When it comes to game announcements, they are usually done when there is substantial work already completed and rumors are already flying. This is part of the point of why Riot Games MMO lead Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street took to Twitter to answer questions about why Riot announced that it was working on an mmo and when more “real” info is coming.
Street says that announcing their plans early was done for strategic reasons by the CEO. They wanted to “low-key announce to help with recruiting (we need a lot of MMO vets), to excite players, and because we thought it would likely leak anyway.” Even though there were already people already wanting a Riot MMO and seeing the developments and investment in narrative and more shared stories coming and wondering if it would come to pass, announcing themselves did put the momentum and focus on Riot.
Yet, you have to be careful with early announcements. As Street continues, noting that “The other big risk of announcing early is sustaining the momentum. It’s hard to keep players engaged and excited for years”. This decision by Riot to announce without the usual work completed, teasers ready, promo in swing from the start does a couple of things. It does risk people getting bored, sure, but it also helps control expectations, especially if the team finds they have to make major pivots from any plans they had in place.
Saying that they haven’t even solidified 100% of their direction yet with confidence is something we don’t normally see. Important too for a game that, with nearly nothing known, expectations are already high, and Street knows you want to know more and understands the feeling. The team wants to talk about it more, but it’s still not time yet.
Then even if a feature isn’t quite working, you will at least understand our goal, and can direct your feedback accordingly. We also aren’t afraid to make big changes even after the game is live. That’s how good MMOs endure.
— Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) August 1, 2022
He ends with gratitude and empathy for those who want to know more, putting a sense of trust in the community to know how to deliver effective feedback when the time comes. Additionally, I tease the eventual team announcement too.
“I couldn’t do it without this amazing team that we have assembled. Some of the names you know and some you don’t know yet and more will join all the time.”