RIOT GAMES Partners with MARVEL for “LEAGUE OF LEGENDS” Comics

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Ever since the venerable real-time strategy game “Warcraft III” from Blizzard Entertainment gave rise to the mod game entitled “Defense of the Ancients”, it ushered in a new genre of networked online play called the mobile online battle arena (MOBA), where two teams engage in RTS combat to eventually reach and destroy the opposing base structure. Among the first “original” MOBA titles to emerge in the scene was “League of Legends” by Riot Games, which became rather popular because of its play modes and an eclectic collection of playable characters.

But while the backstories of the characters, a weird mix of fantasy warrior types and steam-punk or contemporary battlers, have been fascinating reads, a general plotline for the game setting has been rather lacking. That is why, according to The Verge, Riot Games is turning to a major comic book publisher for help in fleshing out its in-game lore. And they are going straight to one of the best: Marvel Entertainment. The two companies have already put their heads together to develop a major introduction to the in-depth universe of “League of Legends”, by means of a graphic novel set to come out May 2019.

By that it means a printed collection, but the graphic novel, entitled “League of Legends – Ashe: Warmother” is going to start with a digital format launch in December. The story will be written by Riot Games’ senior narrative designer Odin Austin Shafer, with “Heavy Vinyl” creator Nina Vakeuva doing the artwork. It will follow the origins of the titular Ashe, a Frost Archer (one of the initial-release 40 characters) from the game, and her life in the icy regions of Freljord, and how she first ventured out into the larger world to save her people.

Marvel Editor-in-Chief CB Cebulski said in a statement that franchise collaborations like this one with Riot Games are something of an old hand with their company. Back in the 1980s they worked with Hasbro to create a new storyline for the re-launch of military action figure line “G.I.Joe”, which led to the iconic “special missions force vs. terrorist organization” plot used in the Sunbow-produced animated series and its various successors. For their part, Riot Games development head Greg Street says they hope to conceptualize three variants of “LOL” comics with Marvel: origin stories like Ashe’s, narrative-advancing plots, and alternate-universe one-shots.

Other major game companies that have found success in comic-book adaptations of their universes include Blizzard’s “Overwatch” courtesy of Dark Horse Comics, and “Injustice” from NetherRealm Studios/WB Interactive, via DC.

Image courtesy of Hollywood Reporter

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