Riot Games is building on its own internal efforts to crank out more games in the League of Legends universe by starting up a new publishing label that encourages smaller studios to do the same.
That new publishing arm Riot Forge is set to be headed up by Riot Labs head Leanne Loombe and, as she tells The Verge, wants external development teams to bring their own style and feel to the world, characters, and stories Riot has built up through a decade of its free-to-play MOBA League of Legends.
While Riot itself will ultimately help developers it partners with navigate those years of League of Legends lore for their own creations, the company plans to function as a watchful publisher and not as a hands-on development partner, largely leaving devs “the freedom to make their own stylistic and gameplay decisions,” in Loombe’s words.
Riot Games was, for the longest time, a single-game studio seemingly focused primarily on keeping League of Legends alive and well. That changed this October when Riot all at once announced several games across multiple platforms and genres, some of which are still known only by codenames.
While the company has now done its part to make League of Legends a more robust franchise, Loombe tells The Verge that the publishing arm is Riot’s way of further expanding the property into genres and business models it itself isn’t familiar with.
“Making live service, competitive games requires a certain skillset which Riot is an expert in,” Loombe says. “Those types of games are fundamentally different to the completable games that Riot Forge is focused on. Riot doesn’t have a ton of traditional experience making completable games, so we’re working with studios who do have that experience and unique style to bring a new look to League of Legends.”