Riot Games announced that K-pop group NewJeans will perform the 2023 League of Legends World Championship anthem, “GODS.” The tournament is set to kick off with play-ins on October 10 in Seoul, South Korea. The anthem will release on October 3 at 10pm PT / October 4 at 2pm KST.
NewJeans collabs with Riot Games
“The Worlds Anthem is the rallying cry for our community every year, and we’re so excited to partner with NewJeans to deliver this incredible moment,” said Carrie Dunn, global head of creative, esports at Riot Games. “Between Worlds taking place in Korea and NewJeans’ meteoric rise, this partnership felt fated as a true cultural celebration. ‘GODS’ juxtaposes epic and intense production elements with NewJeans’ beautiful and powerful vocals – conveying both the grind and the glory that awaits our players at Worlds.”
Riot Games principal composer Sebastien Najand and Alex Seaver of Mako wrote “GODS.” Seaver has a long history working with Riot Games. His co-writing credits include “Legends Never Die,” “RISE,” “Awaken,” and multiple songs on Netflix’s Arcane soundtrack.
NewJeans is a relatively new K-pop girl group, debuting in July 2022. The group’s name is a double-entendre alluding to a fresh take on a timeless sound and image. The quintet holds the Guinness World Record for the K-pop act to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify in the shortest amount of time since debut. Riot tapping the group for its Worlds anthem (and opening ceremony) will be a major draw for live audiences in Seoul.
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“GODS” also marks the tenth anniversary of League of Legends Worlds anthems. NewJeans will join top artists like Imagine Dragons, Zedd and Lil Nas X who collaborated with Riot for its nine previous anthems. This collaboration will be the latest example of Riot’s investments into the intersection of music, games and fandom.
Like some past anthems, the music video for “GODS” will tell the story of League of Legends’ pro players. This year, the video will follow the story of Korean pro player Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu. Deft’s pro career began a decade ago. Last year, the bot laner led DRX to victory at Worlds 2022. Notably, Deft overcame his longtime rival, former high school classmate, and esports legend Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok of T1 Esports.
“We don’t want to spoil too much of the music video, but expect to see familiar faces and unforgettable moments reimagined as we follow Deft’s story from its beginning in 2013 to his victorious World Championship last year,” Dunn said. “Allies becoming adversaries is a story all athletes can relate to, and we think ‘GODS’ will set the stage for what’s bound to be an incredible Worlds.”
Last year, Deft’s underdog victory in an epic five-game grand finals lead to new viewership records according to Esports Charts. However, San Francisco is an inconvenient time zone for European and Asian viewers to watch live, which kept the overall event from reaching its full potential.
Worlds 2023 could see both Deft (now on Dplus) facing off again against Faker and T1 — if Faker’s wrist holds up. Holding the event in Korea will make League of Legends Worlds 2023 more accessible for key regions — particularly local fans invested in Deft and Faker’s rivalry.