Riot Games promised another update for its League of Legends fighter, Project L, this year — and it’s shaping up just in time to make that deadline with a new look at its gameplay systems.
Uploaded to Riot’s official YouTube channel, this latest look at Project L is guided by executive producer Tom Cannon and game director Shaun Rivera. The developer diary dives into the state of some previously revealed champions, like Illaoi, and explains the design philosophies behind turning the League fighter into an assist-based showdown.
League of Legends Fighter Project L Screenshots
Cannon kicked off the video with an Illaoi update, explaining previous iterations shared of the champion were early design concepts. Now, it seems those pieces for her model and fleshed-out kit are coming together, with today’s Illaoi combat footage showing off a version of the character that’s “about 30% complete.”
The brief look at Project L’s “big body brawler” shares a closer look at some of signature features from the MOBA, like her golden artifact and Nagakabouros tentacles. In her earliest playable form, Cannon noted Illaoi is live in Riot’s internal playtest.
In previous Project L updates, Riot detailed its “easy-to-learn but hard-to-mastery mentality.” Rivera kicked off his design philosophy breakdown with those same principles, outlining how the pillars of their gameplay systems will guide that core idea through movement, offense, defense, tag-teaming, and assist actions.
/dev: Gameplay Basics & Tag in Project L
To cap off the year, let’s take a closer look at Project L’s core gameplay: We believe in systems that are deep and flexible, including dynamic movement, impactful buttons, and a whole lot of tag. pic.twitter.com/dzde0Ah48a
— Riot Games (@riotgames) December 5, 2022
Riot conjures up a few of these fighting game staples for Project L, demonstrating how it’s taking movement a little further with champions that can walk, run, dash, chain dash, jump, long jump, and super jump. Rivera added that some champions would have more unique movement options in the air, while the video showed Ahri’s flighty jumps resembling her Spirit Rush from the MOBA.
“We were originally developing Project L to be a one-v-one game where two champions enter, and one emerges victorious,” said Rivera. “But around two years ago, we made the pivot to a tag team assist-based fighter. Our tag systems are deep and flexible, aimed at helping you unlock your creativity. They work in tandem with our champions, allowing two champion teams to take down opponents together.”
Rivera outlined a few elements that guide Project L’s take on the team fight with the tentatively named Assist Actions, Handshake Tag, and Dynamic Save. Every champion will have two Assist Actions, and the moves may look different depending on your execution. Handshake Tag allows players to swap out their character as long as both teammates are on screen, and these can be chained together with Assist Actions.
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As for Dynamic Save—this is Project L’s combo breaker, available at the start of each match. It’s the clutch save for tagging out one champion for another, but Rivera cautioned players to use it wisely, “be careful about timing your Dynamic Save because you can be countered if you’re being too predictable.”
It’s been three years since Riot first announced its League of Legends fighter, and while updates have been a little thin, the developer has slowly ramped up that effort. Recently, Riot confirmed Project L will be free to play. And while some rumors claimed otherwise, the studio also said its fighter will not reward players with NFTs.
Andrea Shearon is a freelance contributor for IGN covering games and entertainment. She’s worn several hats over her seven-year career in the games industry, with bylines over at Fanbyte, USA Today’s FTW, TheGamer, VG247, and RPG Site. Find her on Twitter (@Maajora) or the Materia Possessions podcast chatting about FFXIV, RPGs, and any series involving giant robots.