Project L: Riot’s League of Legends fighting game resurfaces with new gameplay

Project L: Riot's League of Legends fighting game resurfaces with new gameplay
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Riot Games promised another update for its League of Legends fighter, Project L, this year, and it’s shaping up just in time to meet that deadline with a fresh look at its gameplay systems.

Uploaded to Riot Official Youtube channel, this latest look at Project L is guided by executive producer Tom Cannon and game director Shaun Rivera. The Dev Diary dives into the state of some previously revealed champions, like Illaoi, and explains the design philosophies behind turning the League fighter into an assist-based matchup.

Cannon kicked off the video with an update to Illaoi, explaining that shared previous iterations of the champion were early design concepts. Now, it looks like those pieces for the model and full kit of him are coming together, with today’s Illaoi combat footage showing a version of the character that is “around 30% complete.”

The brief look at Project L’s “big-bodied brawler” shares a closer look at some of the MOBA’s signature features, like its golden artifact and Nagakabouros’ tentacles. In the earliest playable form of him, Cannon noted that Illaoi is live in Riot’s internal playtest.

In previous Project L UpdatesRiot detailed his “easy to learn but hard to master mindset.” Rivera began his design philosophy breakdown with those same principles, outlining how the pillars of his game system will guide that core idea through movement, offense, defense, team building, and assist actions.

Riot evokes some of these fighting game staples for Project L, demonstrating how it’s taking the move a bit further with champions who can walk, run, sprint, chain run, jump, long jump, and super jump. Rivera added that some champions would have more unique movement options in the air, while the video showed off Ahri’s flying jumps that resemble her Spirit Rush from the MOBA.

“Originally we were developing Project L to be a one-on-one game where two champions go in and one champion comes out victorious,” Rivera said. “But about two years ago, we made the move to a tag team assist based fighter. Our tag systems are deep and flexible, meant to help you unlock your creativity. They work in tandem with our champions, allowing two champion teams take defeat opponents together”.

Rivera outlined some elements that guide Project L’s version of team fighting with the tentatively named assist actions, Handshake Tag and Dynamic Save. Each champion will have two assist actions, and the moves may look different depending on their execution. Handshake Tag allows players to swap their character whenever both teammates are on screen, and these can be chained together with Assist Actions.

As for Dynamic Save, this is Project L’s combo breaker, available at the start of each match. It’s the crucial time to tag one champion for another, but Rivera warned players to use it wisely, “be careful with the timing of their dynamic saves because they can counter it if they’re too predictable.”

Three years have passed since the first time Riot announced its League of Legends fighter, and while updates have been a bit sparse, the developer has slowly ramped up that effort. Recently, Riot confirmed Project L will be free to play. And while some rumors to the contrary, the study also said that its luchador will not reward players with NFTs.

Andrea Shearon is a freelance contributor to IGN covering gaming and entertainment. She has worn several hats during her seven-year career in the games industry, with signings on Fanbyte, USA Today’s FTW, TheGamer, VG247, and RPG Site. Find her on Twitter (@Maajora) or the Materia Possessions podcast that talks about FFXIV, role-playing games and any series that involves giant robots.

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