Summoning the Gods of Metal for the ultimate ARG.
Within the Universe of League of Legends there exists a band forged from the very demonic realm beyond Runeterra. These castaways have gathered to shred so hard there can be no living soul left to tell the tale. This group is known as Pentakill and their success has propelled the very idea of character-based bands into the public zeitgeist. You can hear their metal thrashing on all major music streaming platforms. Periodically they even tour within the very word of Runeterra however, only when they’ve been summoned by the very gods of metal themselves. In short, their tour dates are a bit spotty.
For their 3rd (studio?) album, Pentakill was up against the mischievous troublemaker known as Viego as he sought to awaken the gods of metal and claim the powers as his own. Royale was tasked to visualize this latest album with design and creative as the events would lead up to an interactive virtual concert. Key to the lead-up was revealing the story of Viego’s plan day by day and to do this, we developed an Alternate Reality Game right along with the team at Riot that would invite fans to solve Viego’s riddles. Ultimately, these same fans would be duped into empowering him with the very powers he sought. Oops!
To develop this metal heathen’s Alternate Reality Game (ARG), we had to lay out the story as it would be revealed over the course of a 4 day game rollout. The Riot social channels would be used as our distribution method and engagement with fans so this became our framework. Since we were also handling all design and marketing around the Album release we began to consider how it might come in to play beyond the obvious link in visual style.
Each day saw the release of a new riddle from Viego himself. A short animation revealed this with a cryptic message from Viego. Fans would then have the day to figure out what the hell he was talking about and decipher the daily challenge. Each day was designed to lead up into the next but on the 3rd day, we twisted things a bit and reference other events out of sequence, just to keep it interesting.
By the 4th and final day fans had figured out the BPM of mysterious dissonant hoards, put the pieces of a Cypher wheel together, called a phone number and decoded the message then aligned the cypher wheel to decode the hidden messages buried in marketing design that had been revealed weeks prior to the ARG even starting. All of this triggered Viego’s true plan and ultimate empowerment building up to the showdown during the live concert event.
The cypher wheel became an important element in the ARG but in order to create it, we needed to create the cypher itself. To do this, we developed our own custom glyph font that took inspiration from ancient Norse and Assyrian symbology. We wanted to make something unique yet also feel right at home in Runeterra Lore and Pentakill’s story.
Each and every one of Viego’s riddles included at least 2 animations. We would set the stage with 1 animation, then reveal the answer with a second. We also developed tertiary animations that could be used if no one was getting anywhere on solving them. Thankfully this fan base is hard core and they knew what they were doing when it came to riddle solving. To create these animations we set out illustrating beautiful moments within the stories and brought them to life like a cursed storybook.
Each animation was designed and executed for the usual suspects of social sizes and aspect ratios. The animated language would bring the illustrations to life with subtle motion but let the art play as the hero.
The final piece of the ARG puzzle was a microsite we created that linked up everything leading to this moment. Players got to this page by deciphering the glyphs on Viego’s tarot card using the cypher wheel they built. The glyphs gave them a cryptic url that brought them to a site with 3 buttons, each with their own cryptic symbol. By pressing all 3 buttons, players would be presented with the final animated riddle and revelation of Viego’s plan.
For the main event, we also carried our design language forward with the Riot team to create UI elements and graphics to be used within the experience. The event took place on “Wave” and was a real-time virtual concert where fans had moments of interaction by way of a UI interface. Viego would ultimately meet his match with the soul shredders from Pentakill out of blood. No problems there. For the next ARG, we’re going to have to literally open the doors to hell for these fans. They are just, TOO good at this.