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Riot marks LoL 10th anniversary with anime and new games

It might be a rest day in the LoL Words 2019 schedule but the League of Legends 10th anniversary meant it was far from quiet. With LoL arriving at 10 years of release, solidifying itself as one of the oldest standing esports that has stayed on top for most of its lifetime, Riot Games went and blew our minds with a series of announcements. Here's an overview of the LoL 10th anniversary announcements...

Arcane: League of Legends anime series

Time for the juicy bits. In a move that should shock nobody, Riot Games has gone and announced a new animated series for League of Legends called Arcane. Riot has been famous for its cinematic trailers and music videos that are released each year going into Worlds, and lore fanatics know how deep some of the character backgrounds go.

The announcement has confirmed that the series will revolve around Jinx, Vi and Warwick. The style of animation is more akin to graphic novels in the West, rather than the manga-driven style that anime generally has.

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It’s cinematically beautiful, with depth of art in the 3D and high fidelity that looks more like a modern game engine driven graphic rather than simply an animated series.

Although modern anime has gotten past many of its older issues, the traditional style relies on 3D visuals to be shown primarily through tricks of lighting and perspective which isn’t quite the same as computer generated graphics or other techniques used by Western movie studios.

Riot’s parent company Tencent has in the past released a LoL-inspired anime titled the King's Avatar, but this project looks very much dominated by Western style.

What should be interesting to see is whether the additional expenditures that come with Western-style animations would lead to a lower episode count for the show.

Regardless, we’re excited to hear more news regarding the number of episodes and seasons that Arcane will have.

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Project A

Riot’s new shooter, entitled Project A, looks pretty sexy. After having journalists reveal new developers being hired for fighting games, card games and FPS games, it seemed inevitable, but such a distant dream. Finally, we not only have the announcement, but gameplay footage from the actual game itself.

Project A does not look like a direct Counter-Strike competitor. With Riot having revealed that it will be class-based combat, each class shown so far has some sort of zoning mechanism, as well as further abilities. Although it looks more punishing than Overwatch with its high damage shown in headshots, (assuming that the footage represents damage values) it should still be primarily an Overwatch competitor.

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Each character shown has different characteristics, including certain fast-paced dash abilities as well as vertical combat options with high-jumping characters. Even if nothing is confirmed just quite yet, it looks to not punish users too greatly for run-and-gun mechanisms, which combined with special movement abilities make it more akin to Overwatch than anything else.

Ultimately, one of the major determining factors to whether or not we consider Project A to be a legitimate CS:GO or COD competitor is the game modes that it will have available to be competitively played. If it focuses on a bomb defusal or a search-and-destroy type of mode, then it could very well start to have a certain degree of overlap between players.

One thing is for sure, though, Project A is going to be coming in punching if its esports ecosystem is anything similar to the franchised model of League.

Legends of Runeterra

Card game fans rejoice! What Valve had promised with Artifact to be the card game killer might just have been delivered by the hands of Riot. You can pre-register to play Runeterra now, and get fast-tracked into the queue of players ready to get into it. Legends of Runeterra relies on the existing property inside League of Legends by using heroes, abilities and general lore within the cards.

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The trailer and announcement showcased different locations, so expect champions to be dropped into the game from Demacia, the Shadow Isles, Ionia and many more.

Runeterra has an interesting mechanic that regions act as decks, where you can choose a particular region to be able to unlock and play cards from it.

Riot has confirmed that you don’t have to pay for packs of randomised cards in order to unlock them in-game, so the traditional trading card route may have been avoided.
Ultimately, not too much else has been revealed, but it should be an interesting addition to the Riot Games playbook as a true card game competitor.

TFT and League of Legends head to mobile

The Wild Rift has been announced, which is the mobile and console version of League of Legends to be played out in the near future. Visually, it looks fantastic in a way where you would be hard pressed to point out many major differences between itself and a slightly less intensive render of the PC version. Of course, that’s just footage we see from the pre-alpha so we’ll hold out judgment until the actual release.

What’s particularly interesting is that Riot has deviated from traditional LoL in a few notable ways to differentiate gameplay and make it both faster paced as well as more manageable for players on console and mobile.

The trailer confirms that some champions have their ultimates at level 5, so Riot could be following the formula adopted by many mobile MOBAs to have a level 4 ultimate.

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Not just that, but there’s also speculation that there might be a level cap of 12, as no champion was shown with a level exceeding that. Additionally, the trailer shows a player being able to control the direction of certain skillshots to a point where they deviate from traditional League play entirely, including being able to curve Ashe’s arrow directionally to point it towards the right path.

Of course, speculation will be rampant, but the one thing we’re certain about is that the release for The Wild Rift comes in 2020.

The mobile world of Riot is not empty, as Teamfight Tactics will no longer be lagging behind its counterpart in DOTA Underlords in the mobile, as release for iOS and Android is scheduled for a full rollout by mid 2020, and select regions will be able to play it even earlier than that.

LoL Esports Manager and fighting game

Last but not least, the quick one-two punch from Riot teases two new projects where details aren’t quite known yet. A short clip from the fighting game that is in development was enough to get gamers hyped, but the larger project that they’ve announced is the League of Legends Esports Manager.

The LoL Esports Manager will have a soft launch for LPL only in 2020, where players will be given the ability to have a fully simulated management experience for an esports team. Major decisions will include building teams, deciding the draft for your squad, and selecting viable strategies.

Sport management simulators have been wildly successful in the past, but with a game like LoL and the complexities that go with it will make this an incredibly interesting project that tests the limits of technology.

Should Riot succeed - and we’re sure it will eventually - it will be the first game development company to seamlessly integrate a much higher degree of player investment into the esports space through such a simulator.

Safe to say, there are exciting times ahead for Riot fans.

Pictures: Riot Games

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