Riot Games uploaded the “Star Guardian Taliyah” Session to their music channel on the 11th of July. Essentially, its a collection of thematic songs created by independent artists that anyone can use in videos or streams without concern over copyright issues. The playlist was created as part of the Sessions project on behalf of Riot Games, which aims to provide creators with more ways to produce content using official music. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this, but it is the first time I’ve taken notice of it.
I’m no paid actor or apologist for Riot Games in any sense of those words, and would absolutely bite at the chance to criticize them over pretty much anything (and have done). But this sort of effort they put into their art, which seems to serve no other purpose than to help creators out and support independent artists, makes it extremely difficult to hold them in a bad light, generally speaking.
The video itself is a series of animations that follow a bubbly-themed Taliyah through her day off at the mall. For each song, a new part of the story. The animations are simple, and aside from Easter eggs in the background, there isn’t anything that sets itself apart as “incredible”, except for the fact that the video exists at all. The notion that Riot Games would hire a team to animate a one and a half hour video, a group of musicians to create their own unique 8-bit themed pieces, and then release the two as one project for no reason other than to give their community free stuff is pretty incredible, at least to me.
This sort of behavior points to a recurring philosophy presented in Riot Games’ policy towards treating their community. That philosophy is a tad hard to put into words, but it can be seen in their Esports events, which continually set the bar for Esports tournaments everywhere. It can be seen in the extra content created for the game, which includes the incredible Arcane and the soon to be reviewed Ruined King. And, of course, it can be seen in these Session releases.
Its a philosophy that implores the League fan base to learn more about the game, its lore, and its history, while also inversely including the fan’s creations as a platform to grow the community further. Its a self-perpetuating system where fan’s are given strong foundations to create off of, which further builds up the game’s player base, which further draws more fan participation.
Its genius, and its something I don’t think any studio has managed to do as well as Riot Games. Even a company like Valve, which is known for encouraging and rewarding player interaction outside of simple gameplay, couldn’t hold a candle to Riot Games’ efficacy in building strong relationships with its player base and creators. Even if those relationships sometimes start and end with “rito plz nerf…”