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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Riot Expands League of Legends Lore with Indie-Developed Spin-offs

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I like this conceptually! And I'd like other publishers to do this too for certain franchises.

There is no gaming community worse than the League of Legends fanbase. That said, I'll point out something cool when it pops up, so here's information about Riot Forge and the games they're publishing—they're a publishing arm of Riot Games, League of Legends's developer, that is publishing games in the League of Legends universe (known as Runeterra) developed by indie partners:

I suppose you don't want to watch that whole video (though more than half of it are two fireside chats) so I'll give you the gist. Given that League of Legends is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) without a Player vs. Environment mode, it's not too conducive to story-telling, despite hundreds of Champions and potential for lots of lore and story.

The video mentioned the following games:
  • Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story by Tequila Works (known for Deadlight and Rime), about a child named Nunu looking for his mother. It's a single player narrative adventure with Willump, a protector for Nunu that is some kind of benevolent monster, taking place in the frigid Freljord. Nunu and Willump grow close to each other throughout this adventure and become great friends, with the game releasing in 2022.
  • Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story by Choice Provisions (known for developing the Bit.Trip games, which were all the rage back on WiiWare), about an unhinged weirdo named Ziggs who likes blowing things up, and a more cautious old man named Heimerdinger. It's a side-scrolling platformer rhythm game (or auto-run rhythm game... or music game where your inputs are playing along to the music) taking place in Piltover. There are scripted prompts and also... unscripted prompts to the music that will create even more explosions that you need to activate for full completion. It's available right now for $10.
  • CONV/RGENCE: A League of Legends Story by Double Stallion (their only other console game is Speed Brawl), about a teenage inventor named Ekko going through the polluted city of Zaun, filled with organised crime. Ekko invented the Zero Drive, enabling time travel. It's a 2D action platformer, developing the character of Ekko and the story of the city. The time control factors into the gameplay and you can rewind it if you make mistakes or want to do something more optimal. It's also releasing in 2022.
  • Ruined King: A League of Legends Story by Airship Syndicate (known for Battle Chasers: Nightwar and Darksiders Genesis), about several Champions, including: Miss Fortune, a pirate captain; Illaoi, a Kraken prophetess that can fight with unattached tentacles; Braum, a big (but positive) Freljord brawler; Yasuo and Ahri who are mysterious... people; and Pyke, a crazy swordsman. They converge in the crime-ridden Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles. It's a turn-based roleplaying game with puzzle-solving exploration. It's not a totally generic turn-based RPG... there's thinking and strategy with the Lane Initiative System, which can have you choose trade-offs between turn speed and power (but there are also hazards on those lanes you might want to think about). It's available now for $30.

While the primary goal of these games—which are all of different genres—is to cater to League of Legends fans but let them be immersed in the world without having to be forced to live in a toxic competitive game environment, some of the developers promise that their games are appealing to non-League of Legends fans as well. After all, the developers aren't Riot Games themselves, so they had to learn about it too just like new players would. Of course, the games have callbacks and references to League of Legends that fans are supposed to appreciate.

Each of the developer teams basically said that Riot Forge approached them and let them choose what League of Legends Champions to focus on as playable characters. But there are also Champions that aren't playable... and depending on the game, like Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, others may even be boss fights.

Ruined King A League of Legends Story Razorfin Wharf Rat Whelp hulked out
Riot Games is excited to work with their indie dev partners to see their takes on the League of Legends world.
(With proper supervision, of course.)

This is pretty much what I want Nintendo to do for the F-Zero franchise. Like League of Legends, there are many characters with their own backstories and relationships and locales and non-racing hobbies and adventures, but they are never really explored in the games and the in-game story is minimal to nonexistent.

Besides, it's not like Nintendo is doing anything with F-Zero anyway—I've been advocating for character-driven things for years as a result.

Hextech Mayhem League of Legends Story Ziggs Heimerdinger yell at each other blow hole in the lab
Choice Provisions described how League of Legends takes itself very seriously,
but spin-offs like Hextech Mayhem allow the series to explore a levity side.

People have objected to the idea of an F-Zero JRPG because they are fans of the series for its racing, not for its characters. Sort of like how League of Legends fans like it for its... MOBA gameplay, not for its characters and lore. But if you get to have other developers make the spin-offs that explore those facets, people should be less upset about the idea, right? Since it's not taking resources away? Although that's what Metroid Prime: Federation Force did since it was developed by Next Level Games (before being acquired by Nintendo), and that... wasn't well-received, if only because (non-me) people don't like spin-offs for series that they're worried are dead. If that came out right now, people would be fine with it a lot more. Probably. As for League of Legends, because it's a game-as-a-service, it's always around and updated, so no fans of that should be upset about spin-offs.

Then I guess Nintendo needs to satisfy core F-Zero fans first and then they get to make spin-offs. Or they can screw the fans’ feelings and go right to spin-offs and let people be mad and still make presumably great spin-off games that maybe they'll appreciate years later. I'm assuming these League of Legends spin-offs are good, of course. I don't really know myself!

Ludwig hopes that League of Legends fans enjoy these games (assuming they're good). Maybe they'll be less toxic people if they get into other kinds of game genres and are focused on lore. Even better, it could inspire other publishers to do similar things.


  1. I subjectively find the Koopalings fanbase to be the worst one, but saying LoL's is the worst is probably more objective.

    1. I am not sure about that, either objectively or subjectively. In a Discord server I am in, I learned the Squid Sister fandom gets vicious over which Squid Sister gets the bigger boobs despite their models having the same exact body type.

    2. Yeah but my fanbase does stuff I don't want to repeat in the comments section because it'll get marked by Google Safe Search.

    3. Is this why Miyamoto decided to write a false narrative about your father disowning all of you but keeping Bowser Jr.? Because of something that is beyond your control, that is how nasty fans think of you?

    4. No, because this fanbase does the same thing to Bowser Jr, despite him being a child.


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