League of Legends fans aren’t too happy with Riot right now. Since 2018, the beginning of every season for the MOBA has been marked with a cinematic. Hopes were high after Season 2022’s stunning trailer The Call (opens in new tab) absolutely nailed it.
Sadly, the same thing can’t be said about The Brink of Infinity, Riot’s newest cinematic for League of Legends’ 2023 season. Coming in at half the time of 2022’s trailer, there’s a notable lack of champs, action and… well, anything really. The two-minute video is little more than a flythrough of Summoner’s Rift, and the juxtaposition between this year’s cinematic and last year’s hasn’t gone unnoticed.
It’s so noticeable, in fact, that Riot has (sort of) issued an apology in the face of an incredibly critical response. In a five-tweet thread on the League of Legends account, the team acknowledges that the cinematics are well-loved by fans. It went on to claim that there was a reason why this year’s was considerably lower quality than previous ones. “There were some unprecedented circumstances that had us choose an alternate approach to the Season 2023 video,” the account tweeted. “However, we believed it could still embody League’s broad universe and competitive spirit while celebrating the start of a new season.”
The thread continued: “But we’ve heard your feedback, and we want to acknowledge Brink of Infinity missed the mark for the action-packed, champion-led trailer you expected and has led to further speculation about our investment in League.” The account said that it should have been “more communicative” and added “We do believe that League has a bright future and we are investing in that, but we can do a better job of sharing those plans with you.”
The statement didn’t exactly have fans convinced. Concerns around what’s been a lengthy content drought and less popular characters receiving lower-quality skins are rife in the replies throughout the thread. Streamer Professor Akali replied asking (opens in new tab), “How can you guys pretend you care?” One reply said that the game’s champion and lore has “value for the players,” saying “next time respect your narrative and creative teams.”
It’s unclear exactly what these “unprecedented circumstances” were, and it seems odd if Riot wants to pull back on League when it’s been doing so well for them in the last couple of years. Netflix’s Arcane show (opens in new tab) did a fantastic job of introducing more people to the League universe and Worlds has long been one of the few esports I enjoy watching, despite not engaging much with the game itself. The worry right now seems to be that Riot is pivoting more heavily towards Valorant, forgetting about its MOBA in the process. I can’t see that being the case—the two are both great money-makers for Riot, and it seems absurd for them to toss away one major source of income in favour of another equally major source. It’s understandable for fans to feel frustration, though, especially when the grass seems much greener on the other side.
Riot’s apology is, admittedly, a little vague despite their desire for transparency. But it seems like that’s something that will be coming in the next few days. The account’s tweet thread finished off by saying it’s “committed” to providing more details about what its future investment in the game looks like “in the next couple of days.” It also thanked fans, saying “We really appreciate your passion and feedback, and League’s success wouldn’t be possible without your dedication.”