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How Riot made the iconic Worlds 2022 Opening Ceremonies

By Nicholas James


Feb 22, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

The Worlds 2022 Opening Ceremonies were the biggest performance of the League of Legends year, here’s how Riot Games pulled them off.

The World Championships are the biggest event of the year, and it’s always given the scale to match its status. In 2022, massive artists Jackson Wang and Lil Nas X were brought on to step up the production. In a recent video, the League of Legends developer took fans behind the scenes. It shows the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of producing an event of this size.

Worlds 2022 Opening Ceremonies behind the scenes

A Youtube video published by Riot Games takes fans behind the scenes of the opening ceremonies to reveal what goes into the visual and auditory spectacle that precedes the Grand Finals every year. 2022 included bringing Jackson Wang and Lil Nas X, two massive pop music stars, to headline the performance. From the beginning to arrange choreography to the sudden addition of major talent to the plans, and everything in between, Riot shows it all.

In the video, Riot Games employees and collaborators talk about the process of working towards a Worlds Grand Finals. A key struggle is finding the right artists for the job. According to the video, Lil Nas X was one of the prime candidates. So he was priority one when it came to putting a voice to the year’s esports anthem. Luckily, the breakout artist was enthusiastic and excited to collaborate with the world’s largest video game.

Another central focus of the show is the physical aspects that make up the stunning performance. In 2022, Riot had a 270-degree stage surrounded by a holoscreen. The use of holoscreens to add gorgeous visual effects to dance and music numbers has become a pattern for Riot Games at the Worlds finals. Last year, Riot was dealing with five times the number of projectors compared to 2021.

Bringing champions to life

As the stars of the enormous MOBA, it’s no surprise that champions take center stage amidst the Worlds finals. Riot had six champions to showcase and make the central element of the show. In Lil Nas X’s music video, several champions are depicted as enormous mechs striding through San Francisco. This idea that League of Legends was taking over the city led to the use of enormous vertical holoscreens.

Champions were literally larger than life, and importing that sense of presence into the arena was important. In order to do this, the champions were projected onto the floor-to-ceiling holoscreens. They were so well incorporated that at one point, Lil Nas X is raised twelve feet in the air, appearing to be lifted in the hand of an enormous mechanized Azir.

These opening ceremonies always try to push the boundaries of esports ceremony, and Riot Games continues to be at the forefront. With Worlds 2023 returning to South Korea, fans can expect another dazzling show. South Korea is one of the best competitive regions, and esport is incredibly popular. Given its propensity to try and one-up itself each year, 2023 should be just another visual feast.


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