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League of Legends 2D fighter Project L will be free-to-play

Riot wants to remove any barriers keeping players from accessing Project L including cost as it was revealed that the game will be free-to-play.

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If you’re a League of Legends fan eager to jump into a brand new experience, the upcoming 2D fighter Project L may pique your interest. Not only will Project L offer a new 2D fighting experience, it’s also been revealed today that the game will be free-to-play.

The news of Project L being free-to-play comes courtesy of Tom Cannon, the game's Senior Director and EP, in a quick update video posted to Twitter.

The video notes that last November, the team showed off some of the game’s core concepts and “rebooted art style” with fans responding positively to what was shown. Cannon then mentions that, “Your reactions and excitement gave us the reassurance that we’re heading in the right direction.”

As of right now, the team is finishing up work on core mechanics, such as building champions or game features like competitive play and social systems. Following this info, Cannon goes on to share the exciting news that yes, Project L will be free-to-play.

To help alleviate any concerns in terms of how Riot will monetize the project, Cannon mentions that, “When it comes to monetization we promise to be respectful of both your time and your wallet.” If that’s not enough to get you excited for Project L, Riot also shared a blog post today with a sneak peek on the development of one of the characters that’ll occupy the game’s starting roster.

The character is Illaoi, the Kraken Princess with the blog post outlining how elements such as a well-placed ult, her story and theme, and her role in Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, are among the factors for why she’s been tapped to be included in Project L’s starting roster.

For more on this, be sure to read through the blog post from Riot Games. If you'd like to hear for yourself that Project L will be free-to-play, you can also check out the full video from Tom Cannon on Twitter.

Illaoi, the Kraken Princess character model standing in front of a white backdrop
© Riot Games

After hearing that Project L will be free-to-play, and confirmation of champions like Illaoi, we’re curious what your thoughts are on the game. Are you looking forward to checking it out? What other League of Legends characters are you hoping to see in the roster? Let us know in Chatty!

For more on League of Legends, check out some of our previous coverage including how League of Legends and other Riot Games content is coming to Xbox Game Pass.

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 1, 2022 9:00 AM

    Morgan Shaver posted a new article, League of Legends 2D fighter Project L will be free-to-play

    • reply
      August 1, 2022 10:01 AM

      Still not sure why every fighter isn't free to play at this point. It's still a niche genre and seems like the best way to keep it accessible and potentially grow the playerbase and community so it's no longer as fringe as it still currently is, and eventually make all these companies a lot more money than they currently do selling a relatively low amount of copies at $60 a pop.

      There hasn't been that many major attempts so far. Killer Instinct? I thought it could begin a trend but it really didn't.

      For platform fighters there is Brawlhalla and now Multiversus, which seems quite popular, but traditional fighting games from the flagship publishers and studios are still avoiding it for whatever reason.

      In these standard fighting games with potentially massive rosters where you really only settle on and learn to play a few of them in the end, often just one main, maybe it doesn't make as much monetary sense? If additional characters are the main microtransactions? Though growing the number of players keeping the base stuff open might outweigh all that, and there's more to monetize in the end.

      My only issue would be is if there was no way to try a character before buying them. There currently isn't a way to do that in fighting games with paid DLC characters, though, unless they have special free trial events like SFV rarely did, but that's not good enough.

      Multiversus already did it right by unlocking all characters for offline / local play. This also greatly benefits tournament organizers, kinda seems big for any F2P fighter to be successful competitively.

      • reply
        August 1, 2022 11:47 AM

        Tekken 7 sold nine million copies (not to mention the four waves of DLC), I’m not sure I’d label that as niche and don’t see the incentive for them to go F2P.

        I’m not as familiar with the #’s for titles outside the mainstream but I could see it making sense to have no barrier to entry, then charge $20+ for extra characters outside the base roster.

