Image Source: Play Valorant
You know that when Riot Games have an announcement to make, millions of gamers are going to be following developments with bated breath.
The creators of League of Legends, which is one of the founding pillars of the massive eSports scene, have been teasing Project A for some time now, but earlier this year, Riot Games finally unveiled its next smash-hit title: Valorant.
With Riot Games developing and there already being a great deal of hype around the title, Valorant looks set to be the next big-thing in competitive gaming.
Here’s everything that we know so far:
What is Riot Games’ new title Valorant?
The developers claim that they’re not looking to uproot the current competitive gaming leaders of the first-person shooter genre (Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive). Still, there’s no denying that Valorant appears to be drawing from some of the best aspects of both games while adding in a lot of originality.
Of course, to break into the scene, Riot Games will be looking to do everything better. From what we know so far, Valorant is going to be an exciting, intense, and strategic game that has the potential to take the eSports scene by storm.
Using characters in Valorant
Riot Games has explained Valorant as a “tactical shooter meets hypernatural powers,” in which each of the eight selectable characters has guns and a set of abilities.
As every character – known as ‘Agents’ in Valorant – has their own set of abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, certain players will suit certain characters better, with the game emphasising skill and strategic play amidst the frantic action.
Each character is balanced differently. They all have a Signature Ability, which is available, for free, in each round, but can then unlock a further three abilities. Through a round-based economy system akin to Counter-Strike, players can unlock two of these abilities.
The fourth and final ability, the Ultimate Ability, can only be earned through the player’s kill count. As you remain as your selected character for the duration of each game, you’ll accumulate currency and kills to build up the character, buy weapons, abilities, and armour with the aim of utilising the Ultimate Ability.
Valorant’s primary game mode
Valorant is primarily a five-on-five team battle first-person shooter. It will be free-to-play, incredibly fast-paced, and very demanding – particularly from a strategic standpoint.
The 5-vs-5 mode is very similar to Defuse on Counter-Strike, with two teams set up as attackers and defenders. The attackers are tasked with planting the Spike in a set location on the map. Once planted, the attackers then need to protect the Spike until it goes off, marking the victory with a grand explosion.
The defending team, as you would assume, has to stop the attackers from reaching the map location, planting the Spike, and protecting it until it detonates. As each round is timed, the impetus is on the attackers to move the Spike across the map and into position quickly.
Strategy is key as opposed to volume shooting and setting up meat corridors, as players only get one life per round. Teams can achieve victory by merely killing off the opposing team rather than achieving their objective within the allotted time.
The story of Valorant
Taking place after the globe-spanning event known as First Light, this near-future depiction of Earth has undergone incredible technological and operational advancements.
First Light, however, also triggered something within certain people from all over the world, leading to them discovering incredible abilities. Those gifted with these newfound abilities as a result of the event are known as Radiants.
To respond to First Light, the Valorant Protocol was founded, bringing together Radiants, and those who have adopted Radiant technology, from all over the world to become Agents.
It’s a relatively rough outline of the story behind Valorant, but with the foundations in place, the story team plans to build the narrative as the game develops, expands, and updates over time.
As is the case with most of these online multiplayer games, the story isn’t the primary feature – the in-game competition is what matters the most – so an underlying, drip-feed of narrative is all that’s really required.
It does, however, make for some interesting inter-character relationships from the start, with some of them already knowing each other.
All Valorant characters and abilities
As mentioned earlier, there will be eight characters in Valorant when it launches, each of which has their own set of four abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and back-stories.
Via the official Valorant Twitter account, we have already seen some footage of one of the characters, Phoenix, so keep an eye on the Valorant social media pages for more character videos.
Brimstone is described as the “unmatched boots-on-the-ground commander” who boasts an orbital arsenal to deliver utility to his squad.
Brimstone’s four abilities are as follows:
- Sky Smoke (Signature Ability): Brimstone selects areas on the map to deploy smokescreens via his orbital deployment technology.
- Incendiary: Brimstone launches a grenade which unleashes a field of fire which damages those who venture too close.
- Stim Beacon: Brimstone selects a nearby area in which a Stim Beacon beams down the Rapidfire ability to all players in its locale.
