Riot Games laid off over 500 people last night, and no we don’t know what it means for the Riot MMO


Riot Games is joining the seemingly endless list of game studios continuing to dump workers overboard: Last night, the company announced it is shedding a whopping 530 employees, representing 11% of the company. The studio tells players “the biggest impact [is] to teams outside of core development,” though the growing list of affected devs says otherwise. The reorganization is centered on prioritizing League of Legends, VALORANT, Teamfight Tactics, Wild Rift, and of course, esports. “Expect events, modes, and long-term roadmaps that lead to vibrant (hopefully multi-decade) futures for these games,” the company vows.

“Since 2019, we’ve made a number of big bets across the company with the goal of making it better to be a player. We jumped headfirst into creating new experiences and broadening our portfolio, and grew quickly as we became a multi-game, multi-experience company — expanding our global footprint, changing our operating model, bringing in new talent to match our ambitions, and ultimately doubling the size of Riot in just a few years. Today, we’re a company without a sharp enough focus, and simply put, we have too many things underway. Some of the significant investments we’ve made aren’t paying off the way we expected them to. Our costs have grown to the point where they’re unsustainable, and we’ve left ourselves with no room for experimentation or failure – which is vital to a creative company like ours. All of this puts the core of our business at risk.”

It sounds as if Legends of Runeterra is being hit particularly hard as it costs “significantly more to develop and support than it generates.” Consequently, Riot is cutting the team back to refocus on Path of Champions. A separate memo from LOR’s game director makes it clear that he’s also leaving the “new, refocused team” in the hands of Riot’s Eric Shen. Riot is also sunsetting its Riot Forge partnership development.

MMO players are surely wondering about the Riot MMO that was underway, but this blog post doesn’t address it specifically; it does talk up several pipeline projects in “various stages of R&D” as well as Project L. In fact, the team reiterates that in canceling Riot Forge, it will “refocus [its] efforts on the ambitious projects underway internally at Riot.”

“In early February, we’ll be holding a product focused RiotNow to get deeper into our portfolio and to discuss some of our plans for players in 2024,” Riot’s internal memo says.

Source: Riot Games, memo. Cheers, Bruno and zenjitzu.
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