League of Legends is a popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game where players choose a champion with unique abilities and work with their team to destroy the enemy team’s base while defending their own. It’s a competitive game with strategic depth, and professional teams compete in international tournaments for huge prizes.
The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story is an upcoming game set in the same universe as League of Legends and with the same lore, but with a different focus. Players take on the role of Sylas, a champion in League of Legends with the ability to steal and use his opponents’ ultimates (their “super power”). He was once a prisoner of the Demacian government for his use of magic, but escaped and now fights against their oppressive regime’s elite soldiers tasked with capturing rogue magic-users in the city of Demacia. It’s a narrative-driven, single-player game with turn-based combat against magic-wielding enemies. It’s good. It’s so good.
The game is being developed by Digital Sun and Riot Forge, a new division of Riot Games. While at PAX East last weekend, I got the change to join Digital Sun offsite for an exclusive interview with Alex Benet, Audio Director at Digital Sun, and chance to actually play the game. Spoiler alert – it’s amazing.
Me: I’m a big fan of League of Legends, I’m super excited to play this game! What part of the game will I be playing on the demo today?
Alex: Yes! You’ll be playing the first mission of the game, which was made specifically for this event.
Me: Oh sweet! I do have a burning question. Why Sylas?
Alex: Actually, it’s a fun story. When we finished Moonlighter, we were discussing ideas for our next game, and we were thinking of a game where the main character steals magic from other enemies. Then, Riot approached us with the idea for this game, and we thought it was perfect. However, we had not thought of Sylas yet, and Riot had just released him two days before our meeting.
Me: Wow, that’s definitely a cool coincidence. Your games always have amazing art. Is the art style in this game created through rotoscoping or pixel art?
Alex: No, it’s all original. We took references from the Marvel comic and used them to create a specific art style.
Me: That’s impressive. How many people are on your team?
Alex: We have about 25 people, including freelancers. It’s a small team, but we work well together.
Me: That’s really awesome. How did you come up with the style for the game?
Alex: Well, the game is an action RPG which is something that’s very dear to me. I wanted to incorporate that RPG concept and the little details like people talking on the streets to make it nostalgic. League of Legends approached us because of the art style and we pitched the spell stealing idea. They were fans of Moonlighter and wanted to do a game with us.
Me: That’s awesome! What about the gameplay mechanics?
Alex: It’s a skill-based game with a lot of projectiles and magic. There’s no cooldown bar, but it gets really crazy at some points.
Me: What’s thing about Mageseeker that you like the most?
Alex: The combat is my personal favorite. I think it’s really fun and plays nicely. I love hack and slash and freedom of movement. The programmers did an amazing job making it look and feel great.
Me: Tell me about the combat system.
Alex: We really want to enhance melee combat in this game. We force you to use both melee combat and magic at the same time. Magic usually does the most damage, but it’s limited. So, you have to punch to recover that. That’s the dual system.
Me: Can you switch spells?
Alex: Yes, you can switch spells out. You can go to a checkpoint and switch whatever you want. There are specific moments of combat in the game in which you’ll need a specific combination of spells.
Me: And spell cost?
Alex: The borrowed power doesn’t cost anything. Once you steal it, you have it until you drop it, copy another one, or die. Enemies have a cooldown, so you can’t copy forever. The spells you copy don’t cost anything, but your magic set does consume mana.
Me: Amazing. So, story-wise, I love Arcane because it expands on the lore and solidifies it even more. You know what I mean?
Alex: Yeah, exactly. It’s done in the right way. I feel like this franchise on its own knows how to expand. It takes the lore and just spans it. And it’s so bold of them to let us bring our own approach on the game and the lore and how this character fits into all that.
Me: Do you think that the lore you’ve established in your story could be used to make any characters for League?
Alex: I’m not allowed to say anything about that, but that would be really cool.
Me: Okay, got it. Can you tell me more about the character that you’re working on?
Alex: Well, I can’t say much about the character, especially the boss for the boss fight, because I don’t want to spoil anything.
Alex: Are you ready? To play?
The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story will be available on April 18th, 2023 on PC.
(Thank you, Alex, for letting me steal a poster. I won’t tell anyone.)