Arcane: Opening the Hexgate to television
By Nevan Shum and Theodore Gim
Do you know League of Legends? So does the rest of the world, thanks to Arcane, a Netflix original series rated #1 in 52 different countries. The show sets off with an economic divide between two neighboring cities. Zaun, a polluted, underground district, harboring illegal activities like the running of black markets and theft, and Piltover, the City of Progress, a place of innovation, technology, and business. Both cities are represented by a few main characters, and the story is developed through the relationships between these characters. From Zaun, two sisters whose parents have been killed in war swear to protect each other until they are eventually split apart by Piltover enforcers and the main antagonist. In Piltover however, two scientists work together to create new “Hextech” technology, which largely widens the financial and power gap between the Undercity (Zaun) and the Topside (Piltover). We soon see a divide amongst multiple main and side characters, leading into a chain of events that would permanently change and break bonds.
From a viewer’s perspective I personally love and appreciate every aspect of this Netflix Original. Since the show is animated, every action the characters take has a meaning, and the voice acting helps emphasize that development. The animation, voice acting, character and story development, and the production as a whole is stunning. The division of the cities at the beginning of the show foreshadows the division between the main characters, and I believe that the music Riot uses for Arcane encapsulates the emotions of their scenes.The producers, Riot Games, is a company revolving around the world of gaming, and after six years of production, we see a final product that has become a worldwide phenomenon. Arcane’s story comes from their 12-year-old video game, League of Legends, and with an outstanding 100% on the average tomatometer and a 98% on average audience score, Riot Games has proven that they are not just a gaming company, but also one that puts everything into their projects.With their entry to the world of streaming, Riot games has seemingly unknowingly opened the gates to a new world of advertising. For some time, many different forms of entertainment have attempted to expand their properties to the world of television but to little success. With the massive success of Riot Games’ Arcane, not only other game developers but also any other intellectual properties, will be looking to find similar success.
Riot Games’ Arcane beat out the explosively popular Squid Game, which according to Bloomberg produced about $900 million in impact value. The show actually cost over $21 million to create yet still made Netflix a profit of about $1 billion. Although metrics for the success of Arcane were not as simple to come by, the impact it had on its other properties along with the significantly greater success it found in the international market. It can be assumed that Riot Games came out much happier with Arcane’s success.The game from which the story of Arcane is derived from, League of Legends, is one of the most concurrently streamed and played games of all time, currently sitting at around 180 million concurrent players as of November 2021. In 2020 alone, League of Legends had an annual revenue of $1.75 billion. With the success of Arcane, League of Legends and its other collaborative properties such as Valorant and Legends of Runeterra are sure to see a spike in players. This could have a permanent impact on the success of the company as a whole and all its games. Should other intellectual properties follow suit, they could expand their notoriety, revenue, and even just credibility as a creative property.
Featured Image(at the top of this post): Arcane [PHOTO CREDIT: IGN.com]