It is not any secret that Riot Games are engaged on a second recreation. Exactly what that may be, nevertheless, has been saved unsurprisingly quiet. But whereas the studio behind League of Legends aren’t giving something away themselves, a take a look at the exercise of their dad or mum firm, Tencent, may supply some clues as to Riot’s plans.
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There is so much to counsel that Riot are engaged on one thing new. For one factor, it’s been greater than eight years since they launched League of Legends, however the studio are vehemently holding onto the pluralising ‘S’ on the finish of their identify regardless. While that’s not precisely concrete proof, it appears as if a second recreation has at all times been a risk.
Back in 2014, Riot advised Polygon that that recreation would by no means be League of Legends 2, nevertheless it positively appears to be like like they’re engaged on one thing. The firm’s founders, Mark Merrill and Brandon Beck, recently returned to development. They have additionally been teasing one thing new in League of Legends’ lore – the newest champion to hitch its roster, Zoe, is a herald of serious change within the recreation’s world. The firm even purchased a studio – fighting game devs Radiant Studios – early final yr.
Less than three months earlier than that, nevertheless, Riot had handed over its remaining equity to Tencent, the Chinese tech large who owes a major a part of its success as a video games writer to its assortment of mobile-based MOBAs and battle-royale video games. As nicely as League of Legends, Tencent is partnered with Smite and Paladins builders Hi-Rez Studios. They additionally just lately introduced that they are going to be publishing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in China, because of a partnership with Bluehole Studios, an organization that Tencent already personal a 5% share in (a slice that they plan to extend).
Among Tencent’s different video games are King of Glory, a cell recreation with over 80 million each day customers which additionally occurs to be the world’s top-grossing recreation, and one other MOBA, Clash Royale, which made $1 billion in lower than a yr after its launch in March 2016. Just just lately, it was revealed that Tencent could be publishing one other PC-based battle-royale recreation, Europa, which is being developed within the firm’s personal engine, and can have a major esports focus.
Tencent, then, aren’t any stranger to the truth that MOBAs and battle-royale video games are likely to make them some significantly giant quantities of cash. League of Legends itself, regardless of its age, is still driving increased profits across its parent company’s games division. And so it isn’t drastically unlikely that Tencent may plan to mix their flagship cultural product (League of Legends stays one of many most-streamed video games throughout Twitch, with 60 million folks tuning in to look at the Worlds Championships early this month) with a format that may be a confirmed monetary success.
Whether or not that recreation would happen within the League of Legends universe is troublesome to say – the League of Legends IP is each extraordinarily profitable, and intensely recognisable – however constructing a brand new recreation in that world would imply departing from the standard MOBA system. On the opposite hand, it /may/ be performed; League of Legends’ Summoner’s Rift has been proven to be an infinite world, positively not confined to the inflexible construction of the sport itself. The world behind it, Runeterra, is big, crammed with warring factions and kingdoms the true narrative scope of which has barely been explored. It may be a stretch to seize a few of League of Legends’ most iconic characters, however there’s a lot potential within the recreation’s lore that Riot won’t even have to attract from the champions they have already got.
The actual telling issue, nevertheless, is that Riot and Tencent’s sources are such that a whole lot of individuals, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, might be directed in direction of a brand new recreation with no detrimental results to League of Legends’ ongoing improvement. And if Tencent’s route is as centered on the battle-royale style because it seems to be, it is smart for them to attract from the corporate who kickstarted esports as we all know them – with a decade of expertise operating the world’s most profitable recreation, in addition to a loyal, international fanbase – to maneuver their imaginative and prescient ahead.