After plenty of rumors, speculation, and leaks, Riot Games have officially unveiled the name of their first-ever shooter, and first-ever game outside of the League of Legends universe, Valorant. Here are all the details about the announcement.
A community of fans has already been growing for the upcoming FPS title, and that community has been impatiently waiting for this March 2nd date. A number of leaks had posted online by esports journalist, Slasher, however until March 2, nothing was official.
At last, they’ve been rewarded with a first look at live gameplay from the official Valorant account, with the game expected to be released in Summer 2020.
What is Valorant?
Valorant is Riot Games’ first foray into the FPS genre, with a character shooter that focuses on gunplay first, while character abilities have been said will be used tactically in a supplementary role to shooting.
The official Valorant website describes the game "tactical shooter meets hypernatural powers."
"Everyone’s got guns and a unique set of abilities, so how do you beat someone with the speed of wind? Use your own moves to outplay them and beat them to the shot.
"Valorant is a game for bold strategists who dare to make the unexpected play, because if it wins, it works."
To be clear, in Project A, shooting matters. You don’t kill with abilities. Abilities create tactical opportunities to take the right shot. Characters have abilities that augment their gunplay, instead of fighting directly with their abilities.
— nicolo (@niiicolo) October 16, 2019
Riot Games’ CEO Nicolo Laurent explained the contrast between Valorant and games like Overwatch back when the game was first announced, as Project A during the League 10 celebration.
"In Project A [Valorant's code name], shooting matters," he said. "You don't kill with abilities. Abilities create tactical opportunities to take the right show."
Similarly to Overwatch, each hero character will have a small handful of rechargeable abilities, with a single ultimate that takes longer to charge. However, players will have to purchase their abilities at the start of each round, utilizing an in-game economy similar to CS:GO’s.
Popular Counter-Strike analyst and caster Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer said that “all classes have access to the same generic weaponry via an economy CSGO fans wouldn't find too difficult to adjust to.” He also said that map design is similarly “Counter-Strike-esque.”
When will Valorant be released?
Valorant is expected to go live in Summer 2020, but whether this is a beta date or a full release date is unclear.
Slasher reported that Riot will be flying in numerous pro players from titles like CS:GO, Fortnite, Overwatch, LoL, and more in mid-March to take an extended look at the game.
sources tell me Riot's invite event with high profile pro gamers and streamers will be conducted March 10-12th at Riot's Los Angeles HQ to shoot promotional footage for Valorant, possibly to promote the betahttps://t.co/C2Dyev5VfB
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) March 2, 2020
Will Valorant be free-to-play?
The good news for anyone interested in the game is that Riot is intent on following the same release methods they have for their other blockbuster titles, with Valorant releasing as free-to-play in Summer 2020.
Players will likely be able to purchase skins and costumes through an in-game store, but this has yet to be confirmed by the developers.
What characters will be playable in Valorant?
Valorant is set in a completely different universe to League of Legends, so fans of Riot's other games shouldn't expect any crossover between the FPS title and other franchises.
Instead, a fresh cast, set on Earth, will be taking aim. Each character has a set of four abilities, including a Signature Ability and an Ultimate. Eight characters were revealed in Riot's official announcement on March 2.
Phoenix’s star power shines through in his fighting style, igniting the battlefield with flash and flare. Whether he’s got backup or not, he’s rushing in to fight on his own terms.
- Hot Hands - Throw a fireball that explodes after a delay or upon impact with the ground. The fire zone damages enemies, and heals you.
- Blaze - Cast out a flame wall that blocks vision and damages anyone passing through it. You can bend the wall when casting by turning while holding left click.
- Signature Ability: Curveball- Cast a curving flare that bursts into brilliant light after a brief delay, temporarily blinding all looking at it. Left click curves it left, right click curves it right.
- Ultimate Ability: Run it Back - Mark your current location. If you die during this ability’s duration, or when this ability’s duration expires, you’ll be reborn at the marked location with full health.
Jett’s agile and evasive fighting style lets her take risks no one else can. She runs circles around every skirmish, cutting enemies up before they even know what hit them.
- Cloudburst - Throw out a cloud of fog that obscures vision on impact. Hold down the ability button to bend the cloud’s in-flight trajectory.
- Updraft - After a brief wind up, propel yourself upwards.
- Signature Ability: Tailwind - Immediately dash a short distance in the direction you’re moving.
