Plagiarism constitutes a significant transgression within art, and it’s a regrettable reality that some artists may find themselves unwitting victims of such unethical practices, even from the most unexpected sources.
Riot Games using fan arts for Wild Rift in-game icons
A recent controversy within the League of Legends community has brought this issue to the forefront, as fans have accused Riot Games of allegedly ‘stealing’ fan-created art for the introduction of new champion icons in the Wild Rift Patch 4.4.
In this forthcoming patch, Riot plans to introduce new champion icons, two of which are centered on Zyra and Evelynn. However, the astute eyes of some community members immediately identified the artwork used in these icons as eerily similar to existing fan art. These fans contend that Riot has essentially taken this fan art, made slight alterations, and is now offering the modified images as in-game icons for sale.
What further complicates this situation is the claim made by yet another member of the community: the original artists supposedly never granted consent for their artwork to be used as official icons within the game.
According to reports, these artists contact with Riot Games to explore potential resolutions to this dispute. Intriguingly, this incident is not the first of its kind involving Riot Games, as the company had been previously accused of using fan art without the artist’s permission in the creation of in-game assets.
A notable example from 2021 involved allegations that Riot had utilized artwork from various artists to create the “Playful Pup” emote for League of Legends. This matter was eventually addressed by the game’s developers, and former game director Jonathan “Bellissimoh” Belliss acknowledged the error.
He also explained that Riot frequently collaborates with external artists when creating in-game icons, which introduces the possibility of some artists passing off others’ work as their own in attempts to have it featured in the game.
The response from Riot Games regarding these allegations is still pending, leaving fans eager for an official statement. As the controversy unfolds, there is a reasonable expectation that Riot may opt to remove the contested icons, thereby navigating the delicate terrain of intellectual property rights in the world of digital art.