League of Legends developer Riot Games is finally working on a new video game, but not as the primary studio. Instead, Riot has invested in Hypixel Studios, which is creating Hytale, a new open-world RPG with block-based construction.
Hypixel is best known for hosting the Hypixel Minecraft server. The server, launched in 2013 by Hypixel co-founders Simon Collins-Laflamme and Philippe Touchette, grew into the biggest Minecraft server in the world. Three years ago, the company started developing their own game. That led to the founding of Hypixel Studios.
“Founding Hypixel Studios is a huge step forward for our team, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Riot Games and our advisory group of investors,” said Collins-Laflamme in a statement. “We feel very lucky to have built relationships that not only fund the development of Hytale, but provide us with insight and advice that will be instrumental in making Hytale as good as it possibly can be.”
Hytale is an RPG that combines mini-games, open-world exploration, and competitive multiplayer into one package. True to the company’s Minecraft roots, it also includes sandbox building tools for players to create their own worlds and characters.
Hypixel originally approached Riot in 2016 for advice on how to build a studio based on modding another game. League of Legends was created as a spiritual successor to DotA, a successful mod of Warcraft III. Years later, that has turned into a financial investment from Riot in the studio. The investment class also includes retired pro gamer Dennis Fong, media investor Peter Levin—who helped lead Lionsgate’s investment in esports company Immortals—game industry veterans Anthony Borquez, Rob Pardo, and Min Kim, and investor Jeff Lo.
“Since meeting the Hypixel team in 2016, we’ve been blown away by their support for their community, vision for the future of sandbox gaming, and belief in individual contributors working toward a common goal,” said Dylan Jadeja, president of Riot Games, in a statement. “Their ambition and commitment to quality gives us a ton of confidence, and from everything we’ve seen of Hytale, we haven’t been let down. Supporting Hypixel is also an opportunity to support a game that will reach players at multiple stages in their gaming journeys, across age groups, genres, and play styles. We can’t wait to dive into the world of Hytale.”
Months ago, Riot executives joked about the possibility of the company creating an RPG. It seems like they actually followed through, though in the form of an investment, not an internal product. Hytale doesn’t have a release date yet, though a signup for its open beta is available on its website.