The first-ever Valorant Champions is just around the corner, and Riot Games is doing its absolute best in getting players excited about it. The company's music department, year after year, has brought out stellar music videos for its other IPs, namely League of Legends.
Riot had previously dropped a post hinting that the official music video would be out soon.
Valorant Champions 2021 will be held from December 1 to 12 in Berlin. The long-winded Valorant Champions Tour will culminate in those weeks, as sixteen qualified teams will fight it out to win the championship.
Riot dropped the official music video yesterday, Die For You, by the American EDM artist Nicholas "Grabbitz" Chiari.
Valorant agents, Brimstone, Sage, Phoenix, and Chamber, in 'Die For You'
'Die For You' features four agents for the Valorant agent roster — Brimstone, Sage, Phoenix, and Chamber. The general action of the video is that Chamber has planted a Spike in the B site of the Split map, and the other three are trying to defuse it. Chamber is perched properly on high ground with a sniper rifle pinning the defenders down.
The video starts by showing Brimstone and Sage crouching at the back-end of the site, with the former in visible pain. Phoenix rushes out with a sheriff in hand, uses his ultimate Run it Back, and heads towards the Spike.
Chamber gleefully takes a shot as Brimstone and Sage look ahead in shock. The video pauses the action here.
This is where things get interesting. From here on ahead, the music video focuses on the little backstories behind each of the defending agents. The song lyrics right before the cut are:
"This could be the day I die for you."
There is a sense of sacrifice and selflessness running in the video. But more on that later.
The first visual dreamscape we get to view is Brimstone. He is walking against the backdrop of a red sky with a gun. The agent turns alertly to see a woman beckoning at him with an outstretched hand.
The shock in Brimstone's eyes would make any Valorant player realize that there is more to the woman than meets the eye.
Suddenly, a black, solid sphere starts dropping from the sky, reminiscent of when the Spike detonates. Brimstone tries to hold it, dropping down on his knees in a pose similar to the mythological Greek Titan Atlas.
The clouds part to reveal that he is standing on an Aztec pyramid-like structure.
The woman is now a small figure eerily floating by Brimstone's face. She again puts her hand out, and he tries to grab hold of it.
The strain becomes too much, and he shatters. The vision ends with him and the woman standing in a greenish space — surrounded by disembodied hands and ears — seemingly in peace.
The vision shows deep anguish that runs deep within the 'old dog' of Valorant. Players are already aware of Brimstone's friend from several paintings in his office. It is reported that Brimstone lost this friend during the event of the First Light and is seen carrying him in the No One Left Behind card.
The woman is likely related to that friend, possibly his daughter. Brimstone feels the need to protect her from the calamity that is befalling them. The whole scene is portrayed in red — showing his inability to accept grief and loss. Much like Atlas, he is being punished by holding the black sphere on his shoulders.
Poetically, he shatters before he can find peace. In the greenish floating space, Brimstone is standing with the woman in serenity. Interestingly, an outstretched palm and an ear feature in this last scene.
With Phoenix, the dreamscape looks more akin to the purple-based color palette of other Valorant agents, Astra and Chamber. He is handed a glowing purple ball from another figure mirroring him.
The ball seems to grant him his powers. He creates images of himself before one of them turns berserk and swallows him. Phoenix wakes up and pushes the sphere back to the other figure's hand.
The other figure can likely be interpreted as a much younger Phoenix before he joined the Valorant Protocol. It is likely that he has unintentionally been the cause of the burning down of his school — "probably burned down the science lab in school", suggested Creative Director KingKut.
The stigma of that and then being suspended from school is sure to be a harrowing experience that Phoenix has repressed deep within. The image of him being surrounded by several flame Phoenix-like figures is fuelled by the overtly narcissistic tendencies evident in his voice lines.
The fracture in his psyche can also be gauged from the "Broken Mirrors" card.
But this self-indulgence seems to be driven by the trauma that rages deep within himself. Even though the fire in Phoenix that rages at the end swallows him, he is still in control.
He has managed to accept and deal with what lies deep within him — able to now wield the very pyro abilities to his advantage. In the end, he passes the sphere back because he no longer needs to express himself through uncontrollable outbursts of fire and rage
Unlike the others, Sage finds herself in a colorful, vibrant bit of natural paradise. Someone's fingers are faintly visible wrapping around the sky before we are shown a person is holding the island where Sage is standing.
