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Hey everyone! By now, you might have heard a bit about Riot Forge, Riot’s third-party publishing label, and two of our recently announced games with Airship Syndicate and Double Stallion Games. If you’re here, you’re probably interested in learning more about them, so… let’s jump into it!
We still have a way to go and we’ll be sharing more as we get closer to launching the first batch of games, but today, we’re excited to answer some of the questions you may have about Riot Forge and our first two games: Ruined King: A League of Legends Story and CONV/RGENCE: A League of Legends Story.
What is Riot Forge?
Riot Forge is a separate label within Riot Games that is focused on publishing League of Legends games from third-party game studios.
Within Riot, we are a small team working with experienced developers to forge (ayy, finger guns) new games in the League of Legends universe, and also forge lasting partnerships with the game studios we are working with. These talented and experienced devs are creating a variety of League of Legends games that dive deep into the regions of Runeterra and enable you to connect with the champions and characters who live there.
Why are you publishing games instead of making them?
Riot’s current games—which includes both League of Legends and the new games we’ve recently announced—are mostly live-service games that primarily focus on the competitive, multiplayer experience. This is what a lot of players want, and we’re of course going to keep investing in this space internally at Riot. But we also know that most League players play other games (no surprise here), and that there’s a ton of other players who aren’t super into League the MOBA but who are interested in League the universe.
We want to make games for all of these players.
We’ve been running League for about a decade now, and through all the trials and tribulations, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to keep a live-service game going. We’ve become more experienced and efficient with time, which allows us to make even better stuff. Much of these learnings carry over to similar live-service titles, but creating single-player games in different genres is a bit different.
Not only that, but spinning up the teams needed to create such a wide genre of games would take years—both to get the people with the right experience in place and to create the right structures to support them. And we want to move faster than that.
There are so many storytelling and gameplay opportunities within the world of Runeterra that we want to bring to life. Partnering with existing developers who already have the expertise, talent and pipelines in place means we can bring high-quality games to you much more quickly and in a variety of ways. Each game will include the developers DNA and unique way of representing League both visually and within the story.
So wait, are you just handing over my favorite champion?
No but also yes :)
We are not just handing over the League IP—including the champions, world, and characters—to other game studios. These partnerships are not licensed IP collaborations; they are true partnerships where we work together to ensure the game is great. We’ll be working with partner studios to help them find their own voice within the League universe, while guiding them to ensure that the stories being told are authentic to the characters and the world we’ve been developing over the last 10 years. In other words, you don’t have to worry about a character like Braum suddenly becoming a villainous grump.
At the same time, we want to empower the developers we’re working with to create their own space to tell stories and reimagine League in their own style. We’ll be working with them to avoid any conflicts and to make connections to other League universe happenings whenever possible.
And in case you’re wondering… yes, the core narratives in these games will be canon, albeit with some moments and characters being specific to the stories told within the game. This means we can move some of the lingering stories of Runeterra forward in new and interactive ways, which is something we’re really excited about.
Can you tell me more about how these partnerships work?
Sure! So there are tons of people at Riot who love to play single-player games, and we know there are lots of talented indie game studios around the world who know how to make them. We want to give studios who have made incredible games the freedom to create new League of Legends games in their unique style, whether it be art, game mechanics, or narrative design.
For those of you interested in the nitty-gritty details, we actually tried different versions of co-development, where we actively build a game directly with third-party developers. We found that this could be quite complex and didn’t always provide partners with the right level of freedom. Looking at these learnings has helped us move into the current model, where the game studios we are working with get to own and create their game, and we take the role of a traditional publisher. This means we do not provide any hands-on development support—the development of the game is 100% on our partners. This gives our developers the flexibility and freedom to use their talent and make great games.
In addition to providing guidance throughout development, we’ll also help support many other areas that are needed to ship a game for a global audience, including QA, localization, voiceovers, narrative, research, marketing, and more. Basically, we’ll be there till the end, helping to get the game into the hands of players and ensuring it’s an experience players will appreciate, enjoy, and create amazing memories around.
How do you find game studios to work with?
