In an exclusive interview with Variety, Riot Games’ co-founder Marc Merrill discussed the future of Riot and their next game. In the interview, Merrill states that Riot are now looking beyond their flagship title, League of Legends. While he discusses many ideas and possibilities, he states “we focus on what would be worth someone’s time. That’s the only type of game we want to create: games with longevity — that’s worth your time.” With League of Legends dominating the MOBA market for nine years, it’s evident that Riot are looking to make another genre defining hit. As Variety reports, Merrill hopes that in the next five years Riot Games are known for more than just developing League of Legends.
Part of the reason for this new direction is the changing workplace of Riot Games. After nearly a decade since League of Legends’ launch, Riot has evolved. The massive company dedicates itself to the equally dedicated League of Legends fanbase and has expanded to meet this end. However, last year Merrill and fellow co-founder Brandon Beck announced that they were stepping away from their management roles to get more involved active game development. Merrill states that he and Beck are now acting like free agents within Riot, moving between where they are needed. Without the managerial responsibilities, Riot’s founders appear to now be focusing on games. Merrill states “Having an incredible leadership team that could take over the day-to-day operations means that we can be closer to our product, closer to what we love to do, which is drive things that would excite players.”
While there are no details about what shape or form the next game will take, there is evidence to suggest that it will be an MMORPG. It would make sense, if longevity is what Riot is hoping for. Last week Merrill posted this tweet, asking fans if they should build an MMO. While this points towards a Riot Games MMORPG, Merrill told Variety that realistically a lot of concepts and genres are being explored, with Merrill questioning the future of the MMO genre. However, Variety notes that five years ago Riot invested heavily in their research and development department, with as many as hundreds in this team today. Merrill explains that this team’s role is to test new game design ideas, assumably for potential game ideas.
While a League of Legends MMORPG could solve the issue of both the growing number of disenfranchised League of Legends fans and the need to have a long lasting game, Merrill states “there is no imperative that we just do things in the ‘League of Legends’ universe.”