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Riot’s fighting game Project L will be free to play, have ‘respectful’ monetization

Project L’s next champion, Illaoi, also revealed

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Project L, the new 2D fighting game from Riot Games set in the League of Legends universe, will be free to play, senior director and executive producer Tom Cannon said in a development update Monday. Cannon noted the news likely won’t come as a surprise to players of League of Legends, Valorant, and other free-to-play Riot games, and added the Project L team is being mindful about how and when it will ask players for money.

“When it comes to monetization, we promise to be respectful of both your time and your wallet,” Cannon said.

Cannon also confirmed the next League champion coming to Project L: Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess. League of Legends players will likely be intimately familiar with Illaoi, who was added to Riot’s MOBA in 2015. But in Project L, and in fighting game terms, Illaoi will be a “Big Body Juggernaut” with a “huge hurtbox, massive hits, and slower movement, with a simple-to-learn, hard-to-master kit,” game designer Caroline Montano said in a Project L development blog.

“Illaoi is a strong and muscular woman who attacks with a giant totem, so it makes sense she would hit with her own physical strength, as opposed to hiding behind the power of her god or magical abilities,” Montano explained about Illaoi’s gameplay design. “We also needed tentacles. Illaoi’s god, Nagakabouros, is a tentacled sea monster, and there needed to be some aspect of that in her kit. But beyond empowering her attacks, Nagakabouros also gives Illaoi the strength to steal her opponent’s soul.”

There’s a lot more insight into Riot’s approach to bringing Illaoi to Project L in the team’s blog, if you’re interested. Illaoi will join five other previously confirmed League champions in Project L: Ahri, Darius, Ekko, Jinx, and Katarina.

Project L was first announced in 2019. The fighting game is being developed by former members of Radiant Entertainment, the studio behind canceled free-to-play fighting game Rising Thunder. Riot acquired Radiant in 2016.