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State of the art: Lil Nas X merges real-life and virtual staging for Worlds opener

Beat that. It took the League of Legends team at Riot Games to show the live entertainment industry how to put on a gig

The League of Legends world championship opening ceremonies are known for their impressive displays and this year’s event did not disappoint

Riot and Lil Nas X put on quite the show at the grand opening ceremony for 2022’s League of Legends world championship also known simply as Worlds.

Lil Nas X digital gig experiences have been gathering pace through the year and the artist has been involved in promotional content for League of Legends for some time, creating a new anthem for the contest and also creating a new skin for a champion. On top of this Lil Nas X promised that the 2022 opening ceremony would be one to remember.

In the finale to the opening ceremony, Lil Nas X took to the huge stage littered with LED lights to perform the League of Legends anthem and the performance was indeed a memorable one. Not only was the artist accompanied by a series of backing dancers but also huge holograms could be seen on stage. Finally just after the championship cup was revealed on stage the performer was hoisted up into the air with a hologram projected over the spectacle to make it appear as though he was in the grip of a giant mech.

The crowd both at the event and livestreaming around the world, lapped it up.

A technical tour-de-force 

The creative director for Riot esports stated that “Any time you hoist a cultural superstar in the air for your finale, there’s anxiety in that”. Despite the apprehension, it would appear that the performance was executed extremely well and an incredible technological performance was given to those viewing at home and live at the event.

Riot has used holograms and augmented reality in the past for its live events, in 2017 a massive augmented reality dragon rendered by Reality Engine was featured in the opening ceremony where those attending live or at home could watch on the screens as it flew around the stadium. This year the team used 3D Holonet technology which it has also used previously but this year’s event took things to the next level with the inclusion of the hologram mech hand. Last year the show was fully digital in light of the pandemic, so this performance well and truly marked a return for the live show.

Worlds is a massive event for League fans, with two final League of Legends teams battling it out to get their hands on the coveted trophy. While determining a winner may be the main reason for the event, the opening ceremony is always something fans look forward to. Next year the event is going to have to go big to top this year’s mechanical mech moment.

Written By

Paige Cook is a writer with a multi-media background. She has experience covering video games and technology and also has freelance experience in video editing, graphic design, and photography. Paige is a massive fan of the movie industry and loves a good TV show, if she is not watching something interesting then she's probably playing video games or buried in a good book. Her latest addiction is virtual photography and currently spends far too much time taking pretty pictures in games rather than actually finishing them.

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