As Nicolo Laurent himself said on Twitter, the first season of “Arcane” took six years to make, most of that in pre-production. While we don’t know exact budget numbers, Toonami co-creator and anime producer Jason DeMarco has pointed out that the show did have a much bigger budget than most animated shows. “[The] budget is WAY beyond a normal TV animation budget by many millions of dollars,” DeMarco tweeted. “It’s literally one of the most expensive animated series on.”
Sure, being cautious in turning an unaired show into a franchise is a rather smart approach — particularly in today’s franchise-laden landscape — when streamers are also canceling series before they’ve ever had the chance to thrive. The problem is that it is rather unlikely that Riot Games really did not expect “Arcane” to be a big enough hit to warrant a season 2 when they spent so many years (and so many millions of dollars) making the first. The studio has so much money that SpongeBob could not bury, shred, or burn it in a single lifetime, but still, that’s a poor excuse.
Worse yet, it is simply a lie that no work was done on season 2 before the renewal news — unless the studio literally erased every file and shredded every document. Even if scripts weren’t written yet and animation hadn’t commenced, they still have the season 1 assets. The visual style is already developed, and the main characters are already designed. This is not to say that Riot and studio Fortiche could have made and released the season in a year or two, but some work has been done on season 2 already, which should cut down the time needed in pre-production.