Super Smash Bros. recently got a nifty new look with the addition of several League of Legends champions. As seen in several screenshots, champions from the popular MOBA game, including Garen, Katarina, Fiora, Vi, and Alistar, can be seen battling on different Super Smash Bros. levels. The characters even had their own move sets rather than character models simply being placed on top of the original game.
Unfortunately, the mod that made this all possible is not available to the public. Riot Games employees put together the mod as part of a semi-series project, but still one that was made “just for fun,” according to Riot employee WizardCrab on Reddit. This news was an immediate disappointment to hopeful fans who were either looking for a fun mod to use or even a full, independent game developed by Riot, perhaps as competition to the popular brawling game.
As Forbes writer Paul Tassi points out, a mod probably won’t be likely. Nintendo is notoriously protective of its franchises, and the legal process just wouldn’t be worth it.
But the League of Legends mod did, perhaps unintentionally, spark a debate about Riot’s future and whether it was waiting too long to take advantage of the current popularity of its own franchise. Tassi explained that despite Riot’s constant work on League of Legends, it remains largely unchanged in ways that matter.
“In short, Riot can do whatever they want, yet for some reason, they always seem to be standing still. Yes, it’s hard work to constantly balance League, and over time, they add in new modes and new champions to the core game, along with constantly organizing and throwing big eSports events for top players. But it just seems that with such a dominant marketing position, and an enormous stable of iconic characters, Riot is squandering the potential of their own franchise.”
At the moment, League of Legends is Riot’s only game. The game has been so popular that this hasn’t, and perhaps still doesn’t, matter. Riot recently made number 13 on Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 best companies to work for.
For Riot, League of Legends is like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft — an immensely popular game with a devoted fan base that provides plenty of income.
But while Blizzard eventually started moving on to different genres and franchises — such as its recent foray into team-based first-person shooters with its announcement of Overwatch — Riot has stuck to League of Legends. At the moment, there are no plans for any other games from the developer, not even an expansion of its current franchise into other genres.
So far, Riot has shown itself to be savvy and aware of what it needs to do to remain successful. League of Legends’ continued success has nothing to do with luck. So for fans currently disheartened by the lack of variety, Riot should not disappoint. For now, it could simply be that they’re opting not to fix what isn’t broken.