Riot Games, a venture-backed start-up, plans to create “League of Legends,” an online game that combines quick-hit sessions with fantasy action settings. It’s the video game equivalent of a pick-up basketball game.
The inspiration for the game is the free “mod,” or user-generated modification, dubbed “Defense of the Ancients,” a popular version of “Warcraft III” that has an estimated 10 million players. That game has its limitations and so Riot Games decided to make a better, brand new game on its own.
The Los Angeles company raised $7 million from Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital a couple of months ago. Riot Games has 40 employees working on the game. The goal is to make it highly replayable so that players will keep on coming back during lunch breaks or other short intervals during the day. The whole idea is to make hardcore online games more accessible to wider audiences who don’t have as much time to play.
The art of the game is highly stylistic, in contrast to more realistic games. It is set in a fantasy universe. Players will assume the identities of wizards, known as “summoners,” and will have dozens of champions which they can conjure to fight in a variety of battlegrounds. Summoners can carry their talents from game to game, but the champions start anew with every session. Champions include characters such as Nunu the Yeti Rider, an arrow-firing dwarf who rides atop a snow monster.
The players will have a say in how the game evolves over time, said Brandon Beck, chief executive of Riot Games. To create the game, Beck recruited Steve “Guinsoo” Feak, one of the creator of the original Defense of the Ancients mod. The company is using contractors in Shanghai. The game is expected to debut on the PC next year. As many as six players can play against six others.