Riot Games reveals how the developers intend to approach explaining the lore behind Valorant, the company’s debut first-person-shooter title.
Critically acclaimed developer Riot Games openly discussed the way their team intends to unmask and develop the lore behind Valorant’s characters recently. Over the past few weeks, Valorant game leaks and official news have created quite a buzz around the gaming community, and many first-person-shooter enthusiasts are ecstatically awaiting the game’s release.
In preparation for Valorant’s summer 2020 release, Riot Games has slowly released information about the game and its characters. What players know about the game’s world so far is that there are eight unique characters: Phoenix, Viper, Sova, Cypher, Brimstone, Sage, Omen, and Jett. Valorant is set on Earth, which is assumed from the fact that each character, or “agent” as they’re known in the game, represents a real-life country. For example, agent Viper’s nationality is from the United States, while Phoenix is from London. The fact that the agents have powers suggest either that magic exists in Valorant’s world, or the character’s abilities are based on some sort of advanced technology.
In an exclusive interview with the YouTube channel Qwixzo, the creative director at Riot Games, David Nottingham, described the developer’s plan on how they would tell Valorant’s backstory. The lore of Valorant will mostly be delivered through character interaction and environmental elements, and Nottingham says the team has taken careful consideration to create layered personalities and motivations for all of the characters, which the team “can kind of peel back” throughout the game’s lifetime. The type of world-building in Valorant, often referred to as environmental storytelling, has been seen previously in similar titles. Overwatch is a prime example of environmental storytelling, and from Nottingham’s interview, the similarities between Blizzard’s approach and Riot’s storytelling is obvious. On telling stories in this manner, Nottingham says, “What’s really interesting to me is seeing if that is something that players will engage with, get excited about, or offer their own theories.”
Nottingham’s interview suggests that Valorant’s storytelling won’t involve in-game cinematics as seen in games like Red Dead Redemption 2. Rather, the lore will come through character design and the way characters interact with each other. Furthermore, environmental design and the way the agents interact with their surroundings will help quietly build an understanding of Valorant’s world. For example, as a player uses an agent their voice lines give insight into the character’s personality. Besides that, agents will interact with each other, also unveiling interpersonal history and relationships.
If Riot’s storytelling is anywhere near as enticing as Overwatch’s, the Valorant community is sure to eat it up. Over the years, Overwatch forums quickly fill whenever a player notices a new voice line between two heroes, inspiring fan theories and discussions. However, this system isn’t just seen in Overwatch, as Riot’s own League of Legends features environmental storytelling as well. Nottingham’s interview foreshadows engaging storytelling, expansive lore, and exciting easter eggs to come, and fans will surely keep their eyes and ears peeled when Valorant releases for most global PC regions in summer 2020.
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