A Project L demo is coming to Evo Japan 2024, which is good news for those either living in the region who are keen to try it out, or those with enough disposable income for a cheeky gaming holiday abroad.
Announced as apart of Riot One, an official Japanese League of Legends invitational event, the news that an in-person demo would be coming to the country next April as part of Evo Japan. This event, a spin-off from the Vegas-based tournament Evo, was founded by Tom Cannon back in 1996 as "Battle by the Bay". As Tom and his brother Tony Cannon are now senior leads for Project L, it looks like they're continuing to bring both of their babies together.
The elephant in the room is this - will this be the same demo shown off at Evo 2023 and Worlds 2023 earlier this year? We've not been given a clear naswer as of yet, nor do we know whether more characters will be added. Project L community lead Ben Forbes has stated there will be "more details next year", leaving things up in the air.
However, we can gleam some additional information from the announcement video, which comes with voiceover from game designer and UMvC3 combo goblin Kyohei "Marlinpie" Lehr. In this video, eagle-eyed fans have spotted some gameplay changes. There are VFX improvements to Yasuo's super, as spotted by Twitter user TerrAko. In addition some UI changes have been made too! You can now see an "assist ready" indicator near the health bars, as seen by Project L social media info aggragate Project L Intel.
This makes Evo 2024 quite the event for those invested in fighting games. Not only does the tournament itself have a great line-up of games, Project L's pressence should give those who washed out in pools something to kill time with. The question I have is this: what's the purpose of bringing the Project L demo to Evo Japan. the obvious answer is to gauge the interest of Asian players - who have otherwise been left Project L-less since the game's first reveal.
But lets think a bit deeper. Bringing Project L to Evo 2023 was a way of gauging the core mechanics of Project L to a fighting game crowd - the team expressed as much in interviews with us at the show. The same demo was then taken to Worlds 2023 - cleary a way of learning what dedicated League of Legends fans think of the game and its depiction of some of their favourite characters. What new learnings can be taken from Evo Japan?
What is most likely in my opinion is that the game will have gone through some fine tuning and various changes since Evo 2023, and the team would like to see how that has gone down with a crowd adept at the genre. You are also free to slap the tinfoil hat on and speculate whether or not new characters will be there, but we have no idea if that'll be the case. Keep in mind that Yasuo's reveal was only made known to the public the day before Evo 2023, so it may be last minute. It would be nice to see Illaoi though, as the development team behing that champ has been very quiet since the reveal blog post.
In terms of other hopes? Last year at Evo Japan both Tom and Tony Cannon did a video interview as part of the show, going through what Project L was all about. I'm hoping for another one of those. One thing is clear - I need to stop going out for drinks the night before Project L news drops. There's no set schedule bro! I'm being woken up by Discord pings with this crazy headache on a Sunday morning. Back to bed.
What are your hopes for the demo at Evo Japan? Will you be pinching pennies for the trip? Or, do you hope that Evo 2024 in Vegas will also have a demo present? Let us know below.