It is a commonly held belief that TV shows based off online games are typically shallow, poorly written and not worth the time watching – especially for new comers. However, the recent series ‘Arcane’ created by Riot Games and Fortiche productions has shattered this long held notion. 


The show, which is currently streaming on Netflix, has been well received by fans and critics alike. At the time of writing Arcane is listed as the 12th best TV series on IMDb at a rating of 9.2 stars. It is tied with the hit show Game of Thrones and rated higher than other acclaimed shows such as Sherlock and Black Mirror. Arcane has been praised for its excellent story telling which does not require any knowledge of the game – or anything about the League of Legends universe – as a prerequisite for enjoying and engaging with the show. 


“Newcomers should be equally enthralled by Arcane's compelling narrative, richly developed characters and detailed world-building, all realised through a visually dazzling blend of hand-drawn and computer-generated animation.” - James March, South China Morning Post. 


Shortly after the season finale had aired on Saturday November 20th Riot Games confirmed Arcane for season two and announced it was already in production. 


The series tells the story of various characters from the world of the game League of Legends. In the game, players can pick from a large cast of characters that each have a unique in game skillset and back story. The game is a massively popular competitive e-sport with the official annual global competition ‘Worlds’ boasting a large prize pool of $2,225,000 USD. In recent years, Riot Games has also expanded by publishing multiple new games such as ‘Legends of Runeterra’ and ‘Valorant’ which have also achieved success and high praise. 


Reviewers have been impressed by many aspects of Arcane, namely the story telling and the unique visual style. Riot Games has been known by fans in the community to have a rich and developed backstory and there has been high demand for a TV show or movie that tells a story from the League of Legends universe. Fans prayers were finally answered when Arcane premiered on the 6th November. However, it is not just fans who were surprised with the high quality of the show; Arcane has captivated a new audience of people who have never even played the game. Many reviewers have mention that they had low expectations for the show, especially considering the track record for video game media of shallow characters which serves the purpose to only appeal to pre-existing fans. Riot’s approach to Arcane appears much more sustainable and enjoyable to the consumer. Hopefully this can show other video game producers that it is worth creating more meaningful storytelling.