Last year, at the League of Legends World Championship in Incheon, the biggest moment of the event arguably wasn’t the competition itself: it was a virtual K-pop group called K/DA that performed an AR concert during the opening ceremonies, which gained worldwide recognition. The newly formed group’s song became a hit, inspiring a deluge of memes, fan videos and fan art, and players could even dress up as the members in-game. Now developer Riot is following that up with another in-game musical act: a hip-hop group called True Damage. The studio even worked with Louis Vuitton on some of the un-lockable skin designs ahead of the launch.
Even people who don’t play League of Legends may have noticed that Riot Games has been hyping up True Damage on their social media platforms for weeks now. With the success of Riot’s last music project, K/DA, many were curious as to what Riot was going to do to live up to expectations. As with last year, this new group is made up of fictional League of Legends champions, but they’re voiced by real-life musicians and celebrities. Unlike K/DA, this new group is a hip-hop group, not a k-pop group.
True Damage is a group made up of five League heroes, including Qiyana, Akali, Ekko, Yasuo, and the recently added Senna, and starting November 10th players will be able to purchase their new looks as in-game skins; that same day, the virtual group will appear onstage at the Worlds 2019 opening ceremonies. The IRL version of the band will be made up of artists Becky G, Keke Palmer, Soyeon, Duckwrth, and Thutmose.
According to Carlos Giffoni, lead producer for skins at Riot, the success of K/DA largely inspired the new project. “Shortly after that we started working on True Damage,” he explains. “It took a while to figure out what we’re doing, what’s the story behind it.” There’s even a narrative element tying the two events together. In the lore, Akali, a member of K/DA, sets out to find new collaborators, ultimately forming True Damage. “We wanted to have a group of people that felt really eclectic, and that felt like they had really unique roles to bring into it,” Giffoni says of the process of finding the right characters for the group.
“The cuts, the patterns, that was all brought to the table by Louis Vuitton,” Seth Haak, League of Legends art director on skins, told The Washington Post. “It was really a dream collaboration. Worst-case scenario, we just put the logo on them and it turns into a NASCAR-type deal. But they came to us, and the collaboration was really good.”
A pair of prestige skins have also been designed for Qiyana and Senna. You’ll only be able to unlock Qiyana’s by playing games during the Worlds 2019 event from November 10 – 25. Senna’s skin will be available next year. Check out all the skins in the trailer below.
The real musicians behind True Damage are Becky G, Keke Palmer, Soyeon, Duckwrth and Thutmose, and they’ll be giving a live performance of their single, Giants, at the Word Championship finals on November 10.
True Damage’s in-fiction background is that K/DA star Akali, who is now in both groups, wanted to combine the killer musical skills of Ekko, Senna, Qiyana and Yasuo to create a “gene-defying” collaboration. But what does the rest of K/DA think about all of this? Are they rivals now? I guess time will tell.