League of Legends fighting game Project L may break new ground in fighting games, but could motion inputs may get in the way of all the innovation?
Ever since the very first fighting game series, motion inputs have been a staple of fighting games. However, the system takes time to master and is sometimes considered a significant barrier to entry. So will Project L get rid of motion inputs for the sake of better catering to fighting game newbies?
In a Project L preview posted in late 2021, Tom and Tony Cannon released a video showcasing very early footage of the game. The executive producer and technical lead also revealed details on the game’s controls.
“For Project L, we’re embracing the easy to learn, hard to master mentality, so yes. We are making it easier to jump in with a new character and learn their basic kit,” Tony Cannon said.
Motion inputs aren’t just used to slow down new players. They are also used for balancing purposes. The Z-shaped motion for Ryu’s famed Shoryuken uppercut in the Street Fighter series is a difficult input for new players, but it’s also a valuable tool to summon on command. It can be argued that the difficulty of inputting is part of the move’s balance.
Project L could remove motion inputs for simpler controls
Riot has not confirmed motion inputs or any other input scheme for Project L, but motion inputs will most likely not make an appearance in Project L, being eschewed for simpler controls.
The most likely case will be a special move input system similar to other more recent fighting games. Project L’s control could include a special button, which would initiate all special moves depending on the direction of the stick when it is pressed. This system makes learning new characters’ special moves much easier, which fits in line with the developers’’ statement on accessibility.
Many modern fighting games have already strayed away from motion inputs. The Tekken series doesn’t use them, instead binding attacks to just directions and buttons. However, the 3D fighter does feature stances that are activated with motion inputs. Granblue Fantasy Versus features simpler specials, but also maintains the traditional inputs and allows for lower cooldown times when they are used. Project L developers could take inspiration from those titles or others when deciding on motion inputs.