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Everything Cancelled, Refocused, Possibly Still Ongoing, and more at Riot Games

Everything Cancelled, Refocused, Possibly Still Ongoing, and more at Riot Games

Recently, Riot Games has been struck with massive and global company-wide layoffs that equated to 530 roles being cut off abruptly (roughly 11% of the total task force). If you want to learn more about the circumstances, how they got there, and Dylan Jadeja's blog and reasonings, I urge you to check out the news piece about it. In this article, we will be talking about everything regarding Riot IP — what was officially cancelled? What continues going? What was refocused? And — likely very important for many diehard fans that have been around since League of Legends' 10th anniversary — what about some of the promised titles?

We're going to cover everything that has been affected by these massive layoffs, but it's worth noting that there are some things we are sure of because of the official blogs released by the CEO and some things that are speculative. We'll be very specific about what we're sure about and what we're speculating on.

Cancelled — Riot Forge Publisher

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Starting with the most harsh one — the straight-up sunsetting of the Riot Games publisher, Riot Forge. You may recognise them as the team that was working closely with indie developers to bring Runeterra to life through different perspectives. After six releases, from Ruined King: A League of Legends Story to Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story, Riot has said that this marks the sunsetting of Riot Forge and the indie-based focus that they started with the project.

There may be some ambiguity when it comes to Riot Forge and what sorts of projects belonged to the team. This individual publisher was focused on bringing games to Steam by handing out the IP to other developers that you would recognise from other projects. While these were all set in the League of Legends universe, these were not actually run — entirely — by Riot Games.

In a Q&A ran on the official X account of Riot Forge but spearheaded by Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story developer Tequila Works (who you may recognise for their work in RimeGYLT, and The Invisible Hours) mentioned that Riot let them take full control of which champions to focus on. This was after Necrit — a famous League of Legends lore YouTuber — questioned whether the setting was always meant to be Freljord and focused on Nunu & Willump specifically.

This shows that Riot Forge, though they worked together with the developer, offered a lot of leniency and freedom to experiment to the developers. The publisher (with the brand name Riot Forge) is what's closing. Any future projects led by indie developers are halted, which has caused a lot of confusion for some of the titles that were teased in the 10th anniversary like Project LProject F, and even the Riot MMORPG (more on that later).

However, Dylan Jajeda is not closing the door to Runeterra set in single-player experiences — not entirely. Riot Forge could make a return in the future (looking very different, according to him), and likely once the team has stabilised finances and can go back to Research and Development for single-player experiences.

Refocused — Legends of Runeterra

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This is a part cancellation and part refocusing from the part of Riot Games, though, without explicit wording, the team has spoken a lot about Legends of Runeterra and how the card-based League of Legends title has failed to reach sustainability. The costs to cover the card game have been funnelled from the other successful projects, and this will continue to be the case... for a time.

What has been mentioned outright by Dylan Jajeda is that Legends of Runeterra is going to refocus all of its efforts. The team has gotten smaller and is now concentrating on the "Path of Champions" PvE mode. This could mean the possible change to PvE-focused gameplay and balancing the game through that; it has not been explicitly stated by anyone just yet — all we know is that Legends of Runeterra will be focused on its PvE content moving forward.

Still Ongoing

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This is the one that a lot of people have been worried about. If Riot Games is closing studios and making teams smaller, some of their most important titles may have been affected! The good news is: no — Riot Games is actually shifting full focus to its most powerful games that are already out. 

League of Legends, VALORANT, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift will all go back to being the company's main focus. The diminishing in resources is to ensure that these four experiences are all thriving (as they have been); as Dylan Jajeda puts it, "Expect events, modes, and long-term roadmaps that lead to vibrant (hopefully multi-decade) futures for these games".

After the release of season 14, which turned League of Legends' Summoner's Rift and itemisation systems upside down, there's no question that this will be the main focus for Riot Games. Massive events, game-changing seasons, and having room for creativity and experimentation within the games that have been the strongest for them for years are the primary purpose of the mass layoffs.

