Riot Games has thrown its gauntlet into the growing arena of Auto Chess-style games. Inspired by the Dota 2 mod that blew up earlier this year, Riot is creating a new League of Legends game mode called Teamfight Tactics. It will be available in the Public Beta Environment later this month.
After the Dota 2 Auto Chess modification accrued over five million players in February, developer Drodo Studios began work on a standalone mobile version of the game, while Valve Corporation has started development on their own official version (while giving Drodo Studios the official blessing to continue with the independent project).
Teamfight Tactics has been in the works since January, according to a report by USGamer. Riot coined the term “autobattler” to refer to the genre; their version shares many similarities with Auto Chess, though it eschews the chess-board layout in favor of a playing field made up of interlocking hexagons.
One of the differentiating factors of Teamfight Tactics is its draft stage, wherein players participate in a free-for-all to grab their first units before settling into a turn-based draft system. The USGamer writer who previewed the game described this stage as a “Hungry Hungry Hippos” game of sorts, praising the comeback factor created by the system.
While it has yet to be determined if even the original Auto Chess will have any longevity as an esport, Teamfight Tactics has the advantage of drawing from a millions-strong player base that will already be familiar with the League of Legends characters and properties that populate its boards. With a dozen developers working on Teamfight Tactics every day, Riot Games is poised to collect its share of proceeds from the Auto Chess phenomenon.