2XKO: Can Riot’s New Fighter Knock Out the Competition?

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2XKO aims to deliver a knockout to the FGC with its diverse set of characters and mechanics providing unrivalled team combat.

Story Highlights
  • Riot’s 2XKO, initially named Project L, has stirred anticipation with its blend of iconic characters and tag-team mechanics, promising an engaging experience for players.
  • 2XKO aims to offer accessible yet deep gameplay, appealing to both casual players and seasoned fighting game competitors through intuitive controls and innovative mechanics like the Fuse system.
  • Despite its small roster, 2XKO already boasts a diverse lineup of characters, with so many more to come!

Riot Games, the developer behind the massively popular League of Legends, has embarked on a new venture: a fighting game set within the iconic League of Legends universe. Initially known as Project L, the game has recently received its official title: 2XKO. This 2v2 fighter has generated significant buzz within the fighting game community (FGC) and beyond with its unique blend of familiar characters, tag-team mechanics, and immaculate art style.

What Is 2XKO?

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2XKO’s journey began in 2019, with Riot venturing into a territory they’ve never stepped in before. Their goal was to create a fighting game that captured the essence of League of Legends while offering a distinct and competitive experience. The development team, composed of passionate fighting game enthusiasts, focused on building a game that was both welcoming to newcomers and deep enough to satisfy seasoned players. IGN says, “2XKO is a game that’s very easy to pick and play.”

From Concept to Competition

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2XKO is one of the last two games teased by Riot Forge that haven’t yet been released, along with the Riot MMORPG. According to the developers, the game is in its final stages of development. The latest playtests in EVO Japan last April further showcased that only the finishing touches are left. On Riot’s official Youtube channel, a Devog states that they plan on doing more at-home playtests in 2024 and reveal that the game’s set to be released in 2025 on PlayStation 5, Xbox S and X, and PC.

The Gameplay

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Riot emphasizes that 2XKO will have an intuitive control scheme, making it approachable for players of all skill levels. The developers aim to strike a balance between accessibility and depth, offering a fighting game that’s easy to pick up but challenging to master. This approach caters to both casual players looking for a fun experience and hardcore FGC competitors seeking a new competitive platform. PCGamesn claims, “The gameplay will be more similar to Marvel vs. Capcom 2, rather than Street Fighter.”

Players will build teams of two, strategically combining their champions’ strengths and weaknesses to create powerful synergies. Each champion has iconic skills from the PBE, so expect to see some epic battles. The gameplay has more depth than other tag fighters, such as Tekken’s Tag Tournament series. Many things play into this, but the Fuse mechanic is the main culprit.

The mechanic hasn’t been finalized, and not all fuses have been revealed yet, but it allows you to customize your own way of battling in a team. You can opt to double down on assists, letting each player shine brightly alone by allowing the other to provide better support. Or, you can make it so both players can combo together on the screen, ganging up on the lone enemy. If you’re looking forward to the game, you can sign-up for at-home playtests here!

The Character Roster

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At its current stage, the game supports a relatively small roster of just six confirmed characters and one semi-confirmed addition. We’ve seen complete gameplay of Ahri, Ekko, Darius, Jinx, Yasuo, and the latest reveal at EVO Japan, Illaoi. The last confirmed character being Illaoi is something I personally didn’t expect.

As for the semi-confirmed character, that’d be Katarina. In the first look we got at the game back in 2019, one of the characters shown was Katarina. There have been no other updates on the character since then. Until further notice, it’s possible she was scrapped.

Illaoi Concepts
Illaoi Concepts (Image by 2XKO)

Among the currently confirmed characters, the game already fills up all the necessary character stereotypes a fighting game should have. You’ve got the slow, heavy grappler in Darius and Illaoi. To an extent, you’ve got your zoners in Jinx and Ekko. Yasuo and Ahri fill the rush-down spots. Other gimmicky stereotypes are empty for now, such as the much-needed monster character, but the game seems complete as is.

Which Champions Will Be Added?

For a fighting game, a roster of about twenty-odd characters is usual. This fits nicely when considering the survey league fans like Innovative Gaming received around a year back. The survey asked how familiar people are with over 20 champions, including the six already confirmed. These champions should be confirmed to be added to the game at launch or later as a DLC, but I’ll also discuss them in further detail.

Champion Roster Survey
Champion Roster Survey

Firstly, we’ve got Vi, which isn’t a surprise to anyone. She fits in nicely with Jinx and Ekko as the Arcane trio, and you don’t get any easier to implement into a fighting game than having two giant gauntlets. We also have Sett, who also seems perfect for it. We’ve got some other grapplers joining Illaoi in Blitzcrank and Braum. We’ve got more interesting picks as well, with Kindred and Zed potentially joining. Kindred could fit the puppeteer role, but I’d personally have preferred Yone. The other characters include Thresh, Teemo, Riven, Senna, Esreal, Karma, and Riot’s poster child, Lux.

Akali In The Style of Project L
Akali In The Style of 2XKO by Killianjunk

There are some more champions in the survey that I’m particularly excited about, though. As my only Mastery 7 champion, Akali’s the one I’m looking forward to the most. Her skills need no changes whatsoever and can be implemented directly in the game. Akali’s all about combos in League anyway, so the things they can do with her are limitless! Samira and Katarina were both in the survey as well, and I love seeing flashy characters, so keep an eye out for them as well.

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