- Ultimate: Blade Storm - Arm yourself with several deadly throwing knives that deal moderate damage and kill on headshots. Scoring a kill restores all daggers. Left click throws a single dagger. Right click throws all remaining daggers in a short-ranged burst.
Viper deploys an array of poisonous chemical devices to control the battlefield and cripple the enemy’s vision. If the toxins don’t kill her prey, her mind games surely will.
- Snakebite - Fire a projectile that explodes into a pool of damaging acid.
- Poison Cloud - Throw a gas emitter that you can reactivate to create a poisonous smoke cloud at the cost of fuel. The emitter can be picked up and thrown again after a short cooldown.
- Signature Ability: Toxic Screen - Deploy a long line of gas emitters that you can reactivate to create a tall wall of toxic gas at the cost of fuel.
- Ultimate: Viper’s Pit - Emit a massive toxic cloud in a large area that lasts as long as Viper stays inside the cloud. Enemies inside the cloud are highlighted to Viper.
Sova tracks, finds, and eliminates enemies with ruthless efficiency and precision. His custom bow and incredible scouting abilities ensure that even if you run, you cannot hide.
- Shock Bolt - Fire an explosive bolt that emits a damaging pulse of static energy upon impact.
- Owl Drone - Deploy a pilotable drone that can fire a dart that will Reveal enemies who are hit.
- Signature Ability: Recon Bolt - Fire a bolt that deploys a sonar emitter. The sonar pings tag nearby enemies, causing them to be revealed. Can be destroyed.
- Ultimate: Hunter’s Fury - Fire up to three deadly energy blasts that spear across the entire map. Each hit enemy takes heavy damage and is marked.
Cypher is a one-man surveillance network who keeps tabs on the enemy’s every move. No secret is safe. No maneuver goes unseen. Cypher is always watching.
- Free Ability: Trapwire - Place a stealthed tripwire between two walls. Triggering enemies are restrained and revealed for a short time. If the trap is not destroyed, it activates to daze the trapped victim. Can be picked up.
- Cyber Cage - Toss out a remote activation trap. Reactivate to create a cage that slows enemies who pass through it. Look at a trap and press USE to detonate it, or hold ACTIVATE to detonate all.
- Signature Ability: Spycam - Place a remote camera. After placing, reactivate to view the video feed. Left click while in camera to fire a tracking dart. Recharges when picked up or killed.
- Ultimate: Neural Theft - Extract information from the corpse of an enemy, revealing the location of their living allies.
Brimstone’s orbital arsenal ensures his squad always has the advantage. His ability to deliver utility precisely and safely make him the unmatched boots-on-the-ground commander.
- Incindiary - Launch an incendiary grenade that deploys a damaging field of fire.
- Stim Beacon - Target a nearby location to call in a Stim Beacon, giving all players near it Rapidfire.
- Signature Ability: Sky Smoke - Use your map to call in orbital deployment smokescreens that obscure vision. Click to set the locations, and confirm to launch.
- Ultimate: Orbital Strike - Use your map to target a location, launching a devastating orbital strike that pulses for high damage over several seconds.
Sage creates safety for herself and her team wherever she goes. Able to revive fallen friends and stave off forceful assaults, she provides a calm center to a hellish battlefield.
- Slow Orb - Cast out a radianite orb that breaks into a slowing field upon impact with the ground. All caught in the field are slowed, grounded, and make noise when moving.
- Barrier Orb - Conjure a large, solid wall. Right-click to rotate the wall before casting.
- Signature Ability: Healing Orb - Heal an ally or yourself to full health over a few seconds.
- Ultimate: Resurrection - Target a friendly corpse. After a short delay, revive them with full health.
Omen hunts in the shadows. He renders enemies blind, teleports across the field, then lets paranoia take hold as foes scramble to uncover where it might strike next.
- Paranoia - Send out an Ethereal shadow in a straight line, Nearsighting anyone it touches.
- Shadow Walk - After a delay, dematerialize and teleport a short distance.
- Signature Ability: Dark Cover - Cast out a stealthed ethereal orb that bursts into an obscuring sphere of shadow at its final location. Can be charged to increase distance.
- Ultimate: From the Shadows - Select anywhere on the map to teleport and reform. When arriving, appear as a Shade, that will go back to your original location if killed. Once the teleport is complete, become Incorporeal for a short time.
Additional reporting by Dexerto's Andrew Amos