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Everything We Know About Project L

Every confirmed system, character, and update about Project L's release date, characters, gameplay, and esports space.
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Project L is the codename for a fighting game created by Riot Games that is promising to have an esports scene supported by a big developer unlike any other title.

You’ve probably heard the name Project L floating around. The game was announced back in 2019 but Riot has been pretty tight-lipped about the title. So what have we learned since then? What can the FGC expect?

On July 26, Riot dropped the biggest gameplay reveal so far complete with reactions from huge names in the FGC. Let's break it down:

In their usual pre-EVO fashion, the Cannon brothers and Riot Games gave us a much deeper look into Project L. In a couple of videos, they revealed that not only is the game a tag-based fighter, but that it will support 2 (human) players vs. 2 (other human) players. While tag fighters like Marvel vs. Capcom are mainstays of the FGC, this is the first time that a game has attempted a TRUE 2v2 format where each person controls their own individual character.

In their latest /dev post, Riot Games showed off some of the gameplay that revealed that the tag mechanics are 100% controlled by the players. So if you’re putting together a combo, you hit the tag button and your player-controlled teammate will take over and finish it off. The player waiting in the wings isn’t just sitting idle either, the assist moves that we’re so accustomed to in tag fighters are also player controlled. If you aren't too keen on the possibility of having a teammate in a fighting game, don't worry. You can also play solo and control both characters like a more traditional tag fighter.

Working from this foundation, many of the mechanics we saw in the previous dev post last year are even more dense. The handshake tag, which has both characters active at the same time, sounds even more wild with two different people moving around at the same time. In addition to these crazy tag situations, there's also things like "Dynamic Save" which works like Guilty Gears' "Burst" mechanic and a tag at the same time. You'd use this as a way to disrupt your opponents combos and potentially counter attack. Also, before you even get in the match there's now the "Fuse" system which provides certain augments to your team like being able to use two assists at a time instead of one. If you're a fan of League of Legends, this is reminiscent of the "Runes" in that game. There's even more creativity in the Runes which can do things like double handshake tag, canceling super moves, and more. It sounds very complex and that's before exploring the characters at all.

Various content creators like Justin Wong and Maximilian Dood were given access to the game and gave even more context to the games' mechanics if you want to wade into the weeds. There's also an entire match that Riot posted to their YouTube as well. And while there's now much more footage, that video is the only look we have at a start to finish match. That is until EVO at least. Executive Producer, Tom Cannon, revealed that there will be a playable version of the game on the floor in Las Vegas, which means we should be seeing a lot more of Project L very soon.

Lastly, we got a look at some of the UI and design elements of Project L which have been mostly under wraps since the games announcement nearly two years ago. It's a very clean interface with not much going on in the way of effects, letting the design of the characters take center stage. As of now we know that Darius, Ahri, Ekko, Jinx, and Ilaoi are confirmed for the game, but only the first three will be playable at RVO. However, Riot says that there's one more yet to be revealed champion that will be playable next weekend. 

When is Project L Coming Out?

There’s sadly no release date for Project L. But there are some speculations.

Developers stated in August of 2022 that they are “finishing up” the “core mechanics.” Since then, the team started working on building champions and other game features, including competitive play and social systems.

Then late 2022 some believed that Project L would be out in some capacity in 2023. Unfortunately, that looks like it’s not the case since Riot hasn’t revealed anything more about the game all year.

It’s a safe guess to say 2025 or 2026 but right now it’s all speculation.

Will Project L Be Free to Play?

Yes! Like all other Riot Games titles, Project L is set to be free to play.

“One of our goals is to remove as many barriers as possible from you enjoying Project L,” Senior Director Tom Cannon said. “We want you to be able to play no matter where you live, what your skill level is, or how much money you have to spend on a game.”

What Champions Will Be In Project L?

In August of 2022, developers gave a pretty big update about Project L — the first since League of Legends’ 10th anniversary in 2019. In the update, fighting game fans were shown some gameplay for the first time and some characters were revealed.

Like most of Riot’s games, Project L takes place in the League of Legends universe. That means all of the fighters on the roster are champions from League of Legends. Their fighting styles will be inspired by the champions’ abilities and lore in League of Legends — transformed into a 2.5D assist-based fighting game.

Here is the confirmed Project L roster:

  • Ahri
  • Darius
  • Ekko
  • Illaoi
  • Jinx
  • Katarina
  • Yasuo

The exact movesets for each champion are still a mystery but the short gameplay footage showed Darius wielding a large axe while Jinx has a minigun and a rocket launcher. Illaoi is a tank who lets her tentacles do the fighting while she soaks up damage. Ekko appears to have the ability to dash through attacks.

Project L Gameplay

From the beginning, developers knew that Project L would take place in Runeterra. But then the team had to decide what the gameplay would be like, settling on a 2.5D assist-based fighting game. Similar to Street Fighter 6, developers wanted the characters to be 3D models fighting on a horizontal plane.

To set Project L apart from other fighting games, it will feature a tag-team mechanic that allows players to have two champions on their team. You can swap them in and out while also using them to do deadly combos.

Said developers: “This is the right foundation to build a game that rewards strategic team building and on-the-fly decision making, on top of strong fighting fundamentals.”

The few trailers we have of the game reveal that matches are 90 seconds, there’s a combo tracker and a character meter that could possibly lead to a charged-up powerful attack. This is just a guess for now, however, since the purpose of the bar has not been revealed.

A private Japanese event revealed a bit more about possible gameplay elements after fighting game pro Bruce "GamerBee" Hsiang shared what he learned while attending.

"There will be three attack buttons for light, medium, and heavy attacks, along with other combination keys and directional inputs for special effects. There won't be any moves that require specific input commands, as all moves will be button+direction combinations,” he said on Twitter.

Project L Esports

GamerBee also revealed a bit more about the inner workings of Project L, including Riot’s plan to try and create a game with the same input lag across all platforms, including PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.

This is part of Riot’s vision to make Project L competitive. GamerBee said that there will be a pro esports scene for the fighting game. But Riot Games understands the importance of “locals” for fighting games and will limit official tournaments so Project L can still be found at community tournaments.

For now, this is all just word of mouth. So keep an eye out for official Riot Games updates, which can all be found on Esports Illustrated as it happens!