Riot Games has unveiled its long-teased first-person shooter "Valorant," embracing the traditional five-versus-five arena setup, and on track for its free-to-play PC launch this summer. Formerly known under the "Project A" codename, the League of Legends studio aims to marry tactical combat with hero-based abilities, shaping up to rival Counter-Strike and Overwatch. The result is a multiplayer game demanding precision and deep strategy, with clear potential over months to come.
Valorant rides on its "agents," playable, distinct heroes, leveraging unique abilities to augment the fundamentals of combat. Its three-minute debut reel highlights clear Counter-Strike influences, from gameplay premise to momentary animations. It also translates a traditional formula of round-based matches, where offensive aims to arm a bomb, with weapons purchased at the start of each round. And while undoubtedly familiar, Riot hopes robust simplicity draws players in.
"Throughout VALORANT's development, we wanted to uphold the fundamental values of a competitive tactical shooter: precise shooting, lethal gunplay, and strategic execution," said Anna Donlon, executive producer on Valorant. "By adding unique character abilities that complement the game's gunplay we believe we're expanding upon the traditional tac shooter experience and bringing something new to the genre - and we hope the launch of VALORANT will be the start of a long-term relationship with tactical FPS fans from around the world."
While that snappy gunplay lies at the heart of its competitive edge, Riot also touts underlying foundations to support gameplay ambitions. That includes custom netcode to aid hit detection, anti-cheat, and 128 tick servers (how many times per second the server updates the game state) to avoid common missteps in the genre.
While details on Valorant remain limited ahead of its scheduled summer 2020 availability on PC, the studio appears to be investing League of Legends learnings for its first project beyond the hit MOBA.