We partnered up with Jack Morton Germany and Riot Games to show-direct the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) opening after their three-year-hiatus from live competition. The LEC is the professional League of Legends esports league run by Riot Games in Europe, in which ten teams compete. Hosted in Malmö Arena, the former Eurovision and hockey stadium was transformed into a canvas for both fierce esports competition and intricate lore telling.
To us, show direction and creative production go beyond the confines of the stage, as our craft purposefully manages brand stakeholders, company values, and audience expectations. While Riot’s ceremonies team provided valuable guidance on brand aesthetics and overall structure of the show, Battle Royal Studios in partnership with Jack Morton Germany conjured up a glossy opening show-style execution, ranging from concept and run of the show development to technical creative production, and show direction on-site. Together, we re-defined how Riot’s European League celebrates their season, finalists, and fans.
Throughout this arena experience, the production teams were able to orchestrate the precious relationships between the teams’ distinctive characters, the mythologies of the game’s fictional universe, and its almost tribal fanbase. Playing to a sold-out arena venue and attended by LoL superstars, such as esports professional Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and Broxa, and casters Marc Lamont, Aaron Chamberlain, and Andy Day, the opening ceremony picked up on this season’s theme “Land of the Midnight Sun”.
Together with our show and stage directors, choreographers, show caller and ceremony stage manager, we designed an arena-sized kinetic stage, creative produced a show for a 16-piece orchestra, devised the entry for the 10 players, and staged the singer Cassyette (the voice of the LoL season’s anthem “Awakened”). The stage’s centerpiece was a kinetic sun that incorporated an LED screen 6m in diameter and was equipped with moving light fixtures, wash lights, and tiltable strip beams, to play to the “Land of the Midnight Sun” mythology; a mythical realm we entered during the opening ceremony by staging an eclipse, complete with its luminous aura, that cast its shadows over the entire arena.
Besides creating glorious stage moments for the singer and the orchestra, our main challenge was to enact the entrance of the players in a way that rivals their virtual performances in the game’s rift. Using all the technological means of the kinetic and light installations, we added coolness, determination, and a massive pyro display during player introductions. We elevated their entrances by means of clear stage direction and prior coaching with our experienced choreographers. Comments from the LEC’s dedicated die-hard fans on YouTube and Reddit (one of the most stringent streams of critique) support our claim.
At the end of the competition, team Rogue dominated G2 Esports in a 3-0 win. Their victory was celebrated by a bombastic finale for which we also designed the sound structure and pyro elements. In this closing ceremony, we re-awakened the kinetic sun, journeyed out of the eclipse mood back into the sunlight, and are now ready for another season of the League of Legends.
Jack Morton Düsseldorf
Creative Concept, Show Direction, Motion Design, Light Design, Choreography.
Denis We, Chris Moylan, Xevi Venancio.
© Kirill Bashkirov & Michal Konkol for battleROYAL