New post from Riot Games Dev blog is a real treat. Art Lead Sean “Oniram” Marino takes us on a tour, how VALORANT’s weapons were made. He claims that the most important thing was to make sure that every gun follows “standards of the genre”, there are no overpowered or troll weapons with a balance between cost and power. We also get teased with a secret and never released weapon named “Otto”, but that’s all we get to hear about it, at least for now. Maybe it was a German assault rifle just like it’s name origin? Anyway, there are four steps in creating a gun: core weapons pillars, design process, refining gameplay, and ADS contention, so without further ado, let's build a weapon!
To make a core pillar, VALORANT’s team wanted to make sure that when you buy a gun, it’s exactly what you expect from it and can relate to them from real life guns. Every bullet you fire has to be somehow immersive, to do that, all weapons need to have individual weight, sound, recoil, and animation. For example, when Agents reload a weapon, the animation has to reflect the fact that it’s daily bread for them and they do it efficiently, fast while still being precise. They also didn’t want to divide weapons to fractions A and B, so you can use whatever you feel like doing.
The design process is where you need to get creative. Weapons need to have their own personality and be distinct from others. It includes basic shape, magazine size, or charging handles. To make them even more unique, Riot Games decided to give every weapon it’s rhythm of reloading, some have two-beat reloads, some even three-beat. Sound cues are very important, so even when you don’t see an enemy, you will still be able to recognize what weapon they use just by hearing them shooting or reloading. Even things like muzzle flashlights need to reflect a weapon you are handling. Like I said before, sound cues can be your guide, that’s why Audio Director Peter Zinda and Sound Designer Isaac Kikawa were put to this task. They made sure that with every bullet shot you hear, you will be able to tell where it is coming from, was it shot from an open space or in a small room, did cartridge cases dropped on a metal surface or a dirt.
After all that hard work, we earned to have some fun, it’s time for refining gameplay! Some weapons used to have different attachments like silencers or scopes, but after some testing, it turned out that people just use the same mods on their favorite weapons all the time. Instead, Riot decided to scratch that idea and just make them permanent. Speaking of silencers, these were added at the last moment. It doesn’t mean that they don’t impact the gameplay, because they do! Riot did not want to make silencers overpowered and to make sure there is no situation where you get shot from the back and you have no idea where shots were coming from. Silencers still make you more stealthy, but they do make a sound, just like in real life. In VALORANT though, if a weapon with silencer shoots right in front of you, it doesn't make any sound, but if you hear it from the side or back, it makes a tiny noise to let you have a chance to react. They also wanted to make sure that Vandal and Phantom are very similar guns when it comes to their efficiency, but can fit two different playstyles. Sean Marino sums up the battle of these two rivalry guns very well “Like shooting through smokes? Buy a Phantom. Prefer to one-tap at a distance? Vandal is your friend.”.
At last, we need to think about ADS contention. Simply put, scope or no-scope only? VALORANT’s team had a big trouble deciding on one thing. Obviously, in modern shooters you expect to be able to scope, but they still wanted to add some classic FPS style to it and most importantly, keep it balanced. They managed to find a middle ground to make sure that no matter what style you prefer, both are equally fair. First of all, scoping or hip-fire doesn’t give any advantage at all. Secondly, when you are scoped, they didn’t want to overflow you with a weapon’s design, so they had to keep it minimalistic. Even additional sights like ACOG or “red dot” were taking up too much interface space, which would put you at a disadvantage. To overcome this, Riot decided to go with a holographic dot. Obviously, something like this doesn’t exist in real life, but since VALORANT takes place in some futuristic times, I think this solution not only solved the ADS problem, but it fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the game.
What kind of weapon would you like to be added to the game? And most importantly, are you a Vandal or a Phantom main?
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