In preparation for Valorant‘s summer 2020 release, Riot Games has been slowly revealing information about the game and its characters. We know that there are eight unique characters, or “agents,” each of which presumably represents a real-life country. For example, agent Viper comes from the United States, while Phoenix hails from England. Furthermore, the fact that the agents have special powers suggests the existence of either magic or some powerful technologies.
David Nottingham, a creative director at Riot, recently sat down for an exclusive interview with YouTube channel Qwixzo. During their chat, he went into more detail on how the developers plan to tell Valorant‘s lore. Namely, they hope to do this through character interaction and environmental elements.
Valorant‘s environmental storytelling
Nottingham says the team has carefully considered how to create layered personalities and motivations. Riot also wants to keep teasing fans about their new world through the game’s launch.
The interview suggests that Valorant‘s storytelling won’t involve in-game cinematics. Rather, the lore will come through character design and the way characters interact. Environmental design and interactions will also help to quietly build an understanding of Valorant‘s world. For example, an agent’s voice lines will give insight into that character’s personality. Besides that, agents will interact with each other, also unveiling interpersonal history and relationships.
This sort of environmental storytelling likely sounds familiar to many gamers. A number of games, such as Overwatch, have transitioned to this model over the years. 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 have quickly filled up when a player notices a new voice line between two heroes, inspiring fan theories and discussions.
Riot’s own League of Legends features environmental storytelling as well. For instance, champions enter the battle with unique voice lines and sometimes respond to each other. Nottingham’s interview suggests that we can expect this same sort of engagement in the lead-up to and launch of Valorant.