Riot Games is developing a mobile version of League of Legends alongside Chinese tech company Tencent, Reuters said today in a report confirmed by Kotaku.
A source with knowledge of the upcoming mobile game told Kotaku that it “plays differently” from League of Legends, although it retains the hit MOBA’s general appearance. “The game is not a 1-to-1 port,” the source said, adding that it has different items and runes and, potentially, fewer characters. “The gameplay is built for mobile.”
According to Reuters, Riot and Tencent have been working on the game for over a year. Riot and Tencent did not return Kotaku’s request for comment by press time.
Tencent has owned Riot since 2015, and around then, the behemoth Chinese company allegedly initiated talks with Riot about making a mobile adaptation of League of Legends. Riot reportedly ended up declining. In addition to preferring their in-house designers to Tencent’s, a report from The Information alleges, “Riot’s founders didn’t want to water down the PC-based ‘League’ for smartphones.”
Afterward, Tencent published mobile strategy game Honor of Kings, which is reminiscent of League of Legends. The game was huge in China, earning the company alleged billions. Yet it looks like the version of Honor of Kings that made its way to the US app store—Arena of Valor—flopped.
Riot has published one video game in its 13 years of existing. And although League of Legends is still enormously popular on PC, a well-regarded mobile game could help sustain its dominance for years to come if it proves appealing in markets like China.