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Sports

Wild Rift exec reminisces about game's journey

Michelle Lojo - Philstar.com
Wild Rift exec reminisces about game's journey
Leo Faria, Global Head of Esports for Wild Rift
Riot Games

MANILA, Philippines – It has been a couple of years since the launch of Riot Games' mobile title League of Legends: Wild Rift (Wild Rift). What many have dubbed as the mobile version of popular hit League of Legends, Wild Rift has slowly been building a name for itself outside of its sister game's shadow, though never thoroughly apart.

"We think League of Legends and Wild Rift is a great experience because it’s not only a MOBA game but it’s a door to an entire ecosystem. When you’re playing Wild Rift, you’re being exposed to a whole new global sport. You have an IP (intellectual property) that comes alive through music, TV Shows and merchandising, and I think that’s really what makes League of Legends and Wild Rift special because as a fan you can do all of these things," Leo Faria, Global Head of Esports for Wild Rift, told the Philippine media during the Wild Rift Icons Global Championship (Icons) Media day.

Since its launch back in October 2020, the game has had its fair shares of challenges. As Faria explained, it was difficult to give players a reason to shift from one game to another. Another challenge was tapping the biggest market for mobile games which is the Southeast Asia region where other games have already established a presence.

"I think in Southeast Asia we of course have a challenge of being late to the party. There are other great mobile games that are incredibly successful here. It’s a tough market but at the end of the day we’re just focusing on our players, bringing League of Legends that we know and love to a new platform." explained Faria.

He added, "The game has been live for a little bit over two years and we are seeing a really passionate audience in Wild Rift in many ways. We are seeing folks who used to be League of Legends PC players that are now giving Wild Rift a try. We’re also seeing a whole new audience who grew up just playing games on their phone, never played League before [and are now] trying Wild Rift. It’s been great. We’re learning a ton. Wild Rift is our first [game] that is fully developed for the mobile platform."

The drive to touch the mobile gaming scene is in part due to Riot Games' overall commitment to bring great games to the players all over the world. 

"We have a very core philosophy in Riot, which is, we are a gaming company, we’re not a PC gaming company. We’re gonna go where our players are. If players are playing games on mobile right now, we’re committed to bringing great games for them. If the platform changes in the future, we’ll go where they are. It will be hard, as it always is. But I’m very happy to see across Riot, a really strong commitment to mobile and to the community and Wild Rift is our biggest expression of that." continued Faria.

As Wild Rift's first esports season comes to an end, Faria reiterates that there is more to come, not just in the professional scene but also in other aspects of esports.

"I think because the game is still relatively new, we need to give communities a little bit more time to stabilize because once that happens, that’s when you start to see names popping up here and there. What matters at the end of the day is giving players the opportunity to play and compete. For Wild Rift, we’d probably focus more on the grassroots and third party tournaments just because, when you’re not a pro and you aspire to become one, having those easy to access opportunities to play in a tournament is what makes the difference. We'll be announcing things in that space really soon. It’s just the beginning [for Wild Rift] and we’re so excited [to see what's next]," said Faria.

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