Project L: Riot Games Shows Off Early Gameplay of its Upcoming Fighting Game
In November 2021, Riot Games reintroduced players to its unnamed fighting game, Project L, an assist-based fighting game centered around the universe of Runeterra. The initial reveal of the game at Evo 2019 showed a potential direction for the game and two years later Riot confirmed that it has zeroed in on gameplay it thought would work. Now, the publisher shared more insights into the progress of its free-to-play fighting game Project L through a developer update that was shared on 5th December. Ever since the “dev diary” update dropped, fans have been raving about the game, expressing their desire and excitement to play the game.
Executive Producer Tom Cannon and Game Director Shaun “Unconkable” Rivera gave an in-depth look at Project L’s gameplay and tag systems along with an update on Illaoi in the video titled “/dev: Gameplay Basics & Tag | dev diary - Project L.”
To refresh your memories, let’s see what Project L is all about. Simply put, it is a free-to-play tag-team fighter set in the universe of Runeterra. Through this latest update, Riot Games gave a deep dive into some of its core systems and an update about Illaoi.
Project L: Update on Illaoi
In August, a talked about how Illaoi joined Project L as the new fighter champion. Unconkable stated that their ultimate goal is to have a diverse and inclusive roster where everyone can find a champion that truly speaks to them. After considering Illaoi’s role in both League of Legends and Legends of Runeterra, Riot confidently explained that its fighting game would be a perfect place for Illaoi.
In the latest video update, Tom Cannon said Illaoi was in the initial “DNA phase” of development where designers, narrative writers, and artists explore concepts for a character’s ability kit, themes, and visuals. He revealed that Illaoi is now live on Riot’s internal playtests with an early draft of her model and kit.
Tom Cannon revealed that Illaoi's gameplay in about 30% complete and added that the Kraken Priestess is nowhere close to her final build.
Project L’s gameplay reveal
Moving onto the actual gameplay of Project L, Shaun Rivera explained that the idea is to have a game that does not scare away novices but instead welcomes them to the fighting game genre while still rewarding pros. “Our dream is making sure our champions have fast, powerful abilities, look really sick while doing them, and are even more powerful when paired with flexible systems,” he noted.
Here are the basic systems in-game:
Movement: Riot Games stated that quick, fluid movement is extremely important to the game and that there are a ton of opportunities for player expression through how one moves. Therefore, in Project L, players can walk, run, dash, chain dash, jump, long jump, and super jump. Additionally, many champions have their unique air mobility options.
Offense: Project L will incentivize action and Riot Games believes that action makes the game exciting to play and watch. Rivera said, “This means making sure that your offense is rewarding and that your buttons are worth pressing.”
Defense: Project L is set to have a mix of big, clear defensive options and some more nuanced systems that will reward the player for anticipating and guessing the opponent’s next move.
Rivera then revealed that Riot Games was initially developing Project L to be a 1v1 game but then made the pivot to a tag team, assist-based fighter.
Tag system will allow players to unlock their creativity. “They work in tandem with our champions, allowing two champion teams to take down opponents together,” stated Rivera. A player’s main champion is called “Point” and the secondary champion will be called the “Assist.”
There are three tag systems in Project L:
Assist Actions: Each champion has two that they can perform from off-screen.
Handshake Tag: This lets you immediately swap between Point and Assist champions as long as they’re both on screen.
Dynamic Save: This is Project L’s combo-breaker. At the start of each match, players will have access to the Dynamic Save ability that let’s one call upon their Assist champion to save the Point champion. Notably, this can be countered if it's used predictably.
Fans will get another update about the game probably sometime next year. In the meantime, Riot Games invited new fighting game players to get involved with the local tournament scene and enjoy fighting games with friends.