Riot's approach to Canon

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kitae

Lead Designer

10-04-2012
1 of 6 Riot Posts

*Edit - while I use comic book examples, the goal is not to make LoL's universe as crazy as a comic book universe. Marvel and DC's universes are way complicated, we're not planning on that level of complexity*

Greetings Summoners!

I hope you're all tuned in to check out the world playoffs! I thought I'd take break to chat with you guys about a topic that has come up a lot recently - what is canon? Let me give you my take, and then open it up for questions.

It's kind of like comics...

Similar to comic books - everything is canon. Just like no one is going to grab Spider Man #1 and say "dood this totally contradicts the latest movie" we love all our stories, and they are all valid in their own context.

But it is reasonable to ask - what is the most current cannon? The answer is everything remains current canon…until it isn't. When we publish new information that contradicts previous information, the newest becomes current canon.

We chose this approach because we want to maximize our valid lore. It makes figuring out what is canon a little more complex, but the payoff is a richer world and IP to build on. We maximize our valid current canon, while still keeping the flexibility we need to make changes.

Check out Warwick issue #1 for an updated origin story!

A good example of a chance to current cannon is Warwick's recent update:

  • Previous canon - he was an alchemist who was cursed by Soraka who turned him into a werewolf.
  • Current canon - he's a bounty hunter who chose to become a werewolf so he'd be strong enough to bring down incredibly powerful targets like Soraka.

Here we have two compelling but different origins for the same super villain. Both are valid but it's like we just released issue #1 of a new "Warwick, the Blood Hunter" comic with a fresh take on the origin of our favourite furry mass murderer.

The Riot difference

The last thing I'll say before I turn things over to questions is - we want you guys to determine what is canon, not us!

What? That sounds like crazy talk? But it's true. There is no secret information as to what is and is not canon out there - it's all public and published. When someone asks "is it canon that Katarina retrieved Sion's remains" you can say yes, because all the information you need to make that statement is publicly available.

This is an example of how Riot takes a fundamentally different approach to IP dev than other companies. We do crazy stuff like actually change canon based on your feedback, like we did with the Katarina, Warwick and Jayce bios. We don't do this because of pressure, we do this because good ideas are good ideas whether they come from us or for you guys.

Questions?


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OberonDark

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Senior Member

10-04-2012

One thing I've been questioning lately is champions' decisions to join the League itself. Their bios check out, but then...how do they actually end up in the League?

Take Syndra. A mage trying to push the boundaries of magic, resenting her master for shackling her power. The last sentence of her bio is of her flying into the sky on her magical fortress and of her goal to destroy anyone who wants to shackle her greatness.

She then joins the League, whose purpose is to shackle everyone's power. Why?


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Mirana Arashi

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Senior Member

10-04-2012

Thanks kitae <3

Edit : Would like to play a game with you sometime ^_^


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DaRatmastah

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Honestly...the character revamps are more annoying to me because you're taking away world building elements that created a universe that we could base our ideas about canon on, not because the revamps are happening. Revamps and reimaginings are fine, but every revamp thus far has removed some prominent elements of the overall league story and universe, without offering alternatives. New players who read katarina's lore will know nothing about her father, or her badass solo rescue of sion, or anything like that.

This is in addition to losing league judgements that offered us, at least, a nice insight into the minds of the champions themselves and their actual, first-person perspectives on their motivations for both their training, and their joining the league.

The characters may be becoming marginally more unique, but we're gaining less insight into their personal thoughts, and losing massive chunks of world building, without getting anything in return except marginally more interesting origin stories(debatable, as well).

I guess if I have any question it's not even if the new, oft-referenced lore delivery methods are coming, it's whether or not you and your team have made any definitive progress towards an end product since RiotRaven mentioned it almost a year ago in this post? Again, I'm not looking for a timeframe, or for someone to say, "Yes, we're going to give you something," I'm just curious as to whether you've actually made measurable, definitive progress as a team beyond just bio revamps.


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Broseiden

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Cool, then I am all for saying the Megling Genocide is now officially canon.

Never Forget


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Lebrante

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Senior Member

10-04-2012

previous one was better


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Sandrockcstm

Member

10-04-2012

Ugh... I don't like this at all. If a character's bio is so fluid it can change at the drop of a hat, then that character loses definition and their bio loses meaning. Playing fast and loose with the lore in LoL is the easiest way to ensure that it becomes irrelevant. Character lore should be well thought out and planned before they are released, not released half-baked and changed later.

On top of that, there are so many stories dependent on one another that changing one inevitably changes another. We saw this with the bio changes of Soraka and WW necessitating the bio changes of Singed and Karma (which hasn't happened yet).

TL;DR: This is a messy way to deal with lore, it cheapens the value of it, and is just a bad bad idea.


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Evelynn Butt

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Senior Member

10-04-2012

Naw, this is the right approach to canon. Canon needs a certain fluidity, because it's not always written with the knowledge of what will be necessary in the future. Just like the client ages ago was written without realizing that LoL would get much bigger than they imagined, and as such it needed to be updated and revamped, so too was old canon written without realizing the scope that LoL might one day reach. Stuff, as such, needs to be modernized.


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doctorricardo

Senior Member

10-04-2012

The rewriting of lore seems to show a lack of forethought when the original lore was put out. It would be like if I wrote a book and decided I wanted to change the first few books in the series because I wanted to change up the next couple of books. It's lazy and kinda of a sucker punch for the fans who enjoyed the original.

I would buy the comic book approach, but I'm more than a little skeptical because of the poor quality of recent lore.


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Leon

Senior Member

10-04-2012

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