VALORANT developers on creating Agent abilities

written by Mostafeto June 27, 2020 at 8:16pm
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Riot Games definitely did a fantastic job developing VALORANT, and the studio is continuously updating the game with patches while taking the community’s feedback heavily into consideration. VALORANT’s diverse cast of characters and their unique abilities are certainly one of the strong and attractive points of the tactical shooter. However, the creative and development process behind every Agent and their abilities takes a lot of time and effort. This is to ensure they synergize well with the environment on every map and with other Agents as well.

Game Director Joe Ziegler and Game Tech Lead David Straily were both featured in an extensive interview with Eurogamer on VALORANT’s development process and the technological aspect of the game. The game’s cast of Agents features a number of similar abilities that can obstruct vision through smokes and other utility at the player’s disposal. One of the questions addressed how Riot Games’ team design each character’s abilities kit to offer tactical diversity and balanced gameplay experience.

“Our framework for the starting eleven agents in our roster was to cover the basics of the functions of the known tactical space in creative and interesting ways while also adding a few new elements here and there to challenge the notion of what is possible in the space.

A lot of these basics are what you've described here, vision blocking, breaching, flushing and distracting, so a lot of our tools for our initial characters focused on filling those purposes. With our upcoming agents we're looking to broaden a bit on that and challenge some new areas of the tactical space and allow for the creation of new strategies, new types of plays. I won't give any spoilers here, but I look forward to seeing how the gameplay evolves with these additions,” clarified Game Director Joe Ziegler on how VALORANT Agent abilities came to be.

Highlight of the Sova's abilities during the VALORANT Closed Beta
Highlight of the Sova's abilities during the VALORANT Closed Beta

Later in the interview, there was a follow up on the same topic. A game like VALORANT has gone through multiple versions and iterations. During this process, there is no doubt Agents, abilities, and even maps were scrapped along the way. The question addressed whether there were abilities that were particularly troublesome to implement during development or even scrapped due to technical limitations.

“I remember when we added Powered Ascenders (ropes) to the game - so many of our abilities broke because we hadn't set proper constraints around the new game mechanic.

I imagine a future where we have many characters, all uniquely fantastical. To not make ourselves go insane, we'll need to keep the bar high for how we implement game-systems - and make sure that we never get to a point where there is so much tech-debt, it's impossible to expand the surface area of our sandbox.

For every ability you see in the game, there were dozens before it that we tried and ultimately scrapped. I'm excited to bring some of the more zany abilities back in the future, but we first want to ship a well-defined founding cast of characters,” explained Game Tech Lead David Straily on the past and future of VALORANT agents’ abilities.

What do you think of the current state of VALORANT? Are you excited for what the future holds for the tactical shooter in terms of content and weapon additions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!


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