. Here’s what’s known about the series and what lies on the horizon for it.
What is Arcane based on?
Arcane is an animated series based on the lore of League of Legends. The series focuses on Piltover and Zaun, a territory that fuses magic, technology, and oppressive classism.
The story follows playable League of Legends characters Vi and Jinx, two sisters that end up caught in the political tug-of-war surrounding Zaun’s independence movement. It also follows Jayce, an inventor who inadvertently gains significant political power through his works and tries to use it to help his ailing research partner, Viktor.
Do I need to play League of Legends to understand Arcane?
Playing League of Legends is not required to understand the story of Arcane. Almost all of the details of Arcane’s story are originally made for the show and have little basis within the game itself. There are some things that people can glean from playing the game, though.
First and foremost is the significance of Mel’s backstory and the threat her family poses to the entire cast. Players can also likely predict what the major story beats are for the next season based on how the characters in the game differ from those on-screen. Arcane is still a show meant to be accessible for those who haven’t played the game, and it succeeds on that front.
Was Arcane removed from Netflix?
Arcane has not been removed from Netflix, nor has it been canceled. The first season of the show launched on Netflix in 2021 and remains there to this day. The plan is to have season two of Arcane also premiere on the same platform.
Netflix culled a significant portion of its original programming across 2022 and early 2023, with animated series being particularly hard-hit. With Inside Job, Dead End: Paranormal Park, and Warrior Nun all getting axed, fans of other series such as fighting anime Baki Hanma and Arcane were also left worrying.
The good news for Arcane fans is that the series is about as safe as a show can get. It’s actually made by Riot and its parent company, then distributed through Netflix. Even if Netflix chose to drop it, there’s a strong likelihood that Riot would continue making it and then partner up with Prime Video, Paramount+, or another similar service.
How long did it take to make Arcane?
Arcane took over six years to make, according to Riot Games. The series was made by French animation studio Fortiche, with supervision from League of Legends’ creators. Fortiche had previously endeared itself to Riot and LoL fans by producing the music video for the highly popular Pop/Stars song.
It’s unclear how intense production was across those six years, as Fortiche worked on a number of other projects during that time. Either way, the series was in the works for a long while and it shows through the highly acclaimed animation.