Riot doesn’t want to “kitchen sink” any League of Legends spinoffs

With Song of Nunu on the icy horizon, we chatted to the dev team behind the new League of Legends spinoff at Gamescom to ask why they chose Nunu and Willump.

A woman with icy blue hands raised wearing a black dress with a long black helmet that covers her eyes in an icy cavern

It’s no secret that the League of Legends roster is pretty damn huge. With over 164 playable characters available in the MOBA right now, narrowing down which one should get its own spinoff game is surely no easy task. So, we asked Tequila Works’ creative director on the upcoming Song of Nunu, Raúl Rubio Munárriz, and Riot Forge’s creative director, Rowan Parker, how you make that very, very hard choice.

Amid a sea of plushie poros and adorable Nunu-themed hats are glowing PCs that beckon you into the heart of the Freljord. This is the first real look we’ve got at Song of Nunu, a story of friendship, furry creatures, and, most importantly, fun.

The duo have been in the game since launch, beloved because they’re just so adorable (unless your jungler is running it down mid and building Blue Nunu), so it makes sense to give them their own spinoff story. How does Riot go about choosing champions to create spinoffs for, though? Munárriz and Parker reveal all.

“We don’t go to studios with an idea in mind,” Parker tells PCGamesN. In the case of Nunu, Parker recalls that Tequila Works was actually the one that pitched Riot Forge with the idea of using “this ten-year-old boy and his yeti to tell an adventure.”

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Munárriz breaks down his choice using an analogy about toys – which I love, by the way. “You go to this house and there are a lot of action figures, and you’re like ‘oh yeah, I like this one!'” he says. “But there are multiple champions. They have mighty muscle guys, powerful wizards; I like the character of the innocent boy.”

Some may, however, have chosen the mighty axe-wielding Darius, or the deadly Akali over a slightly older, less-flashier jungler. Of course, we all want to see out favorite champs get spinoffs (Morgana and Kayle, anyone?) but Parker warns that Riot Forge “don’t want to kitchen sink any of these games.

“I think there’s a risk of trying to jam as many champions as we can into these games, and if we do that we can’t really do justice to the champion and really treat them with the gravitas that the fanbase expects,” Parker says. “We can do a deep dive into these characters in this type of game when there’s five or six [champions] – if we tried to squeeze 50 characters in it would be shallow. We’d rather go narrow but deep, and I think that does more justice to the storytelling.”

A small boy with a large yeti by his side look out on a glowing blue pool of water in a luminous cave

So while I want to see an entire rhythm game dedicated to K/DA or Pentakill, it’s better that Riot Forge’s games don’t get overcrowded. Also, that means more games, and that’s always a good thing, right?

In the meantime, we have a whole list of fun fantasy game adventures that are perfect for whiling away the hours ahead of Song of Nunu’s launch. If you plan on doing that by playing League, though, check our our LoL Arena tier list so that you know what you’re in for with the new mode.

Gamescom 2023 reporting provided by Will Nelson.