Since the release of Astra with Valorant patch 2.04, the game has experienced a drought in agent addition. But with the introduction of KAY/O as the latest agent, Riot has finally dealt with the drought.
While gameplay-wise, Valorant is quite similar to previously hailed shooters such as CS: GO, the plethora of agents with their different tactical abilities offered by Valorant sets it apart as a unique tactical shooter.
The newest addition to Valorant’s agent roster, KAY/O, is said to be a “back to basics” agent, which utilizes features that feed on FPS players’ nostalgia with a twist of the added suppression skill.
The Character Producer of Valorant, John Goscicki, explained the agent design and how it came to be. He said,
"KAY/O was the first Agent that we started developing after the game launched, and we wanted to integrate him into the world a bit more. By now you have seen the teasers on Breeze, which were one way we pursued this. As for all of you lore inclined folks, he has some fun relationships with the roster."
Valorant dev Q&A regarding KAY/O
While a teaser for the latest agent KAY/O was shown at the Summer Game Fest 2021 Kickoff Live, no further information was handed out to the masses. Finally, the latest agent has been revealed with the Valorant Episode 3 Act I update, and with that, fans of Valorant have showered the devs with questions.
When asked about the designing goal of KAY/O, John Goscicki said,
"With KAY/O our goal was to add something that felt familiar to traditional FPS players but had elements that made it uniquely fit within Valorant. This is represented in a couple of ways: FLASH//DRIVE and FRAG//MENT should be bread and butter gameplay for many of you that have been lobbing nades your whole lives, with Suppression creating moments where gunplay is all people can rely on."
Elaborating on his experience during the design process, Goscicki said:
"Outside of the opportunity goals on the roster, to make an agent that felt familiar to traditional FPS players, we kind of wanted to push for some really intuitive and almost “back to basics” type of inputs. I think all of the designers here tend to have quite the imagination for mechanics so being able to add a bit of Valorant spice to the “basics,” felt great to be able to achieve on KAY/O with the addition of Suppression. An aspiration we have for KAY/O is that FPS players could take some of the common mastery they have acquired from other games, like throwing grenades, and apply them in an intuitive way to access the outputs of KAY/O’s kit."
He also added some novelty stories as to how the new revive and suppression mechanics came to be:
"There’s an interesting story to how Suppression actually came about, which is one of the stories I’ll never forget. During the prototyping phase of KAY/O, I had a bit of a hard time piecing together mechanics that we felt were cohesive for selling the fantasy of this agent. We knew our design goals and the audience but I think I was trying to get a bit too fancy with some of the mechanics. I started having these late-night sessions with Max (Orcane), where I threw a bunch of paths, and he would help me figure out which of them were dead ends. I remember, one night, we had just kind of started talking about some of the goals and one of us had said, “eff abilities man, I just wanna frag,” which is how we got to Suppression being what it is today."