League of Legends is one of the most popular games in the world of esports – professional, competitive gaming – but its publisher Riot Games has also done some very interesting things around music. In 2017, the game spawned a virtual metal band called Pentakill, who topped the iTunes metal charts. Then, in 2018, Riot Games launched another virtual artist, K-Pop group K/DA, whose track ‘Pop/Stars’ has generated 275m views of its official video on YouTube.
Now the company is at it again. Its latest virtual band is called True Damage, and while its characters are taken from League of Legends, the real-life musicians behind those characters (think of Damon Albarn and 2D from Gorillaz as the comparison) include Latin star Becky G, K-Pop artist Soyeon of the group (G)I-dle and US musician and actor Keke Palmer. The genre this time round is hip-hop, and the characters have even had their outfits (‘skins’ in game parlance) designed by Louis Vuitton, according to The Verge.
Teaser videos have already been tweeted by the League of Legends account (here and here) while the ‘official skins trailer’ has been watched more than a million times on YouTube since being uploaded yesterday. We’ll await the debut of True Damage’s actual music with interest. As a reminder, League of Legends itself is a huge platform to promote a band. Riot Games recently announced that the game averages eight million ‘peak concurrent players’ every day, making it the biggest PC game in the world.
That’s just the base for the game’s popularity as an esport though. Last November’s World Championship finals were watched by nearly 100 million people online. Which is why True Damage’s launch has been carefully timed: this year’s League of Legends World Championship is already underway, with the finals due to take place on 10 November in Paris. K/DA came to the world’s attention in a startling virtual+real performance at the opening ceremony of last year’s finals, so we suspect True Damage may be serving up something special at this year’s event. And courtesy of Riot Games’ deal with distributor FUGA, we can expect the band’s music to be on all available streaming platforms in the not-too-distant future too.