Valorant: Lead Character Designer on ‘Development of Agents’

August 26, 2020 1:24 am

Valorant has run riot since it released a few months back. It has also drummed up a lot of interest as an eSports title. So much so that a lot of professional players have shifted to it. There are two reasons primary reasons behind its conspicuous climb up the ladder.

One, it takes inspiration from the massively popular CS:GO and follows a similar pattern and concept of one team planting a bomb while the other tries to deny it. Two, it has Agents with supernatural abilities that open up different ways of approaching a match.

All Agents have been crafted carefully to ensure they fit in well with the big picture. Lead Character Designer Ryan “Morello” Scott gave us a detailed account of the process that goes behind finalizing an Agent.

Valorant: Designing an Agent

Valorant currently features 11 Agents and Riot Games has already announced further additions to the roster.

Ryan Scott said that the first thing that the team pens down, before deciding on an Agent, is which type of player it will appeal to. Reyna, for example, is a ‘Duelist’ and so appeals to fraggers.

Agent Killjoy may not hold the same appeal for the same player since her abilities call for a more defensive gameplay and approach.

Roster Impact

Scott also explained the impact the Agent has on the rest of the roster.

The ability to do “something that adds new opportunities, new challenges to fight against, new team comp opportunities.” 

Morello cited an example using three Sentinels from the game. Killjoy adds a different utility to the roster but still is a Sentinel like Sage and Cypher.

Sage “buys time for the team and runs the clock down and has a clear identity.”

Cypher, on the other hand, delivers a wider map control and provides “defensive reconnaissance.”

Killjoy is all about “hunkering down and creating risks within a zone.”

Over-tuned or Under-performed

It’s very difficult to roll out an agent without getting some feedback from the players. This is a Beta test. The devs design an Agent, keeping a set of characteristics in mind. This should correspond with how the players feel about an agent. Based on the feedback, they tweak the Agent.

This is essentially where the concept of a particular agent is conceived. So, a character like Sage with defensive abilities balances out a character like Reyna pleasing both defensive and tactical players. This makes combat more balanced.

It won’t be fair if just a couple of agents have these abilities. They will easily function as ‘must picks’ in every game. Every agent has to be balanced, otherwise the devs have to either nerf or buff them to level the field.

For the same reason, Riot Games have assured that a series of new agents will make their way to the roster. Morello did say the devs “plan on doing this for a long time.”

Tags: Valorant
Nakul Ahuja

Nakul Ahuja is an Esports author at EssentiallySports. He has spent 11 years doing theatre and is currently preparing for his Master's degree in Journalism. Along the way, he hopes to rake in money as Ninja does. Ironically, he is a rather clumsy gamer. When he isn't writing, he can be seen brewing a perfect cup of cappuccino for himself. A cup of coffee, anyone?

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