League of Legends coming to mobile in 2020, Riot Games confirmed today. Riot Games has generated billions of dollars over the last 10 years, creating a very influential, global esport competition. All this success revolved around a single video game: League of Legends. That will change to a degree.
The Los Angeles based company announced a number of new games on Tuesday, many of which will be released next year. The new game titles stand alongside a League of Legends-based animated series and a documentary Riot, which reported on the creation of the game and debuted on Tuesday Netflix.
All but one of the new games take place in the League of Legends universe and contain the characters or champions of the game who are better known to the league’s players. New titles include a card game, a fighting game, an online multiplayer battle arena game, an open world game and an esports simulator, which are apparently related to the Football Manager franchise.
The non-league title is codenamed “Project A” and is described as a tactical shooting game – think of Rainbow Six Siege or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – which will take place on Earth.
New Riot games are expected by fans and industry watchers for many years, even though the company’s 10-year flagship still has a peak of around 8 million players a day, according to a September announcement.
“We have the advantage that we can be long-term,” said Marc Merrill, co-founder of Riot Games, opposite the Washington Post. “We do not have to push a product to reach a quarterly deadline or revenue target, or whatever.” Riot is owned by Tencent, a Chinese technology and entertainment group.
According to Merrill, Hearthstone, a hugely popular card game based on Blizzard’s Warcraft series, was a reason for his team to rethink Riot’s card game offering, which Merrill has been offering for eight years and “due to different starts and stops being offered” ,
“We had to change our way of working,” Merrill said.
Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, believes the new games, with the League of Legends’ audience spanning hundreds of millions, will make the inclusion of all players over the years a win for Riot.
“Their competitive advantage is the large number of League of Legends fans,” he said. However, he is skeptical of the tactical shooter.
“As they go beyond their core competencies, the risk profile increases significantly,” he said. “It’s like McDonald’s doing a steakhouse.”
Merrill said the tactical shooter will try to create deeper characters and worlds compared to current games in the marketplace and add “broader possibilities for strategic depth and expression”. Riot has not released a release date for this game yet.
Riot’s league-based card game, Legends of Runterra, introduces new League of Legends characters, allowing players to purchase cards directly, as opposed to lucky random packs. It’s planned for PC and Mobile next year.
An existing League of Legends mode called Teamfight Tactics, which is similar to automatic chess in combination with a final, generous Battle Royale game, will be available on mobile devices next year. The online multiplayer battle arena game League of Legend: Wild Rift features five-to-five gameplay and will be available on mobile devices next year. Riot has not announced when it will be available on consoles.
The fighting game with the code name ‘Project L’ is in the ‘early development phase’. “Project F” is the open world game. Riot offered some details about these games.
Today’s developments come at a time when the company has faced a series of problems that have come to light through media and legal action. First came a report from Kotaku and a class action lawsuit based on sex discrimination and sexual harassment. The class action lawsuit was settled, even though Riot said in a blog post that “sex discrimination (as a reward or promotion), sexual harassment and retaliation are not systemic problems.”
More than 100 Riot employees organized a strike in May that required arbitration. According to Riot, the company will give employees the opportunity to waive this clause after the current round of proceedings is completed.
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