Valorant's latest post revolving around Raze and Killjoy perfectly embodies the phrase "cat among the pigeons," where the cat is the picture of the two popular Agents engaged in a loving embrace, and the pigeons are a large section of disgruntled players who can't stomach such a revelation. Their knee-jerk reaction has been to announce that they are uninstalling the game.
It is not the first time Riot has introduced such diverse representations of love and s*xuality in their video game IPs. Characters like Diana, Leona, and K'Sante embody such ethos. Raze and Killjoy's relationship was teased multiple times by developers through interactions in-game and voice lines between the two.
The recent post marked the official confirmation of the two being together, and it has kicked off a storm that is laying bare the toxicity that still resides within the gaming community.
Valorant's latest post affirming Raze and Killjoy's relationship infuriates a section of players
In the latest post on Valorant's official Twitter handle, Raze and Killjoy can be seen locking lips while sitting on a bench amidst other people involved in some festivities. For anyone who has followed the lore and voice lines of Riot's 5v5 competitive shooter, this is not surprising news.
Their relationship has been repeatedly teased by the developers for years now, with the official Twitter handle itself quipping that it was the "worst-kept secret." In one of the voice lines introduced back in June of this year, players could hear Killjoy telling Raze about a new album with a touch of subtlety.
"Raze, I found a new album you just have to hear. Maybe you could... Come over after the mission? But, only if we survive."
One that could and should be a celebration of love and proclamation of diversity has sadly been met with a section of players displaying their homophobia towards the revelation.
It doesn't come as a surprise, given the toxicity that Valorant's player base spews is well-known and documented through statistics. This was thoroughly explored in "Hate is No Game: Harassment and Positive Social Experiences in Online Games 2021" on ADL.
The official post of the two popular Valorant Agents is filled with comments such as them deleting or uninstalling the game, calling out Riot for doing this as a marketing gimmick, not wanting to play either Agent anymore, or politicizing their video game, to state a few.
Among the aforementioned comments, the latter is a standard response to issues such as a representation of diversity or criticism of established hypermasculine war narratives when introduced in video games.
These players quickly label the matter as "woke" and want such politicized inclusion or "propaganda" out of the video games they want to play for fun.
Valorant’s revelation of Raze and Killjoy’s relationship affirms something that has long been teased and conjectured. In the world of hypersexualized drawn figures of women in video games catering to a predominantly male gaze, such affirmations make for a heartwarming acceptance of love and diversity.
Yet, an outpouring of controversial reactions across social media betrays the toxicity that underlies the community at large. One can only hope that this changes for the better in the near future.