On April 1, 2010, Urf the Manatee was gracelessly butchered in League of Legends. In his memory, players purchased the manatee costume and Riot Games is donating all proceeds, over $5,000, to Save the Manatee. Read more below:
RIOT GAMES PLEDGES TO HELP SAVE MANATEES, DONATES MORE THAN $5,000 TO SAVE THE MANATEE CLUB IN HONOR OF FALLEN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS CHARACTER
April Fools Stunt Leads to Tremendous Community Support For Fictional Manatee Hero
LOS ANGELES - April 13, 2010 - Riot Games, a leading independent developer and publisher of premium online video games, announced that they will be donating the revenues of the April Fool's Day sales of a character costume to the Save the Manatee Club, a national non-profit organization striving to save and raise awareness of manatees, in honor of their latest League of Legends Champion, Urf the Manatee. Originally announced as an April Fools' joke for the video game's passionate community, the hero became an immediate legend and gained an enormous following, leading Riot Games to action.
"When we initially thought of Urf the Manatee as a fake character in the game, we never expected him to receive such an outpouring of affection," said Marc Merrill, co-founder and president of Riot Games. "The Urf event helped demonstrate how tremendously lovable manatees really are and we wanted to clarify that we are against cruelty to manatees, both real and fictional, and hope that this donation will help raise awareness for the peaceful, majestic animals."
The saga of Urf the Manatee began when Riot Games implied the clumsy-looking mammal would be playable in their award-winning online game, League of Legends. They created dedicated artwork, skills and a detailed back story, causing League of Legends players to speculate they would soon see the loveable character in the game. Unfortunately, Urf's story took a tragic turn when, on April 1st, Riot announced the character was slain by an evil foe. However, Riot created a purchasable Urf skin, which is a costume that an in-game Champion can don, so that players could honor their favorite mammal in the game even though he had died in battle.
Support for Urf the Manatee was unprecedented. The Urf costume sold more than 15,000 units on April 1 alone. Comments flooded the League of Legends forums honoring Urf. As part of a consumer-generated content contest, Riot received more than 74 videos, 398 poems, 130 pieces of artwork and more than 150 other forms of content such as cartoons, short stories and even flash-based computer games memorializing the manatee. Because of the support of Urf as well as Riot's own beliefs about the preservation of wildlife worldwide, Riot Games donated the revenues of the April 1 Urf the Manatee skin sales, totaling more than $5,000, to the Save the Manatee Club to help further their mission to protect the endangered mammal and their habitat.
"Riot Games' support of our organization and the preservation of endangered manatees is amazing," said Pat Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club. "We thank Riot Games for bringing attention to the very real threats faced by manatees and commend them on their stance against cruelty to manatees. I am optimistic that this will lead more teens and young adults to help us protect manatees, both real and digital, in our ongoing mission."
To learn more about, donate to or support the Save the Manatee Club, please visit http://www.savethemanatee.org
Congrats once again to Riot Games and League of Legends players for their continuing generosity in giving to charity!