Arcane: How Netflix’s animated series went beyond being a video game and became an innovation – Movies & TV Shows on DTF

After its resounding success on Annie, Arcane became an Emmy nominee for its compelling story and illustrative animation style.

Netflix’s Arcane, based on Riot Games’ popular MOBA video game League of Legends, became the season’s best-known animated series after swept away the Annie Awards. It bodes well for an Emmy, thanks to the compelling story and engaging illustration style of Paris-based animation studio Fortiche.

It was intimidating to take on, but we wanted to do something different. We figured out what made the game and the characters so popular, and then we created a series for ourselves.

showrunner Christian Linke

Christian co-created the series with fellow veteran and executive producer Alex Yee.

The secret to their success was that the dystopian series was built around a rivalry between badass sisters Jinx (Ella Purnell) and Vi (Hailee Steinfeld), who are part of a war between the prosperous city of Piltover and the oppressed city of Zaun.

Jinx has a lot to do with her strong personality and meta-perspective among players. But we didn’t have anything visual to lean on. We watched Game of Thrones and Peaky Blinders: dramatic stories that turned into fantasy and science fiction. The timing was right for us.

executive producer Alex Yee

For animation, the creators turned to the company Fortiche, which has already managed to distinguish itself with cinematic clips and music videos for the Riot game, specializing in cool 2D effects. But the demands of the ambitious nine-episode series required a significant increase in pace while staying true to the organic-looking aesthetic. However, it was so successful that Riot recently co-owned the animation studio that is working on the second season.

While Riot set the style for the creation of the world (Piltover’s light and mechanical art deco vibe versus Zaun’s dark, phosphorescent look), Fortiche created a mixture of expertly textured 3D characters and hand-drawn digital backgrounds. They continued to use 2D effects in the fight scenes and created different animation styles to portray them.

My main goal was to keep these human effects and make sure that the world always makes sense for the artists, so that their work is meaningful. Christian had a clear vision of the balance between reality and handicraft.

animation director Barthelemy Maunoury

According to Linke, Fortiche was always trying to keep up with imperfections: scratches or smears on the lens during an explosion, or a flicker of strange-looking action.

Fortiche was strong in cinematography and in making everything feel human. This stylization allowed more mature elements to be explored.

Christian Linke

This included conveying Jinx’s manic mental state through effects such as “glitching” and “film scratches” (the effect forms horizontal lines of film damage – approx. transl.), which were then scanned into a computer.

For us, Jinx wrote on real tape, so the line had to be sharp, full of intense anxiety. This gives a great visual style to express her mental state.

Barthelemy Maunoury

Netflix has submitted a key sixth episode, “When These Walls Are Falling Down,” in which Jinx reaches the point of no return and her violent tendencies are unleashed, to the Emmys.

“There are so many strong moments in this episode. This is Wai’s first meeting [криминального авторитета] Silko, Vi and Jinx’s first reunion, and the first time we see Jinx as a powerful fighter.

Christian Linke

Monoury perceived Jinx as a traumatized child with insecure body language and a desire to prove something. At the same time, she lost all sympathy for people.

The sixth episode was stressful for Jinx and a pivotal moment. Her reunion with her sister does not last long, and they are attacked by the Pyros. [заунские мятежники]. Jinx returns to insane, murderous mode, and we have a shot of Vi witnessing this. It was a very touching moment for me too.

Barthelemy Maunoury

The fight at the end of the episode contained more dynamic camera moves than any other.

We learned snowboarding and surfing because the Pyros have this flying board. We wanted the characters to swirl, something very 360-degree, fluid and airy.

Barthelemy Maunoury

Expect Jinx’s exploration to continue in Season 2:

She is the character that reassured us that this set of champions was the right choice for the series. You walk the edge, wanting her to be irreverent and fearless, while still showing her unstable and vulnerable side. Biggest problem: Can we make her into someone who recklessly attacks people and still encourage viewers to empathize throughout the show?

Christian Linke

More translations of various interviews about Riot, Fortish and Arcane in the VK group:

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Arcane: How Netflix’s animated series went beyond being a video game and became an innovation – Movies & TV Shows on DTF

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