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shAti The Pyre's Daughter

Subject​: love, betrayal, tradition

Audience:​ League of Legends players (32 million unique monthly players as of 2014). Riot does not release demographic information.

Story Objective:​ As an unwilling sacrifice to uphold peace and tradition, Shati descends upon Summoner's Rift to seek vengeance upon all. But before Shati became the Pyre's Daughter, she was a political tool used to create trust between neighboring villages in Ionia.

Media Overview:​ Digital and eventual physical graphic novel release (across seven issues), Login theme, QR code Egg Hunt for In-game visual modifiers, and Champion Release

CLIENT

Riot Games, producers of popular MOBA, multiplayer online battle arena, League of Legends. Known for: K-pop music videos, rejecting handshakes, insanely produced concerts, Marvel comics, story cinematics, an animated series, a card game, the most viewed esport of ten years, and much more. Their styles are infinite and the mediums they tell stories in continuing to expand.

World

Shati's story takes place in a previously unheard of region of Ionia, one of Runeterra's continents. Runeterra is the universe Riot Games created for their leading title, League of Legends. The universe is expansive. While most of the action takes place on the main continents of Runeterra, there are also threats from space and alternate dimensions. Ionia is but one continent of Runeterra. What it lacks in technology and military might, it makes up with diverse cultures, magic, fauna and natural landscapes. Within Ionia, two villages along the same river are connected through the resource of magic, which they harvest to stay afloat.

Below the Placidium, smaller villages struggle over what remains of the magic left over. Low and Above are two such villages marked by their soul trees.

When one village takes too much from the land, the effects can be felt in neighboring villages. Magic follows the rivers of Ionia and seeps through the ground.

Magic maintains environmental stability. Without it, crops do not grow, and rock collapses.

Geopolitical tensions and magic serve as a backdrop to Shati's story. Tensions between two villages over resources are seen not directly in exposition but instead in the design of their environments.

Characters and Colors

Shati - In her late thirties, Shati has been married twice already. Marriage has little sentimental value in the Above and is used to create partnerships of that scale in importance with age. Shati is an ornithologist and is quick to inform others of her passion. She is insecure yet extroverted. She is represented by yellows and soft oranges.

Gwell - Gwell has traveled from Low as Tyr's personal guard. She is a skilled fighter and has earned the title of a Barren, by refusing love, sleeping on stones and dedicating herself to her profession. Gwell is softspoken and selfless. She is represented by purples and fuchsia.

Tyr - Tyr is from a family of foreign diplomats, which works out for him because he is able to explore the fauna of Ionia as a botanist, his true passion. Tyr is conflict avoidant. He is detached yet incredibly empathetic. He is represented by greens.

Images taken and altered from Warren Elli's TREES.

Media Plan: Phase One Comic Storytelling

Why Comics? The market is there! But the audience is aging-

Readers experience both plot lines at the same time, flipping back and forth as themes relate. Chronologically, the Pyre narrative (Cyan) begins days after the Marriage narrative (Purple) ends.

Dialogue/Voice Example- Excerpt 5: Shati consults with the Elder upon learning of the Pyre

Shati (Anger): Why?
Elder: Sacrifice keeps our culture and past alive.
shati (mocking italicized text): in what way does a woman dying keep your culture alive?
Elder: Sacrifice, not dying. Of all rituals this is the most important.
Shati (Anger): It's making your People suffer.
Elder: Yes Shati. But, Once you suffer for a story it becomes real. When you inflict suffering on yourself, you are given a choice, either the story is real, or you are a fool.
Shati: But you aren't infliciting it on yourself, you are inflicting it on me.
Elder: And when you inflict suffering on another, you are also given a choice. Either the story is true, or you are the villain.
Shati: Then you are the villain.
Elder: Maybe. But try speaking your truth to this village. Try convincing them they are fools and villains. The only change this will bring is the manner by which you die and the relationship the Above has with our people.
Shati: They will change their minds, they will see.
Elder: The only thing that will change is how they see you. You will force them to further entrench themselves in their beliefs. Shati, you must burn.
Shati: (nothing)

Style Guide: Flow

Transition by topic and theme.
Transition through visual symbols.

Style Guide: Duotone

As alluded to in the characters, the comics will be primarily duo-tone. Duotone is an inexpensive way to add color and emotion to images through using the superimposition of one contrasting color against another. The duotone style that I wish to employ differs slightly by allowing for shades of colors, but still just one color, in addition to black or white contrast. The effect of duotone is quite dramatic and can allow for focus on important emotions as well as clarity in who is speaking.

