Players, a mockumentary about a fictional League of Legends pro team struggling to claim its first world championship, was first revealed in 2021 (opens in new tab) as the next show from the creators of the brilliant American Vandal (opens in new tab). Today Paramount+ released the first trailer for the show, and boy, it sure is on the money.
Creamcheese is the top player on Team Fugitive, a (not real) LCS pro team that's made multiple trips to Worlds, but never managed to actually secure the big prize. Now, with its 27-year-old superstar on the verge of aging out, Fugitive signs Organizm, a decade-younger prodigy being positioned as the new face of the team—and of the entire pro LoL scene. Conflict almost immediately ensues: Creamcheese reveals ugly insecurities, while Organizm struggles under the crushing pressure of expectations.
Tales of rocky generational shifts in pro sports franchises are nothing new, and it's fair to say that this one will likely work out in the end—the entire show is literally about a young hotshot and a seasoned veteran who "put their egos aside and work together," after all. It's not exactly subtle—the segments on the early days of Fugitive in particular promise a lot of "cringe," as the kids like to say—but the initial reaction to the video on YouTube is largely positive. It will be interesting to see how far the show is willing to go with its portrayal of real-world problems in top-tier esports, and whether it will skirt or embrace them, as Netflix's MMO comedy series Mythic Quest sometimes did (opens in new tab).
I said when Players was announced that Riot's participation in the production of the series could give it "a sheen of authenticity" and might even allow for the participation of real LoL teams, and that appears to be the case: Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses both show up in the trailer. There's also a clip of a tweet from esports documentary maker Gbay99, who said on Twitter that he worked behind the scenes on the show and "a ton of effort" was made to ensure it was an accurate representation of the pro LoL scene over the years. Also, that it's very funny.
I got to work on this behind the scenes in a few super cool ways and let me just say; A TON of effort on this show went in to putting together an accurate portrayal of what Pro LoL has actually been like over the years. Also it's funny as fuck. A must watch :) https://t.co/M5aApDbEKMMay 9, 2022
We shall see—I can't say the trailer had me in stitches, but I had similar reservations about Mythic Quest and it turned out to be quite good. Hopefully Players can pull off the same trick.