The light goes dark, and the plants and flowers are shown to be losing color. Sage tries to revive one of the flowers, fails, and gets trapped in a crystalline structure.
Sage wakes up, draws her resolve, lets out a scream, and frees herself with the screen becoming vibrant again. It is shown that she is lovingly cradling the island now, with the erstwhile figure on it looking at her.
Carrying the same tone of guilt and grief, this also shows a Radiant losing control over their power because of their dire mental state. Sage is engulfed by the crystalline structure — which looks akin to the Versus card with Omen.
She realizes she is being paralyzed by her own grief over the man shown in the vision.
The moment she screams out of it, she gets back in control of both the world and her crystals. She smiles as she lovingly looks at the figure now in her hand.
The vision is also interesting because it reminds Valorant players of what Sage herself says:
"I wasn't strong enough before. But now, now, I am strong enough for us all."
Her ability to get her powers in check comes from accepting the possible loss of that figure in her dreams. In the end, he smilingly lives on, existing in a little bit of paradise in her control.
At this moment, the video cuts back to where it left off, and the song quietly states:
"This could be the day I die for you ... Don't let it be the day."
Tying it all up in a pretty little knot
Back in the present time, Chamber's bullet hits Phoenix during Run it Back, and he disintegrates. There's a close-up look as rage spreads across Sage's face.
Brimstone tries to take a step, but she stops him while healing him and charges forward. Chamber takes another shot but Phoenix, now in his actual form, protects her by throwing up the wall of fire.
Phoenix throws her the defuser, and as all of them dash towards the beeping Spike, the video changes them to three figures from their respective visions.
The video is marked by the notion of sacrifice. Phoenix dashes forward as Duelists do, which creates space for Sage and Brimstone.
Because Brimstone is hurt, Sage stops him from moving forward and instead heals him. She then charges forward towards the Spike.
The visions also throw light on the characteristics of particular agents. It is well-known that Brimstone is one of the top guys in the Valorant lore, both with respect to Kingdom Corporation and being the leader of Valorant Protocol.
The video shows him struggling to maintain the concerns of the personal, the daughter of his buddy, and the world as he tries to stop the black sphere from hitting. A man in his position is torn by the responsibilities he feels towards both. Any sort of peace that he can find is in acceptance.
Phoenix has a strain of youthful arrogance and indecisiveness in him, and it could be seen as a coping mechanism of the trauma from his earlier life. Among the three of them, only he ends the vision being the smaller figure. His rage is an integral part of who he is.
Sage's capacity as a healer and her motivation are a tad clearer now. Each of these characters is driven by something from their past linked to a cataclysmic event and the loss of something or someone.
The Valorant Champions Tour symbol is repeatedly featured in the video as the agents meet the figures.
One interesting point to note in the video is that the music is subtly based on a similar beat to the Valorant official theme. The place where Brimstone tries to stop the black sphere can also possibly be a future map location.
Valorant visuals have recently been replete with pyramid-like structures.
For one, Brimstone is trapped in a pink pyramid in Chamber's trailer. In the end, the final switch refers to how those figures from each vision live within the agent now. The agents have finally managed to come to terms with their loss.
Another interesting point is how the color palette of the entire video plays out against the backdrop of the whole year. Brimstone's Red depicts Valorant First Strike, Sage's Teal harks back to Valorant Challengers, and Phoenix's Purple refers to Valorant Masters.
The final golden hue points towards Valorant Champions 2021, where all those who survived the previous three events will fight it out.
With 'Die For You', Riot has not only shown its insane animation and music capabilities but also has managed to tell a bit more about the Valorant universe. They have done it so well that social media is filled with fans clamoring for an Arcane-like Valorant series.
While this is a possibility that will surely come to fruition in the near future, it is exciting to see how the developers are slowly fleshing out the backstories of these Valorant agents. Nothing is definitely made clear but only indicated through breadcrumbs here and there.
The Creative Director at Valorant, David Nottingham, has promised the players of:
"A distinct and cohesive universe that sets up a central conflict, stakes, and goals that map the experience and stakes."
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It looks like they are only getting started.