The reveal of Riot’s upcoming FPS game Valorant has caused a stir among the community, especially players from other competitive shooters. Former CS:GO professional Michael ‘shroud’ Grzesiek has reacted positively to the game, but thinks a crucial problem will prevent it from “surpassing” Counter-Strike.
Valorant is certainly aiming to take a shot at Valve’s game, which still stands as the most popular tactical FPS title on PC. Those who have played the game explain that its movement and gun mechanics are nearly identical, and it borrows the economy system.
But, Valorant also has hero-like characters, called Agents, each with their own special abilities to use in a match, similar to something like Overwatch. This is where shroud believes it may suffer to compete with CS:GO, at least on a spectatorship level.
One of Counter-Strike’s strengths as an esport is its simplicity. You don’t need intricate knowledge of the game to understand the 5v5, gun vs gun action. One team attacks, one defends, and there are no unexplained superpowers taking place on the map.
A game like Overwatch, on the other hand, has been criticized for being difficult for newcomers to understand, due to the abundance of abilities, many of which are completely alien unless you’ve actually played the game.
“That’s part of the reason why I don’t know how huge [Valorant] will be on a viewing perspective,” shroud explained. “Put CS for an example, ‘flashbang goes off, ok, smoke goes off, ok, guns are being bought.’ Here, it’s like another level; guns are being bought, abilities are being bought, utilities being bought, and, characters do stuff.”
“So, I don’t know if this game can surpass CS, but, I think it’ll be successful,” the former Cloud9 pro continued. “The fact that there are so many questions will make it a harder viewing experience than Counter-Strike – Counter-Strike is easy.”
Shroud did also compliment Valorant too, though, saying he was particularly fond of the map design. However, he also thought that their choice of footage for the reveal could have been better. By having raw gameplay, rather than an edited teaser, he believes they may have made it look worse.
He also acknowledged that not many people watch esports for a game they have never played, meaning his concerns about not being able to understand abilities may not be such a major issue.