Riot Games released its second developer update on Project L for 2022, giving an in-depth look at its core gameplay and tag systems.
Project L is Riot's upcoming 2D, assist-based tag-team fighter with two champs per team, set in the universe of Runeterra. In August, Project L executive producer Tom Cannon shared that the game will be free-to-play, as well as announced a new fighter, Illaoi.
Early into the new update, Cannon revealed that Illaoi has moved from the conceptual "DNA phase of development" to an early playable form live in their internal playtests. Footage of an early draft of Illaoi's model and kit was shown, which Cannon said was "about 30% complete." Illaoi's "combat fantasy" is imagined as a "big-body brawler" with tentacle attacks.
In the next segment of the dev diary, game director Shaun Rivera explained some of Project L's core gameplay principles. Per Rivera, Project L should be fun for all players right away, but also reward those who spend time mastering it. The devs' "dream" is that its champions have fast, powerful abilities that look visually appealing, and become stronger when paired with flexible systems.
Project L is also being designed to have quick, fluid movement that does seem to have a high skill ceiling, as Rivera mentioned that there will be "a ton of opportunities for player expression and mastery" in this regard. In Project L, players can walk, run, dash, chain dash, jump, long jump and super jump. Many champions are also said to have their own unique air-mobility options.
On the offensive end, Rivera said that Project L should incentivize action with buttons that are worth pressing. Meanwhile, players will be given the tools needed to defend themselves in the form of both "big, clear defensive options" and "more nuanced systems that reward you for reading your opponent's next move."
RIvera also talked about the tag systems of Project L, which they admitted wasn't originally going to be in the game until around two years ago when they pivoted from the traditional 1v1 format. The tag systems are said to be deep and flexible, and allow two-champion teams to take down opponents together in hype moments. In a Project L team, players' main champion is known as a "Point," while their other champion is called an "Assist."
Three of Project L's tag systems were explained in this dev blog (names subject to change):
- Assist Actions: Players' "bread and butter." Each champion has two they can perform from off-screen. The input can be held to get a Charge Assist.
- Handshake Tag: Lets players immediately swap between their Point and Assist champions as long as they're both on-screen. Can be combined with Assist Actions to setup powerful pressure sequences, as well as extend combos.
- Dynamic Save: Described as Project L's combo breaker. At the start of each match, players have access to their Dynamic Save ability, which lets you call your Assist champion on-screen in an attempt to to save your Point champion. Dynamic Saves can be countered if being used too predictably.
Lastly, Cannon said that more news on Project L will be coming in 2023.