Riot Games is asking staff to return to the office without the need for masks or proof-of-vaccination.
As reported by Waypoint, which spoke with two current Riot employees and one former staffer, Riot Games chief security officer Christopher Hymes recently told workers in Los Angeles the company will be dropping its mask mandate.
Employees were also informed the League of Legends developer will be scrapping mandatory testing for employees who haven't provided proof-of-vaccination, and said the policy shift was being implemented because mask mandates were being dropped in Los Angeles.
In a statement sent to Waypoint, a Riot spokesperson said the company remains "committed" to following public health recommendations, but confirmed the company will no longer require individuals to wear a face covering on its premises.
"Recently, state and local regulations have updated their COVID-19 recommendations, including vaccination and mask mandate requirements, so Riot followed their lead. In accordance with LA County health orders, Riot strongly encourages, but does not require, all individuals to wear a face covering while on Riot’s property," they commented.
"That said, we know that some Rioters will feel more comfortable wearing masks, and we want our campus to be a place where people feel safe to take whatever precautions best fit their needs. We are encouraging Rioters to have open communication and to be empathetic and accommodating toward those colleagues who prefer masking up."
Those staff members who spoke with Waypoint described the policy shift as "foolish and pointless," and said the change is "being handled without real guarantee of our safety."
“I'm angry over it," said a current Riot employee. "We're just playing Russian roulette with Rioters’ health."
It's unclear whether the same policies will be rolled out at Riot's studios in other regions including Japan and Singapore, as all the sources who spoke with Waypoint are based in LA.
The news comes shortly after Activision Blizzard moved to ditch its own vaccine mandate, before changing course and allowing individual studios to set their own policies after staff threatened to walkout.
Game Developer has reached out to Riot for more information.