It's hard to deny the impact of League of Legends [official site] on the modern gaming scene. Instrumental in the foundation of modern game streaming thanks to driving interest to sites such as Twitch, and partly responsible for the enormous success of the MOBA genre as a whole, League itself seems to exist within its own ecosystem, free of networks such as Steam or Battle.net. Riot have built themselves an empire unto themselves, and the twin emperors have grown tired of the view.
In an official announcement, the two leading founders of the company, Marc 'Tryndamere' Merrill and Brandon 'Ryze' Beck, have announced that they're stepping away from upper-level management and returning to focus primarily on development.
The company seems in capable hands still, with them appointing a new CTO, CFO and President to keep the money flowing while they're leading development. While it's nice to see them back doing what they're happiest doing, and encouraged by their mention that they hope to finally make good on the plural at the end of Riot Games, I do wonder what happened to the Rising Thunder team that they absorbed some time ago.
For those unaware, Rising Thunder was a very promising fighting game produced by a team of genre experts aiming to create something with as low a barrier to entry as possible in terms of hardware, investment (it was to be free-to-play) and learning curve. It was officially cancelled last year, after Riot bought up the entire studio.
Maybe I'm just being wildly optimistic, but I'd love to see this concept return, especially as Tryndamere and Ryze are looking at perhaps branching out into a second game soon. Maybe an official League of Legends fighting game? Half the characters seem better suited to up-close pugilism than the MOBA genre anyhow. So, on the off-chance that either of these now absurdly wealthy developers happen to be reading this: You guys remember that fighting game studio you bought, right?