One of the world’s biggest virtual bands is making a comeback. K/DA, a four-person group comprised of Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kai’Sa — champions from the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game League of Legends — has released a new track today called “The Baddest.” It’s the band’s first release since “POP/STARS,” a chart-topping single that debuted in 2018 and currently has over 360 million views on YouTube. The new track will be included on a currently-untitled EP that will be released under League developer Riot Games’ own music label later this year.
The fictional champions might be the same, but Riot Games has refreshed the vocal lineup for “The Baddest.” Madison Beer (Evelynn) and Jaira Burns (Kai'Sa) have been replaced by Bea Miller, an American artist and former X factor contestant, and Wolftyla, a singer-songwriter that first rose to fame by posting funny videos on Vine. The pair join returning members Soyeon (Akali) and Miyeon (Ahri), who usually perform with the K-pop group (G)I-DLE. According to Riot Games, other artists will feature on the new EP as collaborators, “allowing K/DA to welcome a much larger roster of amazingly talented musicians to join them in their comeback.”
The wording suggests that multiple artists will be able to embody Ahri, Evelynn, Akali, and Kai/Sa, much like the British virtual band Gorillaz. That flexibility will allow K/DA to “embrace a more global pop sound,” Riot Games teased, that centers around the fictional champions “instead of the vocals of any one individual talent.” The company hasn’t said whether K/DA will perform on stage again. The band debuted with a live rendition of “POP/STARS” at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship that included both the real-life artists and, using AR, their digital counterparts.
K/DA isn’t the only virtual band that Riot has come up with. In 2014, the company created a fictional metal six-piece called Pentakill with League champions Karthus, Kayle, Mordekaiser, Olaf, Sona and Yorick. Then, last November, the company unveiled another virtual act called True Damage. The hip hop group’s debut single, “Giants,” has over 100 million views on YouTube and was performed using holo-projection at last year’s League of Legends World Championship. True Damage members include K/DA’s Akali — once again performed by Soyeon — Ekko, Senna, Qiyana and Yasuo.