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This may leave some fans worried about the other non-product-based areas Riot Games has been famous for: esports, entertainment, and music; all fall under the internalisation of Riot Games and the priority focus that is being placed on the projects that have been working — and thriving — for the company. If you're still jamming to season 14's cinematic, Still Here, then much like the name of the song implies — the song department is "still here". In fact, Dylan Jajeda may have teased upcoming K/DA songs — it's safe to say that Riot Games is sticking in the music industry after all of the great songs they've released over the years.

Likewise, entertainment is still strong in their pipeline. Arcane's second season is finally releasing this year, with Dylan Jajeda himself confirming that it's still on track for November of 2024; if all goes well, we'll likely see a season three and even stories branching out into other Runeterran regions. The focus is still the same: gameplay, competitive excellence, and narrative all formed in a neat package spread across various areas. From the high-quality cinematics Riot Games has come to be recognised for to the music and shows, it's all here to stay.

This leads us to our final confirmed piece of information: Project L. One of Riot Games' main attractions for its 10th-anniversary stream was the fighting-based game that will follow League of Legends champions in a 2D-fighting approach instead. Dylan Jajeda himself said that it's getting close to being able to be tested by players. With that out of the way, we still have one more thing to touch on, being...

Possibly Still Ongoing

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This final section will all be purely speculatory focusing on what we've heard and hints dropped throughout the blog posts and other sources. None of it is set in stone until Riot Games makes an official announcement.

After many fans were scared of losing Project L, many likely have also looked at the previously revealed Project F — the ARPG title where you'll take control of champions — and feared Riot Games had cancelled it. However, due to the only straight-up cancellation being Riot Forge, it's likely that Project F is still well underway. The Riot Pls section it took part of was about the 30-minute mark, where Piercing Light played in the background as new games were announced. Here, we saw the (now released) VALORANT, Wild Rift, and Legends of Runeterra in early development alongside Project LProject F, and even hints of the upcoming Runeterra MMORPG. 

These are all internal Riot Games products, and the things that Dylan Jajeda has iterated he wants to focus most on. The main approach is to release fewer items over the years (unlike last year's three Riot Forge projects in the form of Mageseeker: A League of Legends StoryConvergence: A League of Legends Story, and Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story) and instead focus on their quality. As best put by the CEO himself, "Our volume of releases will never be massive. We want everything we deliver to be something that you can be proud of and excited to share with friends".

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So, it is very likely that these three projects (as we've already been confirmed that Project L was an internal game) are going to be continued and released at a later date. There is still hope for the Runeterra-focused MMORPG and Project F, especially since co-founder at Riot Games, Marc Merrill, announced on the 30th of November of last year: "It's the project that I'm personally most invested in". Nothing has been confirmed since the mass layoffs, but it is likely that the plan to continue the Runeterra MMORPG is still afoot.

There are definitely some unannounced projects that are underway, with Dylan Jajeda having confirmed that these are in “various stages of R&D”. Considering Project L was mentioned by name (and Project F is still likely to be in development and not in a specific R&D stage), it’s possible that there are more games, shows, and albums dropping. Whether this means Pentakill is making a return, we’ll see an expanded lore in the form of another show or movie, or a new genre of games being tackled by Riot Games, is yet to be confirmed.

Finally, we have Hytale. Though we haven't heard much from the Hypixel team in quite some time, after Riot acquired them, it might have left many wondering about the state of the game post-layoffs. The state of the game has yet to be confirmed or denied by either the Riot Games team or Hypixel themselves; considering Hytale did not fit into the Riot Forge umbrella of companies, Riot Games is likely treating the voxel-based sandbox as an internal project.

There you have it! All of the information you could possibly need for Riot Games' future projects. It's worth noting that in February 2024, Dylan Jajeda promised the product-focused RiotNow, which will be a "deeper" look into the portfolio and plans for players in 2024. This is where a lot of the reveals might happen for anything from Project LProject F, the Runeterra MMORPG, and even Hytale! Stay tuned for when that comes out later next month.

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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