League of Legends has turned 10 years old and developer Riot Games has celebrated the game's anniversary... by announcing a bunch of games it is developing that will hopefully replace it. In all seriousness, it's an exciting prospect to hear that Riot Games is developing new games. One specifically is very intriguing and its the fighting game. Riot Games hired Seth Killian, who previously oversaw the Street Fighter franchise, a few years back and bought his prototype for a fighting game called Rising Thunder. So he must've been doing something with them this whole time. Using the League of Legends IP, both parties have a lot to work with.
One aspect of fighting games that people always latch on to its visuals. Fighting games often have you doing flashy cool things and you want that to look as flashy and as cool as possible. League of Legends won't have to worry too much about this because it has a very bright, colorful, and expressive visual style. It's perfect for a fighting game, with its cartoony landscapes and pretty vistas. They will have to create more locals and places to fight, though. Fisticuffs in Summoner's Rift over and over is going to get old eventually.
In addition to the graphics of the game are the animations, and these are very important to a fighting game. The way the fighters move their bodies and weapons (if they have one) will tell the player what kind of attack they are performing and where. Riot Games has put a lot of importance in its animations if their cinematics for League of Legends is anything to go by. They always have impressive animation work there and while translating that to real-time fighting might be difficult, hopefully, they are putting the necessary resources into the visuals and animations.
Cast of Champions
More important than the visuals in a fighting game is a good roster. A fighting game must have a diverse cast of characters for two reasons. First, most people play fighting games because they see one of the playable characters and want to play as them. They like their design, they like their abilities, they like their attitude -- whatever it is that attracts them to that character. Therefore you're going to want to make a character for everyone so everyone will want to play the game.
The second reason is that the more characters you have, the more match-ups you'll have in the game. This is important for the longevity of your game. It's important to have a solid roster that's fun to play as well as fun to play against. Luckily, League of Legends has over 100 characters to pull from. They all have unique designs, inspired by different sources, meaning there's a lot of different people they could appeal to play the game. This will also help in the matchup department as the sheer number of champions at their disposal will make for really different and compelling gameplay. They will have trouble with balance but they have managed to keep League of Legends fairly balanced so maybe not.
Means of Attack
Each of these characters needs to be fun to play and it helps that each already has abilities to pull from for special moves and super moves. Seth Killian's Rising Thunder prototype gave characters four buttons for normal attacks, but also had three buttons for special attacks and one for supers. Special and Super moves worked on a cooldown system, similar to League of Legends. This system fits perfectly with the type of attacks and it's most likely this fighting game will feature this type of fighting system since it fits so perfectly. It'll be accessible to League of Legends players, as well as appeal to the casual market.
However, they are going to have to expand on what these characters can do when it comes to their normal attacks. Most don't think of this because normal attacks are not as flashy or as identifiable as special or super attacks. However, normal attacks are the finite detail that usually defines a character's fighting style or discipline. Whether a character is trained in Taekwondo doesn't typically show in their special moves. It's all in the normals. It'll be interesting to see what Riot Games come up with since these characters have no normal attacks of any description. If anything, the normal attacks in League of Legends are the minions and monsters.
Compete to Win
Finally, many fighting games go on to be an eSport, with a dedicated group of fans that will play in competitions of the game until the game stops receiving support. Some fighting games go on beyond that. Take Super Smash Bros Melee for example. Of course, Riot Games has well more than just its foot in the door when it comes to eSports and its fighting game will have a leg up beyond the competition as a result. It's now not uncommon for a publisher to have more than just one game entered into an eSports competition. Why wouldn't Riot Games?
As of right now, very little is known about the fighting game Riot Games is working on. Seeing as the developer has stated that the game is still very early, we'll probably be waiting a long time until we see the final results. However, with the talent they have behind this project and the polish League of Legends has had, the possibilities are vast and exciting and it's sure to be worth the wait.