Riot Games' LoL MMO Will Be “Going Dark” for Several Years

A screenshot from League of Legends animated series, Arcane.
Credit: Riot Games

A screenshot from League of Legends animated series, Arcane.
Credit: Riot Games

Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill confirmed a significant setback for the highly anticipated Runeterra MMORPG. The project will face a delay and a major redirection, with Fabrice Condominas, who has experience at industry giants like Riot, BioWare, and EA, taking the reins as the new Executive Producer.

This announcement comes as a blow to lore-loving fans, particularly following the major layoffs earlier this year, which resulted in the closure of Riot Forge and other avenues for storytelling.

A long road ahead for the Riot MMORPG

Rumours of a Riot Games MMORPG have been swirling for years. In 2019, Merrill himself teased the possibility of a Runeterra-based MMO. A year later, Greg Street officially announced its development.

Since then, details on this potentially groundbreaking MMO have been scarce. Recently, Merrill reassured fans that the game is still in development but emphasised the need for a "silent phase" to allow the team to tackle the massive undertaking ahead.

Riot MMO delay announcement from @MarcMerrill on X.
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Credit: @MarcMerrill

Merrill revealed that after considerable reflection, the team decided to reset the project's direction. He explained, “The initial vision just wasn’t different enough from what you can play today.”

Merrill continues: “We don’t believe you all want an MMO that you’ve played before with a Runeterra coat of paint; to truly do justice to the potential of Runeterra and to meet the incredibly high expectations of players around the world, we need to do something that truly feels like a significant evolution of the genre.”

This ambitious goal, Merrill acknowledged, presents a significant challenge. However, he expressed confidence in the team, composed of passionate MMO players and experienced developers

Miss Fortune and Bilgewater from Legends of Runeterra.
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Credit: Riot Games

To guide the project in its new direction, Fabrice Condominas, a veteran leader with experience at Riot, BioWare, and EA, has been appointed Executive Producer. Merrill praised Condominas' fresh perspective and dedication to excellence, qualities crucial for navigating this “difficult journey”.

Merrill acknowledged that the groundwork for the pivot began some time ago. Under the previous leadership of Vijay Thakkar, known for his work on Star Wars Galaxies, the team built crucial technical foundations to support the ambitious vision. Merrill expressed gratitude for Thakkar's contributions and confirmed his ongoing involvement as Technical Director.

Ashe and The Freljord from Legends of Runeterra.
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Credit: Riot Games

The shift in direction necessitates a long period with minimal communication, likely lasting several years.

The news of the delay and direction change was met with mixed reactions from fans. Many expressed disappointment at the lack of new information. As X user @chezbubulle said:

“You have been dark since the beginning of the project, and honestly it has taken a big toll on the hype surrounding the MMO. The community really needs some actual information, not just who is working on it... "We will be in the dark for several more years" is just brutal”

Others expressed understanding for the development time required for such an ambitious project @Byrdman778 says:

“I mean, I would rather them take their time and put out a good product than something half baked, but I am quite disappointed to hear this.”

Ultimately, fans appear to have little choice but to be patient. As Merrill concluded, "We understand the excitement and anticipation that surrounds new information, but we ask for your trust during this silent phase." He offered reassurance with the closing statement: "Remember, 'no news is good news,' as it means we're hard at work, pouring our hearts and souls into making something that we hope you’ll love.”

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