Censorship to League of Legends Jinx’ top in Arcane is another example of Riot Games’ shift to political correctness; to appease cancel culture.
Over the last decade, League of Legends and Riot Games have become household names. First established in 2006, Riot Games started developing the free-to-play M.O.B.A with in-game purchases as their primary source of revenue. The game was originally launched with forty characters.
Since that game’s release, League of Legends has seen a multitude of updates; including the removal of items, or alterations to characters and their skins. A majority of these changes came after receiving public criticism for sexual harassment, discrimination, smoking, and sensitive issues.
The success of Riot Games’ latest show on Netflix, Arcane, caused many League of Legends and Wild Rift players to question where beloved character Jinx’s signature look is. Despite being an origin story for VI, Caitlyn, Ekko, Singed, Heimerdinger, Viktor, Jayce, and Jinx; most of the characters’ designs resembled their League of Legends counterparts.
Out of all the characters previously mentioned, only Jinx’s design changed drastically. In Arcane, Jinx is shown wearing a halter top and vertically striped pants. In League of Legends, Jinx is renowned for wearing a bikini top, shorts, and fishnets. So the question arises of whose decision it was to change Jinx’s appearance? Did Netflix insist on the alterations to Jinx to give the show a TV-14 rating?
This change could be due to one of three reasons. The first reason is select individuals’ outcry over the sexualization of Jinx. Over the last two years, Netflix has been under fire for sexualizing minors with Cuties, and discrimination towards gender after Dave Chappelle’s The Closer.
Jinx’s alteration seems more like a move to avoid controversy, rather than an outfit alteration like Vis. However, Riot Games could have easily made the changes to avoid confrontation due to its ongoing legal battles.
Riot Games Controversy
In 2018, Riot Games came under fire for gender discrimination and sexual harassment. These allegations resulted in the two-month suspension of COO, Scott Gelb. Additionally, Riot would go on to hold a Resume’s workshop at PAX West 2018; only for women and non-binary people.
Following Kotaku’s story of the sexual misconduct, gender discrimination, and hostile work environment; Riot employees filed a lawsuit against the company. This lawsuit was filed seeking financial compensation for unpaid wages and damages.
After the threat of a walkout, Riot Games settled the class-action suit. The settlement would include at least $10 million USD in damages to women that had previously worked or still worked at Riot Games the previous five years.
After the 2020 Me Too Movement and the California DFEH investigation, the prior claimants sought higher reparations. Because of ongoing issues, Alienware would pull out of their partnership in 2021.
Game Changes for Appeasement
Over the last decade, Riot Games has made a variety of adjustments to League of Legends. Prior to Kotaku’s article regarding sexual misconduct, Riot Games changed the appearance and characteristics of Evelyn. Her new voice line embraced female empowerment, and eliminated overly sexual comments.
Later in 2018, Riot Games would go on to update Akali, altering her Mortal Kombat-like character image and skins. Since the update, Akali has received more female-empowering skins, and is an active member of KDA. This update was supposedly inspired by outdated visuals and gameplay changes. Despite being reworked in 2018, Akali would receive another rework in 2021 before other champions.
In 2014, Graves’ Cigar was removed from the game due to tobacco laws. The cigar would be returned in 2017 after community outrage, but this would not be the final alteration to a Graves Skin.
Last year, Riot Games renamed the popular Mafia skin line to Crime City skins. This alteration came during the 2020 Mafia trials in Italy. The alteration was supposedly due to cultural sensitivity issues. Although the skins have been renamed, Riot Games Team Fight Tactics addresses the Mafia/Crime City skin line as Syndicate. This change was requested by League of Legends players through the Reddit forum.
Do you believe the Jinx changes were for modesty reasons? If so, who decided that Jinx needed to cover up, Netflix or Riot Games? Netflix has renewed Arcane for a second season. Will Jinx dawn her signature look in the second season or remain with the current character design?