Traditional duotone uses dramatic contrasts between black/white and one other color. An example of traditional duotone is found in the modified image of the Login screen. I see traditional duotone being most useful to punctuate chapters via intense Issue Covers. Tones and colors are often utilized to express depth, but when duotone is used, the contrast creates focus and intensity. Less dramatic duotone use will be throughout the rest of the comic sequence.

Here is a more traditional, but not quite, Duotone version of a panel from below. Notice how little details is in the image. While much of that detail is gone because of the program I used, less detail is an intentional style that draws focus to the character and whatever drama is clear.

A consistent, but more readable version of duotone allows for a broader range of emotions and storytelling. Aligning characters with colors and familiarizing readers with duotone themes allows for some creative emotional tinkering. With readers acclimated to the style, artists can they change the rules for dramatic impact. Gwell and Shati can occupy their characters colors, purple and yellow, but then share a scene of intimacy the has their own colors dominating panels with individuals in it, but pinks appearing in panels that are shared by the two characters.

These Duotone styled panels are used excellently by Warren Ellis in TREES.

Media Plan Phase Two: Login Screen and QR's

The Login screen appears upon launching the League of Legends client. A two to three minute theme plays above a static image that sometimes has particle effects. The particle effects of the Shati log-in screen will eventually reveal a QR code in the flames at the end of the theme.

The QR code can be more subtle, but this would be a model to show functionality. Go ahead and capture the image with your smartphone. You may have to zoom in.

Each server will have a different QR code. Each links to a pile of ashes or an image of Shati that can be sifted through to find a letter or number. There will be nine letters total spelling: VENGEANCE. Upon learning the word, users can input the word into the client, where they redeem codes to unlock a visual effect for their games. Following Andrea Phillips' guidelines for transmedia storytelling the amount of people that piece together the QR code breadcrumbs will be low, despite the efforts needed to make this look good. Efforts for the production of this breadcrumb phase will be paid off upon the redemption of the code and the visibility of achievement that will undoubtedly carry some in-group nerd clout.

This is the screen players can use to submit their codes.
Upon submitting the correct code the screen will ignite and Users will receive an In-game visual effect.

Upon submitting the codes, players will have access to a toggle on feature to add animations to champion deaths in game. Riot demoed a similar concept during a 2015 event. When a champion dies in game they typically have their own specific animation with a quote, of many. These traditional animations would be temporarily overridden by toggling on the Shati death animation leading up to release.

The Shati death animations will differ slightly from the animation linked above. Other players will be able to see the Shati death animations as long as the player getting the kill has input the VENGEANCE code. By seeing a dramatic death animation that turns an enemy champion into a pile of ashes that slowly disappear in the wind as that player re-spawns, players will become curious. This creation of in-the-know and out-of-the-know groups will help spread excitement for the release of Shati in phase three.

Media Plan Phase Three: Champion Release

Shati, the Pyre's Daughter, emerges from the flames of the Rift, the battlefield of League of Legends to enact her vengeance with no heed to what is just. Shati's game-play will first appear in the beta environment that Riot uses to test characters. Her reveal will be done over a live stream populated by professional players and artists that have worked on her bio. Throughout the stream gameplay designers will discuss her kit, referring to the set of abilities that a character can use within the game, while artists and designers can discuss her aesthetic and comics.

The champion release will follow two weeks later, allowing for last minute tweaks based off of community feedback. She will be available for play afterwards. Shati's gameplay will revolve around the ability to emerge from ashes that spawn around the map based upon where enemy champions have died. As her core ability, instant map mobility, this would be her ultimate, most powerful. The Cinders left behind by champion deaths would be the same as the Cinders left behind in the death animations earned from unraveling the VENGEANCE code. The death animations would be disabled upon the release of Shati for clarity. Players who unlocked the death animations would receive an honorary Icon to add to their profile as compensation.

As champions have four abilities, one of which the ultimate described above, Shati's other abilities would also be tied into her story. Shati will have a ranged fire attack that can also burn bushes, in game grass that champions can hide in, as her primary source of damage. Another ability will interact with burnt bushes to create Cinders to teleport to using her ultimate. This ability can double by being used twice to explode Cinders doing damage in a large zone, but depleting the Cinders. Her final ability is a close ranged Stun that has Shati strike with Viper's venom.

Timeline and Costs

It is worth noting that the Media release timeline is Riot's marketing timeline as they primarily rely upon earned media. Some budget will be set aside for paid marketing.
All aspects have been placed into one of four budget categories.
Created By
Rodger Caudill
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