On Sunday night, Riot Games revealed the first details about its new free-to-play first-person shooter title, Valorant, coming this summer. Previously codenamed "Project A," Valorant is a five-versus-five character-based game in which players control a cast of characters with unique abilities.
From the gameplay trailer Riot released, the premise is a bit of mix between Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Blizzard's Overwatch. Players select one character from a roster of 12 that Riot hopes to have at launch. According to Game Informer, the first build had eight characters, including Brimstone, a commander who uses incendiary grenades and airstrikes, and Jett, a fighter who has a dash and smoke-bomb ability.
Players load into the game, where they are given money to purchase guns and items for that round in the Buy Phase. At the end of each round, teams are given more money (with the winning team getting more) to buy better weapons. Each character seems to have abilities that you can also buy at the start of the round and, from some CS:GO professionals who got early access to test Valorant, are purely tactical in nature.
Riot is focusing heavily on the competitive Valorant scene with a commitment to what they believe are the fundamentals to a competitive shooter. Riot outlined on the official Valorant website what it thinks a shooter should have, at a minimum, to convince people to invest, including "128-tick servers, at least 30 frames per second on most min-spec computers, 60 to 144 FPS on modern gaming rigs" and "a global spread of datacenters" to provide at least 35ms for players in major global cities.
Riot also mentioned commitment to anti-cheat technology from the very beginning, a known problem for other titles in the genre.
Senior software engineer Paul Chamberlain told Game Informer:
"Cheating is the most direct threat to competitive integrity that an online game can face. We want players to play this game for a long time. We want them to invest in getting good at the game. We've made the game so there's lots of different ways that you can invest your time to get better in the game, but no one's going to want to do that if you're still going to be overshadowed by someone who's cheating–or even the reverse where you get good, but everyone just thinks you're a cheater."
The official announcement of Valorant comes at an interesting time for Riot Games. At the end of last year when the company celebrated League of Legends' 10th anniversary, Riot teased new details about a plethora of games it was working on, including Valorant (known then as Project A). Other titles included its card game, Legends of Runeterra (currently in beta), a mobile version of League of Legends called Wild Rift and an unnamed action RPG.