Developer and publisher Riot Games is reportedly working on a mobile version of the popular battle arena game League of Legends, with help from Chinese tech company Tencent.
Reuters initially reported the news before it was later confirmed by Kotaku, who heard that the mobile version will not be a straight up port of the PC game, suggesting that it will play differently, have fewer characters, and different items. The publication was essentially told that the game is being built specifically for mobile.
According to Reuters, Riot and Tencent have been working on League of Legends mobile for over a year now. Tencent also worked with Activision to develop the Call of Duty: Mobile game, which is starting to roll out in the West following a successful run in China.
Tencent acquired Riot back in 2015. It was around this time that the Chinese company apprently opened discussions with Riot about creating a mobile version of League of Legends – though Riot are alleged to have initially declined, as the studio ” didn’t want to water down the PC-based ‘League’ for smartphones.”
It’s unclear what inspired Riot to change its mind, though Tencent published the League-inspired mobile strategy game Honor of Kings, which blew up in China and reportedly earned the company billions, while Arena of Valor – the version of the game released in the West – flopped.
Obviously, Tencent would still want a slice of the League pie, though. One of the sources who spoke to Reuters said that “League of Legends is like the World Cup whereas Honour of Kings is just the Asia Cup.”
In other news, Tencent’s Call of Duty: Mobile will soon be getting its own 100 player battle royale mode that’s entirely separate from Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode, likely to compete with Fortnite and PUBG’s mobile versions.
Activision explained in a detailed post on its blog:
It’s standalone from other Battle Royale experiences in Call of Duty. So, those familar Call of Duty®:Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode may find some familiarity, but ultimately this experience is unique to Call of Duty: Mobile. So prepare for some thrilling and exciting gameplay on the go as you deploy, scavenge and survive in any way you can.
A separate source suggested to Reuters that League of Legends mobile is unlikely to be released in 2019, so don’t count on seeing it anytime soon.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.