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League of Legends studio reportedly canned Smash Bros. style fighter following perceived MultiVersus flop

Second fighter 2XKO still due next year.

League of Legends character collage.
Image credit: Riot Games

Riot Games was reportedly developing a Smash Bros. style fighter set in the League of Legends universe, but pulled the plug on the project earlier this year after perceiving Warner Bros' Smash-inspired MultiVersus to have been a commercial failure.

That's according to former Washington Post video games and esports editor Mikhail Klimentov, who - writing in his ReaderGrev newsletter - claims 70-80 Riot employees were working on the Smash-style platform fighter, codenamed Pool Party.

Citing current and former Riot employees familiar with the project, Klimentov says Pool Party was initially envisaged as a hardcore fighting game but grew to incorporate party game elements and casual-friendly mechanics as development continued.

Riot's other fighter, 2XKO, will still launch next year.Watch on YouTube

Riot executives reportedly saw an opportunity to build and support the game's esports scene, but started getting cold feet after the release of Warner Bros' Smash-style free-to-play fighter MultiVersus. That game's launch is said to have been perceived as a failure by Riot decision makers, prompting the studio to reassess the consumer appetite for a Smash competitor. As a result, it cancelled the development of Pool Party in May this year.

Klimentov says approximately half the 70-80 Riot employees working on the project have received offers to be assigned elsewhere in the company, while others are seeking new positions through the company's internal job board.

In a statement provided to Klimentov as part of his report, senior comms director Joe Hixson said, "We always have a number of projects in various phases of R&D, and spinning projects up and down happens multiple times a year".

Pool Party is not to be confused with Riot's other League of Legends' fighter, 2XKO. Announced back in August 2022 under the name Project L, 2XKO will launch as free-to-play title for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S sometime next year.

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