Valorant is the first new video game of Riot Games, the study responsible for League of Legends, in more than 10 years. Furthermore, it is a completely independent new intellectual property with great aspirations. Valorant is a title
action and shooting in which two teams of five players face each other. Its main characteristics are unique abilities of each character and the tactical design of the gameplay and the maps.
Both Valorant and its release date, summer 2020, were officially announced in early March. To go deeper into the project, development and game, The vanguard has been able to interview the director of this new shooter tactical, Joe Ziegler.
As an introduction, what is Valorant?
Valorant is a shooter 5 versus 5 tactical that we have developed at Riot Games. It stems from our passion for tactical shooting games, especially the competitive teams we have played since we were young. The key to our game is that we want to encourage creativity with characters that have different abilities.
It is your first IP (Intellectual Property) outside of League of Legends. What has it been like to create a whole new universe after more than 10 years?
We start with quite a few different ideas. At first, what we wanted to do was stay close to League of Legends. But we quickly realized, as we developed the gameplay, that many mechanics did not fit with the fantasy of this popular MOBA, such as using these highly mechanical and tactical weapons and having characters that used a lot of magic. To find the perfect balance, we had to create our own universe. We had about three or four different ideas for this new IP. It was a long process for two reasons. One because I think Riot is very much built around League of Legends as IP, and besides, it was never our goal to create another intellectual property. But, once you do, many challenges appear.
Valorant is the first shooter from Riot Games. How did you come up with the idea?
It is a long story. Basically, a long time ago, there was a group of people from different disciplines coming together to talk about making such a game. Then we tried to adapt it to reality with other people from Riot Games. Frankly, the simplest way to say it is that there was a lot of passion for making a competitive action video game of this style and that we have been very inspired by the shooters tactics we’ve played.
“I like that they choose two games that the majority of the community enjoys, put them together and think that our game can be this way”
Valorant is essentially a multiplayer game, but I guess it will have some kind of story. What will the narrative be like?
The characters will have their own biography, but if we talk about the development of Valorant’s world narrative once it’s working, a lot of information will come from things like progression and experience. Our goal is, in fact, not to tell players exactly what is going on, but to offer them mysteries that will let them develop the world as they play.
Focusing more on the gameplayMany people say that Valorant is a mix between Couter Strike and Overwatch. What do you think of this comparison?
It is obvious that these are two games that many players are passionate about. I like that they choose two games that the majority of the community enjoys, put them together and think that our game can be this way. I think there are certain similarities and we have been very inspired by both titles, from many different games that we have played. We have drawn a lot of inspiration from shooters tactical and, clearly, Counter Strike is it or Rainbow Six: Siege. Valorant is based on the gunplay Tactical and lots of skills, the end result is very different from either one.
“It would be crazy for any of us to expect a success similar to League of Legends”
Valorant will work on almost all computers. How will differences in hardware to the gaming experience?
In general, the subject of hardware It is complicated because there are many different types. For example, having a 144 GHz monitor gives the possibility of having more frames per second and, therefore, it gives some advantage, but not everyone has access to it. Valorant will be compatible with many types of monitors, as well as with many hardware different. In general, even if you have better or worse specifications, you can still compete properly. Most of the differences are perceptual, but you will see many of the best players using the best hardware they can get.
You have commented that the maps are very replayable. How many there are? How versatile are they?
Now I don’t remember the exact number of maps, but there will be a few. Each one is very different and has a clear mechanics behind it. The two most viewed maps, for example, one is more focused on movement between portals and the other has three places to plant the bomb. In these two [Bind y Heaven] there are many different ways to play. Heaven tends to be more aggressive because the defenders’ area is very large. On the other hand, in Bind it is more common to fight in the areas where the bomb is planted.
How will you avoid cheating and hackers?
We are developing tools against cheating. Very early in the project we talked and worked with Paul Chamberlain, who helped us understand how to stay safe while developing. It also helped us develop some functionality within the client.
Furthermore, we are using a solution that allows us to protect ourselves from cheating for now. We also think that cheating is not a problem that you fix once, it is something that you should constantly review. So we have a team dedicated to continuously monitoring the game and developing solutions.
How will monetization work? Now many Free-to-Play they have battle passes. Could this work in Valorant?
Our monetization system is not much different from League of Legends. We do not sell things that may affect the gameplay, we focus on cosmetic elements. There is a progression system similar to a battle pass in the game, with an experience bar. In this sense, unlocking characters already works in a similar way to a battle pass.
“There is a progression system similar to a battle pass”
Are you hoping for a similar success to League of Legends?
This is funny. Internally, when we talk about projects, we say it would be crazy for any of us to expect a success similar to League of Legends because this has been a global phenomenon. But what we hope is to have a similar presence, although our numbers are not exactly the same, we still want to do a eSport (electronic sport) that everyone can enjoy. We hope that players around the world will enjoy what we have done with Valorant.
Currently, Valorant will only reach computers. Do you plan to launch it also on consoles and mobile devices?
We are studying which platforms adapt to how the game should work. Can Valorant be played in a similar way to PC on other platforms? If this is so, we will study whether it is possible to do so. But we don’t know yet.