Riot Games' upcoming tactical shooter Valorant is one of many games in development at the studio. But unlike the others that have been announced, Valorant doesn't take place in or around the world of its international MOBA sensation, League of Legends.
It was an idea that the Valorant's Game Director Joe Ziegler told me the team considered, but ultimately discarded. The world of Valorant is, he asserts, wholly separate from League of Legends, and the team found it difficult to reconcile key aspects of Runeterra with the environment it wanted for Valorant.
"Our game had physical, weighty guns that fired like real life weaponry and our abilities were not designed to dominate the battlefield over these guns," Ziegler says. "In other words, guns were the star of the show and in Runeterra, magic was the star of the show. We didn't want to do an injustice to fans of the world of League of Legends by forcibly trying to make it conform to our needs."
That doesn't mean Valorant doesn't have style, though. We recently got a chance to play Riot's FPS and, unlike other tactical shooters, it doesn't lean into an overly militarized style. Characters hail from different backgrounds and express their strengths and style in their abilities, and even what they wear. Phoenix's fiery jacket is certainly one of the cooler pieces of in-game clothing I've seen in awhile.
So while projects like Forge, Riot's story-focused publishing arm, delve deeper into the world of Runeterra, Valorant will build its own universe. It's probably for the best that the world doesn't have to deal with a sniper-toting Captain Teemo anytime soon. I'm not sure we could handle it.
Valorant will go into closed beta next week. Riot Games is currently eyeing a summer 2020 launch for PC.
Check out more about Valorant in our full interview with Ziegler.