League of Legends: Wild Rift
Building a global esports ecosystem
Esports has grown massively in recent years, with an industry valuation of $2bn+. Viewership numbers rival those of the Super Bowl and sponsorships are on par with traditional sports.
Yet the industry’s growth and professionalism has put new pressures on the brands within it. Modern esports brands need to play many roles: a governing body, a broadcast and content creator, an event and a consumer brand. Since most brands are still relatively new, few have built comprehensive brand systems to flex across this increasing variety of touchpoints.
This category-wide challenge is why Riot Games engaged us in 2021.
The core challenge was to define League of Legends: Wild Rift as a sport that stands on its own, not a ‘light’ or ‘casual’ version of its PC counterpart, which had existed for decades and uses the same intellectual property. Since mobile gaming is growing exponentially, the brand had to frame itself as a worthy equivalent.
To communicate the uniqueness of this sport, we looked at the new generation of players engaging with it. We drew inspiration from modern pop-icons like Jayden Smith and Billie Eilish. Unlike old-style legends that felt godlike and often unrelatable, this new generation are multi-faceted and proud of their quirks. Our sport’s role became to unearth this new generation of icons which we unlocked with the brand mission: 'Future icons are born in the wild'.
Our visual language is inspired by the mobile format of the game. The swipes and taps express the flair and style expression of each player, depicting a high-pace sport that has a wider, more diverse player base. The dramatic perspectives of the selfie camera guide our layouts, art direction and expressive typography.
We collaborated with Grilli Type to create a typeface inspired by our gestures, that could be stretched and distorted to give the brand a distinctive look with minimal effort to use and adapt. Creating a variable family ensured global consistency but allowed tonal variations throughout regions and communications.
After creating the masterbrand, we embarked on sprints to localise the brand for eight regions across the world. We ran gamified strategic workshops and focus groups to engage the fans and discover each region’s unique character. We learned the differing perspectives on mobile gaming, but also the common themes across communities.
Wild Rift: China
The youthful momentum of a new generation of players inspired the idea 'The New Wave'. Liquid gestures bring dynamism, while bright pink hues break from the typical colours found in gaming.
Wild Rift: South East Asia
'Thrive in Chaos' is a motto for the victors that emerge under SEA’s unique pressure of diverse play-styles and constant competition. The motif is a diamond forged from the shards of its six sub-regions.
Wild Rift: Europe, Middle East and Africa
EMEA’s identity is an endlessly reconfiguring grid, inspired by its history of shifting empires. The flag motif represents an alliance of the many countries under one banner.
Wild Rift experienced the biggest game launch ever. 65% of players were completely new to the League of Legends ecosystem. The first global competition, Horizon Cup, clocked 1.34 million peak viewers with broadcasts in 18 different languages.
“A complex project in both breadth and scale that resulted in one of the most comprehensive, unique, global brand ecosystems esports has ever seen.”
HEAD OF MARKETING, GLOBAL ESPORTS (LEAGUE OF LEGENDS & WILD RIFT), RIOT GAMES