Everything we know about 2XKO gameplay, free-to-play system

ahri project L

2XKO is the next big project from Riot Games and expands the League of Legends universe with a fast-paced fighting game.

Riot Games found critical and commercial success stretching their wings with the release of Valorant, so entering another genre may prove fruitful for the studio. That said, 2XKO’s development has been going on for a while now, and fans have plenty of questions about what it’s about.

Thankfully, 2XK0’s development is relatively easy to follow thanks to Riot and FGC creators. From gameplay to release date, here are the things every fan needs to know about 2XKO.

How does 2XKO play?

2XKO is a two-on-two assist-based tag fighter, similar to Marvel vs Capcom Infinite and Tekken Tag Tournament.

The control scheme features buttons for light, medium, and heavy attacks with two dedicated special move buttons. Players can utilize supers by pressing down twice and a special move button.

2XKO also has special defensive options akin to those seen since Guilty Gear Strive Season 3. This includes an equivalent to bursts, as well as push blocks that create extra distance from enemies on block. It also has Soulcalibur-style parries that stun opponents but deplete meter on whiff.

The tag system works similarly to other fighting games. Players must pick two champions to fill the roles of “point” and “assist.” The point champion is the primary fighter controlled by the player. The assist character can aid the point character with assist by pressing forward or back with the tag button. 

Both characters have separate health bars and can be swapped in freely if they have health. Players can tag in their assist characters by pressing the tag button.  If the point character’s health is reduced to zero, the assist character will automatically become the point character. Rounds end when both of a player’s champions are knocked out, with players winning a match after taking two out of three rounds.

What is 2XKO based on?

2XKO is based on Riot’s popular MOBA franchise League of Legends.

Riot has made several spin-offs based on its wildly successful MOBA, ranging from video games to TV adaptations. The first notable spin-off, Teamfight Tactics, was inspired by DOTA’s Auto Chess. 

Those efforts were ambitious enough that the studio began licensing out the League of Legends brand to other developers with the Riot Forge label. That yielded a number of spin-offs including infinite runners, turn-based RPGs, and more. Those efforts were ultimately shut down amid a series of layoffs at Riot Games.

2XKO is developed in-house by Riot Games with the help of numerous figures from the Street Fighter competitive scene. The game features a roster made up of League of Legends characters, with their spells and abilities being reimagined in way that better befits a fighting game.

Which League of Legends characters will appear in 2XKO?

Riot has officially revealed several playable characters for 2XKO. 

The full list includes:

  • Ahri
  • Ekko
  • Illaoi
  • Jinx
  • Yasuo

Most of these champions are quite popular amongst the fandom, so their inclusion is unsurprising. Eagle-eyed fans reportedly found hints of Katarina, Garen, Lucian, and Vi as prospective roster members. 

With the popularity of Netflix’s Arcane, Vi’s inclusion is unsurprising. Meanwhile, Katarina was shown in the initial reveal of 2XKO during Riot Games’ 10th anniversary event. She was seemingly removed among numerous gameplay and graphical overhauls of the game, and has not been seen in recent iterations of the game.

Katarina Project L
Katarina was shown in the original Project L reveal.

Time will tell if these champions will make their fighting game debuts in 2XKO. 

What is 2XKO’s release date?

2XKO will launch sometime in 2025.

The game was first announced at EVO 2019, and was officially revealed by Riot Games later that year under the codename Project L. The studio did not reveal more information at the time and information has come in at a trickle since then, which led to fears regarding the game amid sweeping layoffs and project cancelations at Riot Games. The game survived and was dubbed 2XKO not long after.

Tom Cannon and Tony Cannon are at the center of developing 2XKO. Longtime FGC fans will recognize the Cannons as founders of the Evolution Championship Series and creators of rollback netcode. The FGC experience of the company heads gave fans a reason to trust Project L’s development. 

What platforms will 2XKO be playable on?

2XKO will launch on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows.

Interestingly, 2XKO will be the first mainline Riot Games title to see a multiplatform release on launch. The studio’s flagship games League of Legends and Valorant do not have console ports. It may also become the first Riot-developed game to receive a console release, depending on the company’s plans for Valorant.

The multiplatform release will help build a large player base for 2XKO right from the get-go. Given fighting games, even at their most popular, tend to maintain a small yet dedicated population of players, multiplatform is crucial for the game’s longevity.

Is 2XKO free to play?

Riot has confirmed 2XKO will be a free-to-play title.

Like the rest of the studio’s mainline titles, 2XKO will be a free-to-play fighting game like 2013’s Killer Instinct. Free-to-play games typically enjoy a much higher player base since there’s no financial gate. Popular multiplayer games like Fortnite, Counter-Strike 2, and Roblox are prime examples of this phenomenon.

Darius in Project L

If 2XKO becomes a hit, it may inspire other fighting game developers to consider the F2P format.

Do I have to pay for 2XKO characters?

It is unknown if all 2XKO characters will be free-to-play, but it’s extremely unlikely given the overall state of the fighting game genre and Riot Games’ practices.

With League of Legends, a select number of champions are permanently F2P while some are on a weekly free rotation. Fighting games are similar, with a number of characters being available on purchase while DLC characters are slowly added over time.

Alternatively, 2XKO may implement a battle pass system to allow F2P players to earn the characters for free through gameplay. If so, this would actually make 2XKO one of the most generous fighting games on the market. Most fighting games offer no opportunity to unlock characters without paying money. Those that do typically demand overwhelming amounts of grinding.

Will 2XKO have skins?

2XKO will likely feature character skins that can be purchased via microtransactions.

If there’s one thing Riot Games is known for, it’s offering a ton of cosmetics for League of Legends. 2XKO has only offered basic alternate color swaps for its champions, but that will change over time. In recent demo builds of the game, the character select screen has had a section that will seemingly offer players the ability to change characters’ sins.

Skins will likely be a part of 2XKO, given the popularity of skins in League of Legends. The game has entire skin lines with alternate canons, like the cyberpunk-themed PROJECT line and the Sailor Moon-inspired Star Guardians.

As a free-to-play title, Riot Games will have to figure out some way to monetize the game. Champion skins would be a lucrative source of income for 2XKO. How these skins will be sold is a mystery as games have taken different approaches to monetizing things, from MultiVersus to Street Fighter 6 to Tekken 8

Will 2XKO have rollback netcode?

2XKO will have server-side rollback netcode.

GGPO is a rollback netcode program designed to create a seamless online experience for fighting games. With the GGPO creators among the figureheads for 2XKO, rollback netcode implementation will be unsurprising to longtime FGC fans.

Rollback has been regarded as a must-have by many fighting game fans. Some titles, particularly those from Japan, lack rollback netcode and suffer from technical issues during online play. 2XKO looks to sidestep those issues entirely with rollback netcode.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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