Convergence: A League of Legends Story is a highly anticipated spin-off game that delves into the story of Ekko, a fan favourite from the MOBA. After our Convergence preview, we had the chance to sit down with Eric Angelillo, the creative director and co-art director, as well as Thomas Mir, the senior producer and Daniel Menard, the chief executive officer, to pull back the curtain on this action-filled platformer and learn more about Ekko within this world.
Ekko is the main focus of the game, and though he is a fan favourite, there were a lot of technical reasons that Double Stallion wanted to focus on the story of Ekko and on the abilities that this specific character has.
“Time travel stories are always super exciting, we see it in movies, media and stuff. For a game, we approached it in a way where we really wanted to center it around the character building. The thesis of the narrative was around ‘What does it mean to meet yourself and, like, who you turned into, and the fact that that image doesn’t always match up to who you think you are when you are young’.”
Ekko’s lore was another major reason why Double Stallion wanted to work with this specific character. He’s young, good hearted, and sees an entire world through his own eyes.
“Ekko, compared to other champions, is fairly young. He is a teenager, and so it’s that dynamic of the two Ekkos but one is almost like an older brother, and he is like “I need you, to help with this thing” and it’s sort of navigating that relationship. The story is really centered on that.
“That’s how we pushed the world of Zaun to go beyond what some people have come to know it as. We punched up the colours and made it a really vibrant city because that is how Ekko sees it.”
Incorporating the world through Ekko’s eyes sets the pace for the story itself, weaving a narrative into this world. Through beautiful cutscenes and optional bits of story that can be picked up and read, you end up learning so much about the lore and background of Ekko, and how he interacts with other characters.
Ekko’s character and the story behind time-traveling and knowing your future self is one that became the main focus of the game, where you are able to not only talk to yourself, but call out to your future self, and look to him as a guidance or a bother. Ekko is a character that can even surprise himself, as there is quite a difference between who he is and who he will become.
“One of the more exciting parts in development was to think about what is Ekko’s kit in League of Legends and how can we adapt it to an action platformer. That is part of the reason why we gravitated towards him as a champion as we felt that just has so much potential in this genre.”
The mechanics themselves were one of the first aspects that Double Stallion started tinkering around with, trying to make sure that the rewind feature could be something fun, before building the heart of the game and adding in the story.
The rewind feature is the main focus of the game, as Ekko is able to rewind time, moving back if he is being attacked or attempting a hard jump that you have missed. The rewind becomes something that players really rely on. Rewind does cost rewind juice, which can be collected throughout the level and is limited, so making the decision of when to rewind and what parts need rewinding is a big part of the level to level game.
“There have been games with rewind before, but never that have really leveraged combat in action in the way that Convergence does. We had this joke about how when you play it for long sessions, and then you go to another game, you reach for the trigger to rewind, but you can’t do it. And so, it’s kind of upsetting that not every game has this function.”
Double Stallion started working with Riot Forge on this game, and found them to be very supportive of their work. At one point, three years into game development, they had a playable version of the game that felt good, so they were able to show this version to Riot Forge, but they wanted a bit more time to continue their vision.
“And they did, which gave us time to add more depth, fix a few things, and more side paths. That whole thing – I have worked with many companies that would not have allowed you.”
This support goes beyond asking for more time to create a more tailored experience;
“The VO work that has been done on Convergence has just been amazing – the ability to kind of, for an experience that players relate to, to be able to hear the character in your language, in the way you have been experiencing it, has been such an amazing experience for people in the team and people we have seen today.”
Double Stallion wanted to create an adaptive experience that players can use to “build the type of experience [they] want to have.” This lead them to create a bunch of toggleable settings, from different difficulties to different ways to change how difficult specifically fighting or specifically platforming is.
“The time mechanic really helps the experience be more accessible for a larger range of players. Our level designers worked hard to make several layers so that each level was done at least three times with different obstacles that can be tweaked to whatever players want to play. You can even toggle, let’s say you love brawlers and you want to dig into the combat, you can tweak those settings independently, or vice versa.”
When it came to creating the game, Double Stallion had a good picture of what they wanted to do with Ekko’s story and what they wanted to include.
“Obviously, this isn’t a kitchen sink kinda scenario where we are trying to cram everything in. We did not want any characters to come in, that fans loved, as an afterthought. Each interaction and set piece with those characters are meaningful. It’s a crafted experience. All killer, no filler.”
The love that has gone into Convergence is clear to see, and with The Mageseeker already here and Song of Nunu coming later this year, the League of Legends universe is progressing along very nicely indeed.