in Gaming

Most Riot Games’ future titles will be competitive, says esports boss John Needham

Renowned video game developer/publisher and esports tournament organizer, Riot Games, is responsible for some of the most beloved gaming titles in history. The company has released many popular titles since its inception, including the 2009 all-time hit League of Legends and, most recently, the 2020 FPS title VALORANT.

There is one running theme seemingly present in almost all of Riot’s titles that perhaps makes the company unique: the competitive component. Speaking to NME on July 26, Riot president of esports John Needham acknowledged this and even revealed that the company plans to incorporate esports in virtually all its future titles.

Needham’s statement came a little over a week after he announced that the company partnered with the cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services or AWS, one of Amazon’s subsidiaries, to assist how Riot would roll in future content in some of its esports-heavy titles, as well as invent new ways for fans to experience the competitive scene of gaming.

More plans for esports in future games, Riot president confirmed

Without a doubt, Riot is one of the heavy hitters in both the gaming and esports scenes. One of the company’s most successful games is LoL, a game released more than 10 years ago. Despite this, LoL is one of the select few titles whose tournaments are always present throughout the years.

Aside from LoL, the West Los Angeles-based company also released VALORANT two years ago, and the title quickly reached the limelight of gaming tournaments across the world. Seeing how esports has made itself an integral part of Riot, Needham revealed that the company would be focusing more on it in the future. He also implied that Project Lion, Riot’s upcoming LoL fighting game, which was confirmed in November last year, may also be esports-heavy.

“If you look at Riot’s games, almost all of our games are competitive games, with varying levels of whether they’d be good sports or not,” Needham said. “We’ve talked about Lion publicly, obviously esports is a really core part of the fighting game community, so we’ll be investing there.

One of the key differences between online and offline games is the content update. As live service has slowly become the norm, gaming developers must consistently roll in content updates to ensure the title remains relevant and keep it from being a dead game. Riot itself is keen on titles that “can span generations” — in other words, competitive online games.

“But all the games that Riot produces, we really look at games that can span generations. Usually those games are online competitive games — so I think that almost every game that you see Riot produce and develop will be competitive, which by its nature of being competitive, there’ll be some sort of esports component to it,” Needham said.

Aside from Project Lion, Riot also has another upcoming esports project called Project Stryker, a brainchild of the gaming company alongside AWS in a collaboration cited previously. Project Stryker is part of Riot’s initiative to provide a new entertainment experience for fans that includes music production, animation and game development. Non-esports fans might also be able to enjoy Project Stryker, however, as Needham has said that the project is “not exclusive to esports content”.