How Valorant can help Riot Games silence the critics
With a closed beta launched at the start of the month, anticipation is building ahead of the public release of Valorant. The latest title for Riot Games, Valorant is a team tactical shooter where players assume the role of agents from destinations across the globe.
Each agent has its own unique ability, while there is also a marketplace to buy weapons and upgrades, including but not limited to sniper rifles, machine guns and sidearms. Players must master the recoil pattern of each weapon in order to use it effectively.
There are five players on each team, and you join either the attacking or defending team. The attacking team is given possession of the ‘spike’ – a bomb which forms part of the central of the game. This bomb must be placed in a particular spot and then the team must protect it until it detonates.
If the defending team manages to defuse the spike, or if the timer expires before the spike is planted, they get a point. A point is also awarded if one team completely eliminates the other. The teams swap sides from attack to defence after 12 rounds and it’s best of 24 to win the match.
Valorant has been developed and will be published by Riot Games, who are best known for their League of Legends series. The release of the game this summer marks the culmination of a six-year development process.
And though Riot Games have published other titles, their reputation is built almost entirely around its League of Legends universe, which has enjoyed incredible global success throughout the gaming community since its launch in 2009.
In many ways, Riot have been a victim of their own success and many have questioned the developer’s capability of diversifying away from LoL. The release of their latest title this summer should help answer that question and, though it’s only during the last 12 months that Valorant news has registered prominently on our radar, so much of Riot’s resources have gone into its development for the best part of a decade.
CYPHER /// Morocco— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) April 9, 2020
“I know exactly where you are.”#VALORANT pic.twitter.com/yvSJ9hI4Yn
Concept and potential
Game director Joe Ziegler concedes that the ideation process behind Valorant very much had its roots in adapting what the developer had done well in LoL.
He told Polygon’s Austen Goslin: “We were already good at doing the service things like Champions with League of Legends. We thought ‘what if we took a model like that, and we thought about how we would take these games that normally have really closed legacy loops, like Counter-Strike, and turn it into a service — into something you could continuously add to, where people don’t hate it if you add a new gun or character?’.”
The potential for the game, at least in the eyes of the industry, is massive. Overwatch stars like Sinatraa have recently announced their intention to switch to Valorant, and the pro scene for the game is expected to become very crowded very quickly.
Ready up for the $100,000 Twitch Rivals: VALORANT Europe Showdown!— Twitch Esports (@TwitchEsports) April 28, 2020
Your favorite EU @PlayVALORANT Twitch streamers battle for the title & $100,000 for charity in the fight against COVID-19.
Watch May 2nd & 3rd at 5am PT https://t.co/xea83i1yVm pic.twitter.com/pDTafeRpe2
Whether or not we’ll see more Overwatch players follow Sinatraa’s pathway in the week and months ahead remains to be seen, but what appears certain is that Valorant will help Riot Games shed its image as a one-trick pony.