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Riot’s new Project L fighting game is free to play — everything we know so far

project l
(Image credit: Riot Games)

Riot Games is currently developing Project L: a free-to-play fighting game based on the company’s immensely popular League of Legends franchise. This is hardly the first time that the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game has explored other genres. Previously, we’ve seen a tactical auto-battler (Teamfight Tactics), a digital card game (Legends of Runeterra) and a turn-based RPG (Ruined King: A League of Legends Story).

Still, Project L represents the first time that the League of Legends cast will appear in a fighting game. Thanks to ongoing developer updates, we know a handful of facts about Project L, even though we don’t yet have a solid release date, character roster or even a full title.

Read on to learn everything we know so far about Project L.

Project L free-to-play information

project l

(Image credit: Riot Games)

On August 1, Riot released a new video in its /dev series, entitled “The Latest on Project L.” As the title suggests, these videos give players a brief glimpse into Project L’s development process, sharing new information in each entry. You can watch the whole update below, although there’s only about two minutes’ worth of information:

Tom Cannon, executive producer of Project L, shared some vital info about the upcoming fighting game. He explained that the game would be entirely free-to-play:

“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,” he said. “To that, I’m happy to confirm that Project L will be free to play.”

Cannon pointed out that Riot fans will probably not be shocked to hear this, as most of the company’s other games are also F2P (including League of Legends). However, he also took some time to reassure potential customers that the game’s pricing structure will not be predatory.

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

Project L release window speculation

project l

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Riot Games has not announced a release date, or a release window for Project L. The company first announced Project L back in 2019, so it’s been in development for at least three years at some point. Most games of this scale take between 3 and 5 years to develop, so it seems reasonable to expect the game sometime between late 2022 and 2024.

Based on what Riot has shown off of the game so far, it looks playable, but incomplete. As such, 2023 might be a reasonable timeframe.

Project L characters

project l

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Earlier on in its development cycle, Riot confirmed five League of Legends characters who will be playable in Project L:

  • Jinx
  • Ekko
  • Darius
  • Ahri
  • Katarina

On August 1, Riot revealed one additional champion: kraken priestess Ilaoi. In a /dev blog post, a team of Project L developers shared information about Ilaoi’s character design, narrative role, art style, gameplay characteristics and more. It’s an informative look into Project L’s development cycle, and worth a read if you’ve ever been curious about how dev teams create fighting game characters.

Project L gameplay

project l

(Image credit: Riot Games)

According to Cannon, Project L is “an assist-based fighter with two champs per team.” As of August 1, the core mechanics for the game are almost complete, so a lot of the team has moved onto designing new champions or figuring out Project L’s interface.

For gamers who aren’t familiar with fighting game styles, an “assist-based fighter” means that players select multiple characters, and switch between them as a match progresses. A new character can “assist” the old one as he or she swaps in, hence Cannon’s description. Similar fighting games include Dragon Ball FighterZ, or Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.

Tom’s Guide will have more information on Project L as the development cycle continues. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about some of the characters in the game, you can play League of Legends for free.

Marshall Honorof
Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.