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League of Legends lore rewrite will stay true to the “soul” of characters in the old canon

League of Legends: temporarily loreless.

Riot Games prompted applause and alarm over the weekend with the announcement of a partial retcon of League of Legends lore. The game’s very premise, an institute where political conflicts could be resolved in orderly and relatively bloodless fashion, had proven too restrictive for LoL’s narrative designers.

They’ve resolved to push their character bios and event plotlines beyond the boundaries of the League – but have reassured concerned fans that their favourite champions will only benefit.

“We believe in a philosophy in which story should spring from the characters naturally, not from a very arbitrary plot built around them,” said Riot writer Devon Giehl. “Character drives plot.”

Riot are confident that expanding the scope of their story won’t mean changing the nature of their champions.

“Our philosophy with these characters is that whatever we do to re-shape them should hold very tightly to the “soul” of what a character was in the old canon,” said Giehl.

“Nobody should feel like an entirely new character. Their spirit, the “feeling” you get from them, those things should feel true, even if details shift in how they came to be that person.”

Giehl used the example of Orianna, who will remain a girl with hopes and dreams that met a tragic end – with a father still driven to questionable means to bring her back.

“THOSE are story beats that are important to Orianna,” declared Giehl. “The Institute of War is merely a detail, it doesn’t define her.”

Giehl said that the Institute, summoners, and the Fields of Justice had proved to be a “weak frame” for Riot’s storytelling – and moreover weren’t particularly important to most LoL players.

“When I play League of Legends, I am not concerned with myself as a summoner,” he said. “I connect more to the champion him or herself. I am not concerned with the “stakes” of every battle, such as whether or not taxes will be raised in a certain place, or political favor of a certain noble house in Noxus.”

Do you care about that stuff?