        • reply
          August 1, 2022 11:55 AM

          (I didn’t mean $20 per character)

        • reply
          August 1, 2022 12:25 PM

          It also took Tekken 7 5+ years to sell that many copies, but it's a populist outlier in the entire genre for sure, bigger than Street Fighter, even.

          Steam estimates are in the 2-5 million range of T7 owners (I would lean toward the lower end there with consoles making up the rest), but the daily average players over the years has been mainly in the 2-4k range, which probably wouldn't even make the top 150 on the whole platform. The people who actually get into these games stick with them still is what keeps them in the niche realm imo, even wildly successful mainstream ones like Tekken 7. A lot of people buy them and bounce off them, or wait for sales and do the same because they know they may not get into them. That said, you still only need a 2 people to play a match, so the numbers being that much lower than other multiplayer games really doesn't matter that much in the end.

          I'm really only coming at this the F2P question from the stance of wanting to see these games grow and have a larger active player base, and no barrier for entry can definitely help there. I know pure sales numbers speak loudly, but it's not like F2P games can't and don't make any money.

          The all time peak for T7 players on Steam was apparently ~18k, while the F2P MultiVersus game just released already topped out at ~153k. Really not comparable games, however. I'm sure the appeal of all those licensed characters has more to do with MultiVersus' popularity over something like Tekken as well.

          Street Fighter V has apparently sold over 6 million now, but it's only been hanging on with ~1-2k players for a long while. I would love SF6 to be free to play, but for Capcom that's probably still planted in the premium range like Tekken is for Namco after that much wide success. I really wanted them to try that with SFV at the time with all the microtransactions, characters, costumes, and more they were throwing at it, but nope. Maybe it wouldn't have been any more popular in the end.

          I do think it could definitely benefit the ones that are on the tiers below those, like your Guilty Gears and King of Fighters and DNF Duels and so forth.

          • reply
            August 1, 2022 1:35 PM

            Ultimately I support any strategy that has the potential to grow the scene. I'm a Tekken guy if that wasn't obvious, so I don't know as much about my 2D brothers and sisters but fighting games have always been a "rising tide lifts all boats" genre.

            It looks like Project L will give us a chance to see how that works out! I'll definitely be playing that, and I'm going to dabble with SF6 as well (at least one or two characters.)

      • reply
        August 1, 2022 12:23 PM

        I think mainstreaming F2P for 1v1 fighting games is worth a shot as long as the cosmetic model doesn't get out of hand.

        Fighter silhouettes and outlines and whatever etc etc. It seems that those rules are law, right up until they aren't and they want to sell a pretty outfit.

        After several years, there are multiple such outfits for every character, and a newcomer to the game never stands a chance because they will fight five different versions of the same character in their first few play sessions, and then walk away from the game.

        I don't think I ever confused a Demoman wearing a helmet for a Soldier wearing a kilt, but in some of the MOBAs, as a new player who only ever sees a loading screen model some of the characters are impossible to recognize with their $$$ outfits on.

        • reply
          August 1, 2022 12:36 PM

          That issue is usually less of a problem in a fighting game where the hitboxes remain the same, and you know exactly what character and moveset you are up against before the match even starts.

          That said, there can still be costumes with lots of fabric or accoutrements which can obfuscate some limbs and animations and definitely impact the gameplay. Or even just colors that can blend into certain backgrounds. I want to say there were some DLC outfits for SF4 or SFV that were banned in tournament play, but by and large, there was really no difference with most of the different skins and outfits. The creators usually try to keep things reigned in and as visible and playable as the stock models.

          • reply
            August 1, 2022 11:21 PM

            There are several banned SFV costumes, and at least 2 banned stages.

      • reply
        August 2, 2022 12:13 AM

        The only reason this is going to succeed is the inflation of tournament money riot is going to throw at it. Like other ftp fighting games they last a little bit then they fade away to the cult following or disappear (very few games)
        Riot money in tournaments will draw people and keep them there, a lot of the fgc tournament people have already stated this years ago.

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