Game developer Riot Games has announced that the 2023 League of Legends World Championship anthem will be performed by K-pop group NewJeans.
The new anthem, called ‘GODS’, will debut October 3rd at 10 pm PT (2 am BST).
This year’s League of Legends World Championship is being held in South Korea, with the finals taking place at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, the country’s largest indoor venue.
Riot Games has become known for its major musical collaborations that hype up its upcoming global esports events. NewJeans joins the likes of Lil Nas X, Zedd and Imagine Dragons as previous League of Legends world anthem artists.
Formed in 2022, NewJeans is a rising K-pop group that is part of major record label and entertainment company HYBE, the same company that houses other well-known K-pop artists such as BTS. Despite only being active for just over a year, the group has placed first on the US Billboard 200 album charts and 15th on the UK official album charts.
The K-pop group entered the esports zeitgeist earlier this year when Fnatic’s VALORANT player ‘Boaster’ performed a NewJeans ‘OMG’ dance during his walkout at VCT LockIn.
According to a release, the League of Legends Worlds music video will follow the story of Korean pro player Kim ‘Deft’ Hyuk-kyu, detailing his journey from high school to winning Worlds 2022.
The new song is written by Riot Games principal composer Sebastien Najand and Alex Seaver of Mako. The duo’s co-writing credits include the likes of previous Worlds anthems such as ‘Legends Never Die’ and ‘RISE’, as well as multiple songs on the Arcane soundtrack, Riot Games’ popular animated TV show.
Information regarding the song’s genre has not been revealed. However, in the announcement, NewJeans noted that this will be a departure from its typical genre and sound, which is normally more mid-tempo pop.
Carrie Dunn, Global Head of Creative, Esports at Riot Games, commented: “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.
“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.”
This isn’t the first time Riot Games has looked to utilise K-pop for its esports ecosystem. Last year, alongside Lil Nas X, Jackson Wang of K-pop group GOT7 performed at the League of Legends World Championships in North America.
Moreover, the company created its own virtual K-pop group called K/DA in 2018, the last year in which League of Legends Worlds was held in Korea.