- Orbital Strike (Ultimate Ability): Brimstone selects an area on the map and then calls in the Orbital Strike to send down a high-damage pulse onto the area for several seconds.
Cypher is described as “a one-man surveillance network,” who continues to watch his enemies, seeing every manoeuvre that they make.
Cypher’s four abilities are as follows:
- Spycam (Signature Ability): Cypher places a remote camera from which they can see the video feed as well as fire a tracking dart.
- Trapwire: Cypher sets up a tripwire between two walls which, when triggered, restrains enemies and reveals them to Cypher. It can also daze trapped enemies should the tripwire not be destroyed.
- Cyber Cage: Cypher throws down a remote-activated trap – which can be reactivated – to slow enemies who pass through the cage projection or be detonated.
- Neutral Theft (Ultimate Ability): Cypher analyses an enemy corpse which reveals the location of all of their enemies who are still alive on the map.
Jett is said to “[run] circles around every skirmish, cutting enemies up before they even know what hit them.” As you would assume, Jett is a super-fast character, with her agility and evasive fighting style allowing for risky plays.
Jett’s four abilities are as follows:
- Tailwind (Signature Ability): Jett performs a quick dash over a short distance in whichever direction she’s moving.
- Cloudburst: Jett deploys a fog cloud which she can then direct the trajectory of while it’s in the air.
- Updraft: Jett briefly winds herself up before propelling herself upwards.
- Blade Storm (Ultimate Ability): Jett is granted a bunch of throwing knives which deal a moderate amount of damage when they hit an enemy, but kill when they land as headshots. Additionally, landing a kill restores all of Jett’s daggers, which can be thrown all at once or individually.
Omen is set-up as a sneaky character who is said to “[hunt] in the shadows].” As they teleport across the map and render their enemies blind, Omen strikes fear into their foes as they never know where they might pop-up next.
Omen’s four abilities are as follows:
- Dark Cover (Signature Ability): Omen sends out a stealthy ethereal orb which, at the end of its flight, pops, leaving obscuring shadows to be exploited.
- Paranoia: Omen unleashes an ethereal shadow in a straight trajectory, with any player who touches the shadow becoming nearsighted.
- Shadow Walk: Omen waits for a short spell before dematerialising to teleport over a short distance.
- From the Shadows (Ultimate Ability): Omen selects any location on the map to dematerialise, teleport to, and reform. Upon initially arriving at the chosen location, Omen will appear as a shade which, if killed, will simply send Omen back to its initial location. However, if the teleportation completes, Omen becomes incorporeal for a short spell.
Phoenix will be seen on the map “rushing in to fight on his own terms,” setting the battlefield alight with his flash and flare.
As you can see above, the Valorant social media accounts have unveiled some gameplay footage of the character Phoenix.
Phoenix’s four abilities are as follows:
- Curveball (Signature Ability): Phoenix casts a flare in his hand, which he then throws with a curving trajectory. The flare bursts into a flash of light which will temporarily blind anyone who looks at the blast.
- Hot Hands: Phoenix casts and throws a fireball which will either explode after a delay or on impact with the ground. The resulting flares deliver damage to enemies but heal Phoenix.
- Blaze: Phoenix sets out a towering and malleable flame wall which damages anyone who wants to try to walk through, with the flames also working to block vision.
- Run it Back (Ultimate Ability): Phoenix marks his current location. Then, during the run of the ability or once it has expired, Phoenix will be reborn at the marked location if he’s killed. Phoenix will also recover all of his health when reborn.
Sage is a real life-saver and a calming presence to her squad in the middle of a heated battle. She’s “able to revive fallen friends and stave off forceful assaults.”
Sage’s four abilities are as follows:
- Healing Orb (Signature Ability): Sage heals herself or a teammate to full health if given a few seconds to do so.
- Slow Orb: Sage casts an orb which bursts to create a slowing field when it hits the floor. Anyone who ventures into the Slow Orb’s field moves slower, become grounded, and makes noise when they move.
- Barrier Orb: Sage pops out a huge solid wall to protect herself and her teammates.
- Resurrection (Ultimate Ability): Sage finds the corpse of a teammate, activates Resurrection, and then, after a short delay, revives them back to full health.
