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Developer Riot Games announced it will launch its upcoming multiplayer RPG/RTS League of Legends: Clash of Fates for free. Gamasutra speaks with president Marc Merrill about the move.

July 16, 2009

2 Min Read

Author: by Chris Remo, Eric Caoili

Independent developer and publisher Riot Games announced that it will launch upcoming multiplayer RPG/strategy game League of Legends: Clash of Fates for free this September, representing a major change in direction from the previous traditional pricing model the company was said to have been pursuing. Players will be able to spend real money to customize the look of their characters, nicknamed Summoners. The company stresses that gamers will not be able to purchase a power advantage over other players. Riot also plans to offer a $29.99 League of Legends Collector’s Pack retail option with exclusive items like Champion skins, Runes, Riot Points, and Champions. Gamers who preorder the PC bundle will also receive an exclusive Champion skin. Speaking to Gamasutra following the announcement, Riot president Marc Merrill characterized League of Legends as "the only $10 million-plus core-targeted game that has been developed in the West that leverages this emerging business model." He added, "And we’re doing it as an independent company." Traditionally, the free-to-play model has been employed in games aimed more at the casual and social markets, whereas League of Legends is positioned as a successor to the popular WarCraft III mod Defense of the Ancients. "There aren’t a lot of people doing what we’re doing," Merrill said. "The closest are FreeRealms and Battlefield Heroes, which are both targeting a more casual audience." Said CEO Brandon Beck in a statement, "One of our goals at Riot has been to set a high quality bar for core games that are available for free online as we believe that a relentless focus on delivering tremendous value to online communities will earn player loyalty. "League of Legends is being built as a highly competitive core game that we believe will change many people’s minds about the type and caliber of games that can be offered for free."

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