“Almost every” future Riot Games title will be competitive, says esports head

"I think that almost every game that you see Riot produce and develop will be competitive"

John Needham, president of esports at Riot Games – the developer behind Valorant and League Of Legends – has shared that “nearly every game” that the company makes will be competitive with “some sort of esports component to it”.

At the launch of Riot’s Project Stryker broadcast centre in Dublin, Needham spoke to NME about the company’s plans to incorporate esports into future Riot titles – including Project L, an upcoming fighting game.

“If you look at Riot’s games, almost all of our games are competitive games, with varying levels of whether they’d be good sports or not,” said Needham. “We’ve talked about L publicly, obviously esports is a really core part of the fighting game community, so we’ll be investing there.”

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John Needham. Credit: Tristan Fewings / Stringer / Getty Images.
John Needham. Credit: Tristan Fewings / Stringer / Getty Images.

“But all the games that Riot produces, we really look at games that can span generations. Usually those games are online competitive games – so I think that almost every game that you see Riot produce and develop will be competitive, which by its nature of being competitive, there’ll be some sort of esports component to it.”

It’s possible that Project L isn’t the only competitive game in the works at Riot, as other upcoming projects that will make “great esports” were mentioned during a tour of Project Stryker.

Besides esports, Needham also shared that Project Stryker will be used to support the rest of Riot’s entertainment division, which include the company’s 2021 Netflix series Arcane and a long list of musical projects that has attracted talent including Denzel Curry, Pusha T, Madison Beer and Imagine Dragons.

“When you look at this facility, it’s not exclusive to esports content,” shared Needham. “We can produce live music events [and] live entertainment experiences as well. We’re very much looking at how we can leverage this kind of infrastructure to reach this ambition of being a new kind of entertainment company.”

League Of Legends – Arcane
Credit: Riot Games

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Needham added that Riot is “actively working on” plans to explore Project Stryker’s non-esports side.

“We will be helping the entertainment division and all their ambitions for music and other entertainment content, produce events, do broadcasts – we have all the expertise to really help them in that. We’ll be very much involved in that – there are some plans we haven’t really talked about yet.”

Earlier in the month, Porter Robinson spoke to NME about working with Riot to create ‘Everything Goes On’ for League Of Legends.

In other gaming news, Stray modders have been turning their own cats into stars of the game.

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