The Riot Forge team loves attending game events and gatherings so we can meet with game studios and build relationships with developers. The game development community is important to us, and we want to find partners that are passionate about making games and find League an interesting universe to work in.
It always starts with a meeting. From there if it feels like a great fit, we’ll start talking about what the collaboration could look like, which always starts with the game. The ideas come directly from the studio. Generally they have a couple of ideas we chat through, and we help to ensure that it fits correctly in the overall Riot Forge portfolio. We manage this portfolio quite closely because we don’t want two of the same game or games that have a similar story line, as the whole point of games published by Riot Forge is that they are different and explore many areas of the League universe.
Once we settle on an overall idea, agree on the main champion, and things feel good, we move forward and the collaboration is born!
Then it’s all about making an awesome game, and that’s what our developers do best.
What types of games are you going to publish?
Riot Forge is focused on releasing bespoke, completable game experiences that connect players to the champions and places in Runeterra through immersive stories and design. Completable games refers to a game that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s an experience that feels complete when you are done, but leaves lasting memories of certain moments in the game because they made you laugh, cry, or anything in-between.
These games will vary in size and depth depending on what experience our developers want to make. The key thing is that these games will be bespoke, which means they’ll be hand-crafted, unique experiences, whether that’s through the way our developers uniquely reimagine League from a visual perspective, or through immersive storytelling.
Our partners are independent studios consisting of smaller teams of specialist developers, so they do not have thousands of people working at their studios. This means the games they create will be more in the indie space, and the scale is smaller than large AAA games.
What platforms will these games be on?
We’re designing each of these games with the right platform in mind for the best possible experience, which means Riot Forge games could go to PC, console, Switch, and/or mobile.
We basically want to go wherever people are playing in order to provide a wide-range of experiences, so you’ll see us exploring a bunch of different platforms.
What else can you tell us about Ruined King: A League of Legends Story?
Ruined King: A LoL Story is the first game coming from Riot Forge. It’s a story-driven RPG with deep turn-based combat and takes place after the events of Burning Tides.
You’ll play as League champions and explore Bilgewater and the mysterious Shadow Isles for the very first time! We’re really excited for you to be able to interact with these regions in brand new ways.
We’re partnering with Airship Syndicate who have a long history of both creating and working within great IPs and also have an incredibly beautiful and unique art style directed by their co-founder Joe Madureira (Joe Mad), a celebrated comic artist who created the Battle Chasers comic series. Airship really gravitated to the rich story opportunities that the events of Burning Tides inspires and felt passionate about bringing Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles to life.
We feel the partnership with Airship Syndicate is perfect for us. Creating a story-driven, turn-based RPG is something we are super excited to see come together. League of Legends lends itself well to RPG-style gameplay due to the diversity of champions and stories that we are able to tell.
We hope players fall in love with the story, and we’re also excited to work with Airship Syndicate to provide players with this new way to experience Runeterra.
What about CONV/RGENCE: A League of Legends Story?
CONV/RGENCE: A League of Legends Story, is a single player, action platformer game where you’ll get to explore the spectacular world of Zaun as Ekko, a young inventor with an ingenious device to manipulate time.
CONV/RGENCE: A League Story is being developed by Double Stallion Games. They recently launched Speed Brawl, a 2D combat-racer about moving fast and maintaining momentum through speed runs. Prior to that they worked on OK K.O.! with Cartoon Network and Big Action Mega Fight. We are hyped to work with Double Stallion and love the way create unique player experiences using gorgeous 2D hand-animated aesthetics that feel fresh and dramatic.
Double Stallion always wanted to make a game featuring Ekko, and we know how much our players love this champion. He has lots of cool combat and time-related mechanics that work well in an action platformer. There are also many storytelling opportunities with Ekko due to the relationship between Zaun and Piltover and the breadth of champions that live in those regions.
We’re looking forward to sharing how Double Stallion explores these stories and brings them to life in-game.
What’s next for Riot Forge?
We’ll be sharing more about both of these games next year, including deeper gameplay details and release dates.
And this is just the beginning for us. We’re exploring numerous other games, and we hope to be able to give you a sneak peak at some of them next year. In the meantime, you can follow Riot Forge on Twitter for the latest updates.
Thank you so much for reading!