The first time that I watched a Worlds 2020 game, I couldn’t grasp whether the neon Shanghai skyline that illuminated the stage was, in fact, the real Shanghai skyline. Featuring the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower amid a plethora of skyscrapers, the only thing that gave away that this wasn’t actually the Shanghai skyline was the Worlds 2020 banner emblazoned on one of the surrounding tower blocks.
In actual fact, none of what the audience sees on the Worlds stage is real. The rippling water in the centre that splits the teams, the cascading waterfalls: all AR. So, how did they go about creating this?
As Global Head of Communications for Esports at Riot Games David Higdon recalls in a thread on Twitter, Riot Games have a history of creating elaborate stage shows blending real life and AR characters. By using a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine (the same engine that runs Fortnite) and working alongside Lux Machina and POSSIBLE, Riot Games created the special effects nirvana that LoL viewers see on screen.
It’s safe to say that fans have fallen in love with the stage, with praise still flooding Twitter well into the penultimate stages of the tournament.
Beautiful but deadly?
Not only has the stage show been hailed for its beauty, but also for is memeability.
Right at the start of the tournament MAD LIONS’ coach James ‘Mac’ MacCormack was seen crossing into the virtual water system that makes up the centre of the stage, leading to LoLEsports gently flaming him on twitter.
Another playful moment appeared at the end of European titans G2’s 3 – 0 victory over Korea’s Gen.G, where Top Laner Martin ‘Wunder’ Hansen and ADC Luka ‘Perkz’ Perkovic picked up Mid Laner Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther’ and simulated throwing him into the water. This was in response to several casters bringing up the idea of falling into the AR pool. The video bred an instagram competition to caption a close-up of Caps’ face, breeding more memery.
With all of the hype surrounding the recent announcement of K/DA’s EP and the collaboration with new champion and vocalist Seraphine, the League community is excited to see how K/DA take to this beautiful virtual stage for their performance at the World Championship Finals. I know I personally can’t wait to see what Riot pull off.
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