Valorant Episode 5 Act 1 is accompanied by an all-new underwater map called Pearl, which pits players against one another amid the streets of an Atlantis-inspired citadel. Here’s everything you need to know, from its layout to the official release date.
It’s been quite a while since players saw a new map added to Valorant’s ever-expanding location pool, with Fracture being the last to release alongside Episode 3 Act 2 back in September, 2021.
Episode 5 Act 1 rectifies this, adding the Atlantis-inspired Pearl into the rotation, allowing players to finally step foot onto Omega Earth. Forcing players into direct combat situations that challenge your ability to commit, Pearl is designed to separate the strong from the weak.
When does it release, though? And what does it look like? Here’s everything you need to know about Pearl, Valorant’s new map.
Valorant Pearl: Release date
Pearl will debut alongside Episode 5 Act 1 on June 22, 2022. It will also be accompanied by the new battle pass, and creepy new Prologue to Chaos skinline.
Valorant Pearl: New map layout
Pearl follows a more standard format than the likes of Fracture. Not unlike Haven and Split, it’s divided into three different lanes, going back to a more traditional layout. “After Icebox, Breeze, and Fracture, we wanted to make a map that was a little more straightforward,” writes Level Designer Joe Lansford, highlighting that there’s no teleports or elevators to help you navigate around.
“Pearl demands committed engagements, without the rotation and mobility support of doors, ascenders, or teleporters. What you get is something deceptively simple, strategically speaking. That said, it still has some twists and all the depth you’d expect from a Valorant map.”
In terms of lore, Pearl is effectively a modern day Atlantis. A once proud metropolis at the heart of Portugal, climate change leads to it being engulfed by mother nature herself, casting it deep beneath the waves. Unlike its historical counterpart, it continues to thrive, becoming the perfect battleground for our favorite heroes.
“The inspiration for Pearl started from an older underwater theme pitch concept, which was combined with a newer pitch that revolved around a major city flooded from climate change,” notes Art Lead, David Yam. “Concepts were made exploring these two ideas and when we placed the location in Portugal, it got everyone really excited because of its historical and architectural visual potential.”
“Since Pearl takes place on ‘Omega Earth,’ we wanted to explore how Omega Kingdom would approach climate change and how we would convey this idea visually,” he continues. “The idea of showing the sustainment of cities underwater seemed to be the right visual direction that everyone was excited about. It’s a nice visual juxtaposition of Kingdom Industries structures with older structures of Portugal.”
With all eyes on this stunning new locale, we can’t wait to dive in (pun entirely intended) and try it out. After all, who doesn’t fancy an underwater shootout?