Topline: Notorious for relying on a single game for a decade, League of Legends creator Riot Games made waves last year with a 10-year-anniversary presentation that revealed a wholly original first-person shooter tentatively dubbed Project A, and a former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro today revealed new details about the mysterious title that shows Riot may be vying to own another esport.
- Currently a CS:GO commentator, Henry “HenryG” Greer, compared Project A positively to Valve’s signature shooter in that two teams of five players compete in multiple rounds on seperate sides trying to either plant and detonate a bomb or prevent the other squad from doing so.
- Also like CS:GO, getting eliminations and round wins will give teams money to purchase advantages through better weapons and equipment at the start of each round, naturally building the high-intensity tug-of-war momentum that defines one of the world’s top esports.
- While the brief sneak peak of Project A in the fall hinted at unique abilities for the game’s player characters a la the more modern Overwatch and Apex Legends, according to Greer, most of these special moves can be purchased like any other equipment at the start of the round.
- This tracks with Riot’s messaging around the game’s announcement that Project A was more of a tactical shooter than a direct, ability-driven Overwatch competitor, as Greer notes that abilities are secondary to gunplay and, like CS:GO, one shot can turn into an instant elimination.
What To Watch For: The timeline of its release. So far the company has met promises with its other announced projects, all spin-offs of League of Legends. Its collectible card game and Hearthstone competitor Legends of Runeterra just entered open beta, and its popular Teamfight Tactics game mode is currently on track to hit mobile starting in March.
Key Background: Riot Games currently operates not just one of the most popular games in the world, but arguably the top esport in League of Legends, and it looks to be positioning itself to own a new genre and major esport with Project A. As described by esports journalist Rod Breslau, Valve’s CS:GO is wildly popular—this week, the 7-year-old game broke its all-time concurrent player record with 901,651 people playing at once—but it hasn’t had the same penetration in Asia, where the competing shooter CrossFire—and League of Legends—dominate. Plus, Riot’s Project A is avoiding any analogies to terrorists unlike CS:GO, which has made it a more difficult property to sell to brands and sponsors.
Big Number: $20 billion. That’s how much Riot Games has made in its lifetime despite only releasing a single game.