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Valorant and the team that keeps delivering during the pandemic

Image Credits: Riot Games - Valorant
Image Credits: Riot Games - Valorant
Tee Kay
ANALYST
Modified 26 Oct 2020, 20:29 IST
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Valorant, officially released on 2nd June 2020, is a free-to-play tactical first-person shooter that came out amidst the global pandemic. Ever since it was in the closed beta stage, this title had generated major hype on streaming platforms, with closed beta key drops for viewers watching someone play this version on stream.

This multiplayer title from Riot Games allows players to queue for four different modes:

  • Unrated (Unranked)
  • Spike Rush
  • Competitive (Ranked)
  • Deathmatch

The team behind Valorant

Having teased Valorant as Project A in October 2019, before the breakout of the global pandemic, the developers at Riot Games have done exceedingly well to not only keep up with the deadline for a timely release but also roll out continuous hotfixes and regular updates for this title.

Not to forget, Riot is already heading into its first self-produced esports tournament for Valorant, First Strike. Amidst the growing pandemic, it remains to be seen how the event proceeds online.

However, with the team of developers, who have delivered so much for the community, including continuous new additions of servers for players from new regions to enjoy a better in-game experience, things look hopeful for Valorant to grow into a global esport very soon.

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The team behind Valorant includes,

  • Joe "Hephastopheles" Ziegler, credited with the initial idea for this game, is the Game Director behind Valorant. Ziegler has a history of working at Pandemic Studios and contributing to Champion Design for League of Legends.
  • David Nottingham, the Creative Director for Valorant, is a "veteran creator of video games" with a history of working at Warner Interactive and Rockstar Games, among others, with contributions in games like Grand Theft Auto 2 and 3.
  • Trevor "Classick" Romleski, the Lead Gameplay Designer for Valorant, is a former designer for League of Legends. Trevor made significant contributions towards the design of Aatrox, Rengar, and Nami.
  • Salvatore "Volcano" Garozzo, Game Designer for Valorant, is a former professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player and map designer. Volcano is best known for creating the original version of Cache and making a modified version of Nuke, known as "de_nuke_ve," from which Valve later incorporated changes into the main version of the map.
  •  Moby Francke, the Art Director for Valorant, is well known for his work with Valve as an art and character designer for major titles like Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2.
  • Anna "SuperCakes" Donlon, the Executive Producer behind Valorant, was previously a producer on the Call of Duty franchise at Treyarch. Donlon initially joined Riot Games on the Personalization team responsible for developing in-game cosmetics and events for League of Legends.
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Valorant’s Executive Producer Anna Donlon in conversation with The Wall Street Journal

When questioned about the launch of Valorant amidst the global pandemic during a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Anna Donlon, the Executive Producer of Valorant said that,

“Trying to organize hundreds of people toward this massive thing that’s going to launch globally on the same day during a pandemic—I don’t know that any of us knew that it was possible, I think most people would’ve bet against us, honestly.” 

The Executive Producer of Valorant also went on to add about her leadership role,

“It forced me to really think about how to stay connected with my team without having over 150 calls a week, I learned a lot about leadership during this pandemic.”

In a male-dominated industry, popular for its blatant sexism, Anna Donlon is a rare gem. According to the Wall Street Journal,

“Her career, she says, has been a surprise. She loved playing videogames growing up, but she sensed that her passion was somehow less “acceptable” for girls than for boys. She got back into gaming when she went to college at California State University, Northridge, but never saw a future in the industry. Her plan, instead, was to write novels in a cabin in the woods—“with cozy sweaters and a fireplace,” she recalls with a chuckle.”

Adding to the sexism present in the industry, Anna also adds,

“No one said, ‘You’ll never make it because you’re a woman’, it just felt implied.”
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Addressing the harassment faced by female gamers online, Valorant’s Executive Producer added,

“If you ask most people if they’re cool with women playing videogames, they would say, ‘Why not?’ But what women encounter in games can be a different story. We can’t prevent people from acting out, but we can try to prevent gamers from experiencing it,”

According to the Wall Street Journal’s reports,

“She is working with developers to craft better tools for punishing misconduct and encouraging good sportsmanship.”

And as far as the future of Valorant is concerned, the vision from Anna Donlon is,

“Our goal is for this game to be around for decades. That’s the dream.”

The community of Valorant

With the developers keeping up their end with regular hotfixes and new updates, the community has accepted Valorant as a mainstream tactical first-person-shooter.

With the release of the new map, Icebox, and the upcoming new Agent, Skye, things appear on the brighter side for the community as the players continue delving more in-depth into Valorant.

Despite having more than three million people playing the game during the closed beta, the number of concurrent players on Valorant has since been unknown without any official release from Riot.

However, it is safe to say that the player count for this shooter is not to be worried about, with this game about to enter the esports scene officially. Adding to this feeling are influential esports organizations like 100 Thieves, Cream Real Betis, and Guild Esports making their rosters for the professional stage.

Published 26 Oct 2020, 15:52 IST
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