The League of Legends World Championship (Worlds) is an annual professional tournament hosted by Riot Games. Each year, Riot Games brings Worlds to a different location and partners with local talent to create the official anthem. As Worlds 2023 will be hosted in South Korea, it only made sense for Riot Games to turn to one of the country’s most popular groups: NewJeans. The official Worlds 2023 anthem, titled “GODS,” was released on October 3.
“GODS” feat. NewJeans
An ominous choir opens this synth-laden track, setting the tone for the broody, rise-to-the-top storyline. Consistent percussion carries the rhythm, complemented by NewJeans’ overlain melodies. With “GODS,” the girls of NewJeans — MINJI, HANNI, DANIELLE, HAERIN, AND HYEIN — explore a completely new sound, starkly different from their existing discography. The dark sound of the instrumental contrasts with the group’s layered harmonies to channel a sense of greatness.
“It was a new experience for all of us,” NewJeans said about the song. “It was fun to try a new genre and sound. Through this collaboration, we are happy to present a song that incorporates both NewJeans’ and League of Legends’ unique colors. We hope it brings you a new sense of empowerment!”
According to a Riot Games press release, “GODS” tells the story of South Korean pro player Kim Hyuk-kyu, or Deft. The music video, which was created in partnership with PSYOP, follows the development of Deft’s relationship with League of Legends, from discovering the game in high school in 2013 to an astounding performance with DRX at Worlds 2022. It features characters and tools familiar to League of Legends fans as the pro players are pictured both in and out of the game.
Fans of League of Legends might recognize familiar faces in the music video, including Rekkles, PawN, Doran, and Zeka, among many others. Most notably, the video highlights the longstanding rivalry between Deft and Faker, one of South Korea’s most successful pro-players. For those who keep up with the yearly World Championships, reliving the tale of Deft’s rise to success after a decade of perseverance is nothing short of inspirational.
For the musical production of “GODS,” Riot Games enlisted Sebastien Najand and Mako. Both contributed to previous League of Legends releases, including “Legends Never Die,” “RISE,” “Enemy,” and “Playground,” among numerous others. “GODS” features a grandiose instrumental that recalls previous Worlds anthems, an appropriate soundtrack for one of the biggest esports tournaments in the world. The addition of NewJeans’ vocal colors only adds to the song’s awe-inspiring nature. “‘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,” said Carrie Dunn, Global Head of Creative, Esports at Riot Games.
League of Legends World Championship
The annual League of Legends World Championship is scheduled to run from October 10 to November 19. Every year, the tournament is held in a different country and calls on a new local artist to perform the anthem — previous performers include the likes of Lil Nas X, PVRIS, and Zedd. A group of professional teams compete for the Summoner’s Cup trophy and a cash prize. Additionally, the winning team receives customized skins in the game for their chosen champions, to memorialize their win.
Fans of K-pop will recognize League of Legends’ musical history for its association with K/DA, a K-pop-inspired, four-member virtual girl group based on four of the game’s most popular female champions. The group is voiced by (G)-Idle members Soyeon and Miyeon, Madison Beer, and Jaira Burns and performed at the opening ceremony of the League of Legends World Championship in 2018.
With the release of “GODS” featuring NewJeans, Riot Games continues to expand its catalog featuring global creative and musical talent. Starting on October 10, 22 of the world’s best professional League of Legends teams will compete for the title of Worlds 2023 champions.
Interested in other recent music releases by your favorite K-pop artists? Read about Jung Kook’s recent collaboration with Jack Harlow, “3D,” here!