VALORANT Protocol 781-A introduces dystopian line of Ultimate gun skins
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VALORANT Episode 4 Act I brings a dystopian and evil empire-look to the game with the Protocol 781-A gun skin line for the knife, Phantom, Spectre, Bulldog and Sherriff.

The dark sci-fi-themed skins feature a finisher, transformations, animations, visual effects, voiceovers, unique gun audio and several variants. The Protocol 781-A bundle is available to VALORANT players for 9,900 VP. This includes the guns, as well as a Gun Buddy, Card and Spray.

VALORANT adds an evil empire-look with Protocol 781-A

According to a press release, “an oppressive shadow government must quell disorder in its ranks. Enter Protocol 781-A: an arsenal specially designed to provide combat assistance, monitor performance and enforce compliance with every command.” The Protocol 781-A skins bring a dark and foreboding look to the otherwise colorful art style in VALORANT.

With black and red, Riot Games went with the classic evil color scheme for Protocol 781-A. The variants include colors such as white/pink, red/blue and green. But, despite the alternate colors, Riot was clear about the message the guns are supposed to convey.

White/pink variant of the VALORANT Phantom Protocol 781-A skin
The white/pink variant of the Protocol 781-A Phantom skin. | Provided by Riot Games

“With Protocol 781-A, our goal was to create a sci-fi skin that would be very appealing but unlike any other sci-fi skins we’d created so far,” Preeti Khanolkar, Senior Producer at Riot Games, said in the press release. “So, not clean and futuristic like Ion, not otherworldly like Singularity and not fun and colorful like Glitchpop. Instead, we wanted something dystopian that wouldn’t feel grungy or dirty.”

Khanolkar explained that the skins exist in another world where large cities have seen explosive growth, resulting in overcrowding and chaos, so an oppressive shadow government attempts to control the disorder. The law, Protocol 781-A, ensures that all government personnel are issued a weapon with the aforementioned features.

According to Sean Marino, Associate Art Director at Riot Games, the VALORANT team also toyed with the idea that both Glitchpop and Protocol 781-A exist in the same world within the VALORANT lore, and that the Glitchpop weapons are used by the underground resistance. They drew inspiration from pop culture IPs such as Elysium, Altered Carbon, 5th Element and Alita: Battle Angel.

Marino went on to say that there are over 60 unique voice lines for the gun skins, and that they are all localized.

“Our headcanon for the two voice options was that, in the Protocol 781-A world, people are assigned a voice variant based on which voice profile the person’s psychological evaluation determines will evoke the most compliant response,” Marino said in the press release.

The Protocol 781-A skin line is the first Ultimate Edition tier VALORANT skin line since Elderflame, and since Elderflame included the Vandal, the team made sure to include the Phantom, according to Khanolkar. The bundle will release on Jan. 11.

Michael Kloos is a Dutch esports journalist and enthusiast with a particular like of Rocket League and VALORANT. He is also an avid fantasy/sci-fi reader and writer. He spends most of his time trying not to be in the real world.
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