Two years ago, and on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of League of Legends, Nicolo Laurent, CEO of Riot Games, announced the arrival of many projects, among which the fighting game Project L, Hextech Mayhem, Ruined King , Legends of Runeterra, League of Legends: Wild Rift, Teamfight Tactics and, of course, the series Arcane. Intrigued by the growth of Riot Games and wishing to know more, our colleagues from 20 Minutes went to meet the CEO, who addressed many subjects during a river interview.
The first question asked obviously concerned Arcane, whose success visibly surprised the creators and managers. Nicolo Laurent explains that they were a little surprised by the reception of the scenario, fearing to be “in their bubble”, while being confident on the work of animation carried out by Fortiche. It also indicates that the birth of the series has been a long way, punctuated by many errors and even a production stop !
(…) It was only once the project was almost finished that we went to see the broadcasters, Netflix & company. We were convinced that no one would help us given our ambitions, and we wanted to be able to stop the project along the way if necessary, to have this freedom both creative and financial. Besides, we did. The Fortiche studio had grown from ten people to 300, plus a hundred at home. The pilot was nice, but there were issues with the rest of the story, with the pace of the series. We therefore stopped the time to rework history and Fortiche (…). The series resumed more than a year later.
The company has also thought (and still thinks about it from time to time) to broadcast the series herself. But Nicolo Laurent believes that Riot Games is a studio that makes video games, and not a platform. Those in charge therefore turned to SVOD services, while regretting that they could not necessarily be able to distribute the content in the desired way. Asked about the cross-media development of Riot Games, Nicolo Laurent wanted to qualify. For him, what directs the production of projects is the fact that players play, watch series and work. So Riot tries to create things that cover these activities, everything trying not to get lost along the way.
(…) LoL is not just a game but also now a sport, with leagues, tournaments, stars to admire, pros to improve … This makes the game more fun, as can be. to be football. The same goes for movies and series, it’s immediately cooler when your favorite characters have a story, a life, relationships. It improves the gaming experience.
Of course, we are entitled to ask ourselves if the immense success met by Arcane had any influence on the game League of Legends. Riot CEO doesn’t give exact numbers, but says the studio is trying to quantify this. If more players join the Summoner’s Rift, it could give more budget to the series, whose season 2 is already in production.
(…) It’s like esports, even if we have lost money – and we are still losing a little – the effect on the game is enormous. Because the game remains the El Dorado. The margins are enormous there, compared to the series or to esport. Our desire is indeed to extend the universe (…), but neither to exploit it in the manner of Marvel (…). At Riot, there are a lot of Star Wars fans, everyone is a fan (…), and I would like the same for a video game license like LoL.
One of the most important statements made during the interview is the one about the creation of new licenses, like Valorant. Nicolo Laurent indicates that the intention is not necessarily there, and that he prefer to develop League of Legends and what surrounds it. For him, everything must revolve around LoL and it is only in the event that a genre of game does not really stick with the universe that a new license is considered. This is particularly the case of Valorant, which could (should?) Have been a game stamped League of Legends:
Valorant, we tried to do it several times in the LoL universe, but it did not work in terms of gameplay.
With League of Legends, Riot managed to install an extremely well structured and competitive esport scene, from the world level to the national level. The Worlds are extremely well-attended, and one only has to look at the success of the Karmine Corp and the LFL to see that it is the same on a local scale. For Nicolo Laurent, esport is a tidal wave, and he believes that by the end of the century, a good half of the TOP 10 most watched sports will actually be esports. Obviously, the ambition of Riot Games is install two or three games in this top 10 Assumed. Asked about the competition, notably represented by Overwatch and CS: GO, he said:
We are big fans of Blizzard (…). But we are rather at a stage where we have to write our own history. So we look less at the competition than we listen to the players. (…) The relationship between creators and consumers is closer. We can no longer “corner” the player. Before, there was marketing and distribution, which of course still exist. But creativity and quality have become the core values, and that’s really great.