Riot Games Creates a Live Performance with Virtual K-Pop Group


With video game and the virtual reality world only gaining popularity, it is no surprise that this year’s League of Legends World Championship created one killer opening ceremony that paired a live performance with AR (Artificial Reality) characters and real performers.

Riot Games, the master mind behind League of Legends, went above and beyond the call of duty and offered guest of the championship a one-of-a-kind ceremony that featured their newest virtual K-pop quartet, K/DA, which sang and danced alongside live performers on-stage.

K/DA performed their original track “POP/STARS” with Soyeon and Miyeon of K-pop girl group (G)I-dle, and American singers Madison Beer and Jaira Burns. The groups were even joined on stage by their League of Legends in-game personas, Kai’Sa (Burns), Akali (Soyeon), Ahri (Miyeon) and Evelynn (Beer), each being rendered as augmented reality characters. While on stage, K/DA were invisible to the naked eye, but the group could be seen performing with the other artist on the venues jumbotron and the official live stream.

“We believe there’s a huge overlap between League of Legends, esports overall and the music industry,” Viranda Tantula, creative lead at Riot Games. “We’ve invested in building our internal music team with both an artist focused creative studio full of composers, songwriters and producers, as well as people who can perform all the services that you would see at a standard music label, such as distribution, A&R and promo.”

How did this awesome performance come to life though? The groups recorded their motions captured routine ahead of time and choreographed the live performance to work together with their digital counterparts. With the groups working with their digital counterparts, the quartet was able to inject a bit of personality and charm into each of their digital twins.

“I tried to feel like Akali and move as if I were Akali during the motion caption,” added Soyeon. “When I saw the result through the music video and the AR, I was very surprised because of how realistic Akali’s movements and facial expressions looked.” About performing, she said, “I was so happy to be offered and have an opportunity to be in part of the opening ceremony of renown LoL [League of Legends] Worlds!! Not only Jaira and Madison, but also with the AR characters, I really wanted to be on the stage together.”

Riot Games also dropped an official music video to “POP/STARS” which has already accumulated over fourteen million views since its release on November 3rd. The ceremony was the perfect place for Riot Games to explore the K-pop world, especially since the ceremony was held in South Korea. Tantula added that Riot Games is always looking to create something new that their fans will love and being able to create authentic music experiences, even with the risk attached to that, was worth it.

This isn’t the first time that Riot Games has dabbled in music. In 2014 Pentakill’s “Smite and Ignite” debuted and peaked at number ten on the Hard Rock Albums chart. The entire video was CGI and produced by Riot Games. They also released a song titled “RISE (Remix)” on October 24 which followed the original release in September and features electronic act The Glitch Mob, rapper Bobby of K-pop ground iKON, electronic act Mako, and metalcore vocalist Telle Smith of The World Alive.