Riot Games Lays Off 530 Employees, Provides Update on Riot Forge and Legends of Runeterra
Riot Games, the developer of popular online games like League of Legends and Valorant, is laying off 530 employees, or about 11% of its global workforce. The company announced the cuts in a letter to staff from CEO Dylan Jadeja, saying that "our costs have grown to the point where they're unsustainable."
Riot Games’ Official Statement About the Layoffs
Jadeja said in the official communication sent to employees and also published publicly, “Today, I’m sharing a decision we hoped we would never have to make at Riot. We’re changing some of the bets we’ve made and shifting how we work across the company to create focus and move us toward a more sustainable future.”
“This decision means we’re eliminating about 530 roles globally, which represents around 11% of our workforce, with the biggest impact to teams outside of core development. This also sadly means we’ll be saying goodbye to many talented colleagues and friends across all areas of Riot”, he added.
The Gaming Industry is Experiencing Troubling Times
The layoffs will primarily impact teams outside of core development, such as marketing, publishing, and human resources. Riot says it will focus on its portfolio of live games, which includes League of Legends, Valorant, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift.
The job cuts at Riot Games are part of a larger trend in the gaming industry. Last year, Amazon and TikTok owner ByteDance both downsized their gaming divisions, while Fortnite maker Epic Games, Assassin's Creed developer Ubisoft, and Pokemon Go creator Niantic all announced cuts.
It remains to be seen how the layoffs at Riot Games will impact the company in the long term. However, it is clear that the gaming industry is facing a number of challenges, and it is affecting the job security of game development teams across the world.
What This Means for Riot Games’ Titles
Previously, the continued development of Legends of Runeterra (LoR) was supported by resources from other successful Riot titles through subsidies. However, this approach is no longer sustainable for the overall health of the company's portfolio. To address this, the following strategic decisions have been made:
LoR Team Restructuring: The size of the LoR development team will be reduced to concentrate resources and expertise on the most engaging aspect of the game - the single-player "Path of Champions" mode. This shift prioritizes the feature that has resonated most strongly with players while ensuring LoR's continued support and future updates.
Development efforts will be directed towards enriching and expanding the Path of Champions experience, offering players greater depth, replayability, and compelling narrative content.
Riot Forge Sunset: Following the upcoming release of Bandle Tale, the Riot Forge initiative, responsible for collaborating with external studios on smaller-scale Runeterra IP projects, will be concluded. Although Riot takes immense pride in the achievements of Riot Forge and appreciates the contributions of both its internal team and external partners, the program is no longer considered core to the company's future strategy. The possibility of future single-player projects or collaborations with external developers remains open, but would likely take a different form than under the Riot Forge banner.
Further details regarding the aforementioned adjustments, and their impact on the LoR roadmap, along with deeper insights into Riot's overall portfolio and exciting plans for players in 2024, will be shared during a product-focused RiotNow event planned for early February.