Sova enters the Valorant battlefield as a top-class hunter and tracker. It’s said that “his custom bow and incredible scouting abilities ensure that even if you run, you cannot hide.”
Sova’s four abilities are as follows:
- Recon Bolt (Signature Ability): Sova fires out a sonar emitter bolt which tags nearby enemies, revealing them to Sova.
- Shock Bolt: Sova shoots an explosive bolt which, upon impact, fires out a pulse of static energy, damaging all in its vicinity.
- Owl Drone: Sova sends out a drone which they manually control. While flying around, Sova can shoot darts from the drone to hit and reveal enemies.
- Hunter’s Fury (Ultimate Ability): Sova unleashes up to three energy blasts that fire across the map, causing heavy damage to enemies that are hit, marking those who are struck by the shot.
Viper plays mind games with her foes, utilising “an array of poisonous chemical devices to control the battlefield and cripple the enemy’s vision.”
Viper’s four abilities are as follows:
- Toxic Screen (Signature Ability): Viper unleashes a line of toxic gas emitters which create a tall, long wall of poisonous gas. Doing so costs fuel, but Viper can reactivate the gas emitters.
- Snakebite: Viper shoots a projectile which, once it explodes, leaves a pool of acid that damages those who come into contact with it.
- Poison Cloud: Viper throws down a gas emitter that leaks a poisonous smoke cloud. The emitter can be reactivated, picked up and thrown down, but it does cost fuel use.
- Viper’s Pit (Ultimate Ability): Viper emits an immense toxic cloud which spans a large area. The cloud remains for as long as Viper is within it, with enemies that venture into the cloud being highlighted for Viper to hunt down.
Valorant gameplay footage
On 2 March 2020, Riot Games finally released some official gameplay footage for fans to enjoy (as shown above).
In a video entitled ‘The Round,’ the game’s YouTube page showcased some of the action that players can expect from Valorant’s gameplay.
When is the Valorant release date?
Initially, information on Valorant’s release date only went as far as the game aiming to be released in the summer 2020 window.
Having undergone its beta testing, Riot have now announced the Valorant release date of 2 June 2020 on PC.
Will Valorant get a console release?
As it stands, Valorant will be a PC release. Riot Games haven’t given an official announcement that Valorant will be coming to consoles at launch.
The developers have, however, been toying with non-PC platforms of late, bringing an abridged version of League of Legends to consoles and mobiles in the form of League of Legends: Wild Rift.
When is the Valorant beta going to be available?
As it stands, very little is known about when the Valorant beta will be available and who will be able to play the beta. It is heavily suspected, though, that Valorant will undergo an open beta quite soon.
The latest rumours, at the time of writing, hint towards a late March release of the Valorant beta, according to the sources of PCGamesN.
Are there any leaks to mull over for Valorant?
Of course, there are leaks: there are always ‘leaks’ of some sort.
As the game is still technically in its alpha stage, any leaks revealed to date are subject to change, but there are a few which are promising.
Leaked by AllGamesDelta on Twitter, here are some leaked screenshots for Valorant:
YouTube content creators have also been dissecting some leaked images and footage of the upcoming FPS from Riot Games, including Stylosa.
Valorant to be approachable but hardcore
Given the hardcore offering of in-depth and demanding gameplay in League of Legends, most players expect Valorant to be much of the same.
While their opening campaigns have been geared towards players in the know – talking about server specs over gameplay features – the team says that Valorant’s level of difficulty and hardcore perception will help to make it approachable.
Speaking to Eurogamer, game director Joe Ziegler says that the team learned from League of Legends that if a game is hard, deep, and challenging to get to grips with, players do gravitate towards learning how to play.
He explains that the more that players build communities and learn from those communities, the more that everybody gets to unleash their core gamer side.
This proved to be the case with League of Legends, and Riot Games hopes that Valorant will take-off in a similar way but within the first-person shooter genre.
Valorant looks to be a tremendously exciting FPS which could very well topple the competitive giants of the genre. Be sure to keep an eye on the newly established Valorant social media feeds to see all of the character intro videos and more as soon as they go live.