In the span of a one-hour livestream Riot Games went from a one-trick pony to a Marvel Cinematic Universe. Celebrating League of Legends tenth anniversary, Riot came in swinging with a special edition of its Riot Pls show where it revealed what's coming not only to League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics, but also unveiled a fighting game, a tactical FPS, a card game, a esports management simulator, an animated TV series, and what looks like an action RPG set in the LoL universe. Oh, and mobile versions for both League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics.
Yeah, it's a lot of stuff. Fortunately, I'm here to break it all down for you in one digestible primer for everything announced during Riot's big birthday bash. Here's what you need to know.
Riot is making a League of Legends fighting game?
We all knew this one was coming ever since Riot bought up EVO cofounder Tom Cannon's indie studio and their cool prototype Rising Thunder a few years ago. Earlier this year, Tom Cannon said he was still working on a fighting game with Riot, but during the livestreamed celebration Riot finally confirmed what we wall wanted to know: Would it be set in the same universe as League of Legends? The answer is yes.
All we know right now is that it's codenamed Project L and that Tom Cannon and the team making it will be "going dark" and that players shouldn't expect "anything soon." But the brief footage we did see showed Ahri and Darius battling it out in a desert—not exactly indicative of what's to come but cool nonetheless. With 140 champions in LoL, I can't imagine all of them are going to make it into Project L, but I certainly hope the innovative combat of Rising Thunder will still be there. That game was great.
And Riot is also making a tactical multiplayer FPS?
This we did not see coming. Codenamed Project A, this FPS sounds a lot like a more cartoony version of Rainbow Six Siege thanks, in part, to its emphasis on character abilities and highly lethal gunplay. During the livestream, executive producer Anna Donlon made a big show about how Project A was going to solve long-standing issues with FPSes like lag and cheating and that Riot was building Project A to push the technical boundaries of FPSes forward. It all sounded very ambitious.
What's wild, though, is that Project A isn't set in the League of Legends universe but will be a whole new setting based on a "near-future Earth." Like the fighting game, there wasn't too much to show and the team will be going dark after this reveal to continue working on it. So don't expect Project A anytime soon.
Did you say a management sim?
Yes I did. Do you know Football Manager? That classic sim where you build and maintain a football club, managing contracts and salaries while guiding your team toward the ultimate victory at the Fifa World Cup? Now imagine that but with professional League of Legends esports teams.
The players in-game will be modelled after their real-life counterparts, starting with those who participate in the League Pro League and expanding to other leagues over time. What's cool is that revenue from League of Legends Esports Manager will be shared with the featured pro teams to help encourage the growth of LoL esports as a whole. That's really all we know, though, as details on this one are still light. Esports Manager will launch some time in 2020.
And a card game?
Yup. A mother-flippin' card game. I mean, at this point Riot's hit pretty much every other genre—why should it leave out the one where ill-fated spin-offs go to die? I might sound cynical, but Legends of Runeterra is actually really appealing. Instead of going for mind-numbing complexity like Artifact, Legends of Runeterra wants to be even more accessible than Hearthstone, and it's ditching all those nasty microtransactions to boot.
Instead of gambling on expensive booster packs, you can just buy cards directly for either real money or in-game currency earned through playing. And after reading through our hands-on preview, it sounds like Legends of Runeterra has some interesting ideas up its sleeve too. Plus it's also set in the League of Legends universe. Talk about brand synergy!
Okay that's seriously it, though, right?
Ha, you wish. If you kept a close eye on the stream and didn't blink, there was one other game that Riot teased but didn't talk about directly. A press release sent after the show says this little game is called Project F and it's a "project that explores the possibilities of traversing the world of Runeterra with your friends."
What that looks like from the short clip we saw was a multiplayer action RPG. Considering how alike games like Diablo are to MOBAs, that makes perfect sense. Aside from the gameplay clip, we know nothing—but I hope this is Riot taking a swing at something akin to a Marvel Ultimate Alliance meets League of Legends. Punching bad guys with four friends as our favorite champions sounds rad.
Oh god, don't tell me there's still more…
There is, but that covers all of the new game announcements. In addition to all of that, Riot also revealed a gorgeous trailer for its upcoming animated TV series called Arcane. It's also set in the League of Legends universe but will shed light on the backstory of a few of its most iconic champions like Jinx. Its set in the utopian city of Piltover and Zaun, the seedy underbelly that exists below it.
Again, we don't know much beyond what was shown in the trailer, but Arcane looks awesome. Riot's new champion trailers have always been a treat and this entire series is being developed in-house instead of being outsourced to a different studio. I'm excited to see how it all comes together.
What about the mobile versions of LoL and TFT?
Those are both coming in 2020 but you can pre-register now. For Teamfight Tactics, its mobile version will have cross-play with the PC and be mostly the same game except for, y'know, on a phone. League of Legends, however, is getting an entirely new game called Wild Rift that's the classic MOBA reimagined for phones and consoles. Though it'll look and feel mostly the same, there are some key differences to consider. Matches will be considerably shorter, for example, lasting only around 15 to 20 minutes and there will be a smaller selection of cosmetics at first.
It probably goes without saying but Wild Rift will not have any cross-play with the PC version of League of Legends since they're basically two different games. Sadly, your account won't transfer over either so you'll need to rebuy skins and characters if you want to play both versions.
What's happening in League of Legends on PC?
Big changes are coming in preparation for the new competitive season in 2020 and I couldn't be more excited. The biggest is an update called Rise of the Elements which will see the map of Summoner's Rift dramatically altered over the course of a game depending what Elemental Drakes are slain by either team. Instead of just providing a passive buff, Elemental Drakes can also spawn an elemental rift that'll change the terrain in all sorts of meaningful ways. If you kill an Ocean Drake and get a water rift, for example, bushes on the map will grow to offer even more concealment for players. Killing a Cloud Drake might spawn wind tunnels that give you a movement speed boost, while an Infernal Drake will burn holes in the walls, opening up new routes to travel. Elemental Drakes will accompany more permanent changes to Summoner's Rift, including new alcoves in top and bottom lanes and new bushes are being added to the each jungle. These changes go live on November 20.
Senna, a new champion, is also coming November 10. Little is known about how she plays, but she's a support marksman which implies she'll be aiding other champions but will still rely on skillshots and micromanagement to get the job done. She'll be the first support champion to have that playstyle, so I can't wait to see what she can do.
Also, if you log in and play League every day starting on October 18 and going until the 28, you'll earn a fun in-game gift.
And Teamfight Tactics?
Aside from the mobile version, TFT is getting a complete refresh with a new set of champions, items, synergies, and abilities. Like LoL, this second set is called Rise of the Elements and will introduce a host of new champions while rotating out several old ones. Coming on November 5, Rise of the Elements will add the Desert, Inferno, and Poison origins that unlock special buffs when you build your teams around multiple champions of those same types. Summoners and Mystics will also be joining as new classes, and champions like Lux, Annie, and Olaf will be in the fray.
It might sound a little confusing, but you can think of it like a total remix that'll undoubtedly turn the meta on its head. Players will have to learn and master new synergies and abilities if they want to stay competitive. What's cool is that Riot has committed to releasing these new sets every few months, so TFT's best strategies will always be changing and evolving.