Valorant devs explain how future Agent designs influence new maps like Pearl

neon looking out of helicopter in valorantRiot Games

When Riot designs new Valorant maps, they don’t just have to consider the Agents of today: they also have to future-proof it. It’s hard to do that when new Agents could have any number of abilities, but Riot shared how it influences the process after Pearl’s release.

Riot is constantly creating new content for Valorant, with maps and Agents releasing frequently. While players are concerned about the immediate here-and-now, the developers are thinking steps ahead about how everything meshes together.

Whenever a new map releases, the team has to make sure it’s balanced for all the existing Agents in the game. Future releases, though, also have to work well in the sandboxes — and that’s a tough balance.

Riot have expanded on how they juggle this predicament when some Agents that will come down the line aren’t even conceptualized within the game yet in regards to the launch of new map Pearl.

“We work very closely with the agents team, testing agents and maps in tandem,” level designer Joe Lansford said in an AMA on Reddit. “We test our agents on both new and old maps so try to consider all of those things too.”

With Pearl sliding into the map pool over Split in a Valorant-first, players are going to have to get used to seeing new battlefields and constantly evolving their strategies around what’s currently available.

That’s why, in Riot’s eyes, it’s good Agents operate differently on different maps.

valorant pearl mapRiot Games
Pearl wasn’t just designed with current Valorant Agents in mind but future releases too.

The design team creates them and tests how they play on all maps, but the variety in strengths and weaknesses is something they work hard at creating. 

“Agents definitely end up weaker [or] stronger on certain maps, but we think that’s a good thing. It encourages unique team comps and play styles across our map pool.”

Using Pearl as an example, Langford stated: “No particular ability made Pearl design difficult, but we did find wall smokes strong on B and Fade reveal power on the map pretty quickly.”

It’s also important to note Riot are designing these new maps alongside new Agents too. New content doesn’t appear overnight — they are usually months or years in the making.

“[With] Pearl, we had Chamber and Fade in development during that time so we played them fairly often,” level designer Joey Simas added.

So while Valorant may only have 20-odd Agents ready, when Riot eventually expands to have around 60 Agents as planned they want to make sure they fit on every map seamlessly.