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Riot Games has announced a plan for a big expansion in Seattle with the purchase of an office in Mercer Island, Washington.

The Los Angeles maker of League of Legends and other games will hire game developers as part of its expansion in the Seattle area as it needs new talent to support titles like the shooter game Valorant.

Riot bought the Mercer Park Workplace office building located in Mercer Island. The company will transform the 156,000 square foot building into a game dev facility where it will hire more than 400 employees to support engineering, research and development, and live services for Valorant and other new games in development.

That won’t be easy to do in the pandemic climate, which has been marked by big shortages of game developers. Riot also has taken hits in the past over charges of having a sexist culture. Litigation around that continues, but Riot has said it has taken steps to change.

“We’ve planted strong roots in Bellevue for several years and we’re eager to continue to invest and grow in the greater Seattle area, where there is an abundance of innovative talent committed to making games a meaningful pursuit,” said Scott Gelb, president of games at Riot, in a statement. “This expansion is part of our global network of development studios that will ensure we tap into the best talent across the world, so that we’re always exceeding players’ highest expectations. We want to be the company of choice for developers who want to make amazing games that will unleash fandom everywhere.”

I should note that I’ve been enjoying Riot’s Arcane animated television show on Netflix, and I am on the last episode. The artwork is amazing and the backstory of the game’s characters is pretty compelling. I think it will serve its purpose of stoking fans to play more League of Legends.

Riot’s new office at the center of Mercer Island in the Seattle area joins the 20-plus office locations around the world including U.S. locations in St. Louis, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the company headquarters in Los Angeles.

“Mercer Island is welcoming a unique and celebrated company to the community,” Mercer Island city manager Jessi Bon said, in a statement. “We’re excited to see Riot Games invest themselves here and we look forward to having 400 new workers collaborating, dining, exploring and calling the Island home.”

The Seattle expansion is one of Riot’s most recent expansion efforts to create a growing global network of development studios that continually attracts top-tier developers wherever they are to work on high-quality games. Over the summer, Nicolo Laurent announced during ChinaJoy, a digital entertainment conference in China, that Riot would be putting its new global R&D studio in Shanghai, China. The Shanghai office is slated to have hundreds of new game developers over the next few years, who would build new games, as well as work on esports and existing titles.

While Riot is currently working remotely, it plans to maintain a balance of virtual and in-person work to uphold its culture, community, and creative approach. Every Rioter will have three “core” days in the office instead of five, with the other two designated as “flex” days where Rioters can come into the office or work from home, at their discretion.

Riot was founded in 2006 and it released League of Legends in 2009. It has more than 3,000 employees.

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