Riot Games is a relatively new company considering its impressive size in the current day. Starting from extremely humble origins in 2006, they strived to create a long-lasting video game that could be updated, monetized, and enjoyed for many years to buck a trend its founders saw of video game developers bouncing very quickly from game-to-game working on the same product for years after release.
They soon found extreme success with League of Legends, which has grown phenomenally since its 2009 release into one of the world’s most played and spectated video games which have led to Riot Game-changing the video games industry as a whole, forever. They popularised cosmetic DLC sales in the west, giving many developers new ways to monetize their games, and even introduced video games as a sport to the wider world consciousness.
In more recent years, following unprecedented company growth and a high-profile sale to the Chinese conglomerate Tencent, they have started to expand away from solely developing one game and are starting to get their fingers into many more pies.
League of Legends
Riot has not forgotten their past, and they are still bringing huge updates to their seminal title. They have been working at changing fundamental aspects of the game over the last few years in order to keep it competitive both on a gameplay level and on an industry level. As the 2021 preseason cycle gets into full swing, Riot is preparing a full overhaul of the in-game shop and item system.
Far more in-depth than the armor penetration changes in 2017, known as the lol lethality update, this time round they are completely redesigning and overhauling the way you buy items while playing. They are intending to streamline the process with far more in-depth item suggestions based on what other players pick in certain situations.
More Items Than Ever Before
There will also be an entirely new quality for items – mythical. These are a new top-tier of the item, bringing in 22 new late-game items that are likely to change the way the game plays. As well as this, they are also updating and adding dozens of legendary items to keep everything well balanced while keeping the game feeling fresher than ever.
In the public testing environment, Riot is also trying out a system where every player starts with a high-powered starting item in a bid to speed up the repetitive grind of the early game and kickstart the teamfights and skirmishing that has made the game such a hit as a sport. This feature is still not confirmed for the main game as it is just an idea for now, but this is exciting enough as a concept to keep an eye on!
League of Legends: Wild Rift
In 2019, Riot made the extremely welcome announcement that they are to be porting LoL to mobile devices. Wild Rift is the Android and iPhone version of League of Legends which, while separate from the main game, promises to play extremely similar to the original while being playable on a touchscreen. MOBAs, in general, have found a home on mobile devices with many Chinese companies creating boiled down equivalents of popular PC games which can be surprisingly well adapted to the small screen.
While Riot has confirmed that it is its own game and can therefore not be played with people who are playing the game on PC, it features the exact same roster and concept as the original League of Legends. They are yet to announce exactly what has changed in Wild Rift and how they intend to condense the high-dexterity and often long-lasting excitement to a play-time and control scheme suitable for cell phones, but from what has been revealed thus far, it promises to be a hit in the mobile gaming world, and I am incredibly excited to give it a go.
One of Riot’s highest-profile recent releases, Valorant tries to prove that Riot can approach any genre with style and success. It has proven to be an engaging and thrilling combination of tactical shooters and hero-based combat and includes many e-sports related features many of its competitors sorely lack.
Unfortunately, though it boasts a huge amount of improvements on a venerable and hugely popular genre, Valorant released to extremely luke-warm critical reception, and has been widely disregarded as a half-baked combination of other recent successful titles and has had a hard time convincing people of its own merit.
Riot is responding to this in the near future with some huge updates, ranging from huge rebalancing to a few new very interesting agents and themed maps to play on. Riot seems intent on supporting Valorant into the future and is aiming to prove that the game can be a viable sport on the level of League of Legends.
Into the Future
Riot has very quickly gone from developing one game to set their sites on a variety of genres. With Legends of Runeterra and Teamfight Tactics still gaining in popularity by the week, they have already proven they have the ability, but they are still looking to push boundaries.
Over the next couple of years, they have at least 4 more games poised for release. Two of these which are rapidly approaching are LoL Esports Manager and Ruined King. The first of these appears to be a standard mobile gatcha-style game that Riot’s parent is known for releasing, but the latter is looking to be an exciting take on the tactical RPG genre set in e League of Legends universe.