Riot Games Reveals Launch Date for 'Valorant'

Valorant Closed Beta Art - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Riot Games
The first-person tactical shooter is likely to drop amid continued shelter-in-place mandates around the country.

Riot Games offered an update on first-person tactical shooter Valorant during a Summer Game Fest live stream Thursday morning. 

The game will launch June 2, executive producer Anna Donlon and game director Joe Ziegler revealed at the top of the stream. That date, which means Valorant is likely to drop amid continued shelter-in-place mandates around the country, was always the plan, even "before the world changed," Donlon explained. She added that the team had been "really excited" about that date, but hadn't committed earlier because they were waiting to see how the closed beta went. 

The Los Angeles-based video game developer announced a closed beta for the game back in April, with viewership across five countries challenging streams of Fortnite and League of Legends on the Amazon-owned Twitch platform.

Referencing the novel coronavirus pandemic, Donlon said in the live stream, "When everything happened and we found ourselves at home, we didn't know if we'd be able to do everything in time." Ziegler added that now that the launch date is here, it's "super exciting, terrifying as well. The reaction has been overwhelming."

In the free-to-play multiplayer game, users play in attack or defense mode and control different agents who have unique abilities and weaponry strategies.

The team also revealed that new content that builds on the beta will be coming at the launch date, from an 11th agent to a new map. "Originally we said 12 agents," said Ziegler, adding that one of them didn't make the cut. "The 11th agent is going to be an interesting one, and a little spicy, so we'll see how people react to it." Donlon said that there will also be new weapon skins. "If you've enjoyed the gun skins so far, you're going to be pretty happy with what we have coming in this package," continued Ziegler.

As far as new game modes, Donlon shared that the current plan is to have one additional mode at launch. "It is coming in pretty hot, so the hope is that it'll be there on launch day." That one will be released with a beta tag on it. Teasing the type of mode, she said that it's not team death match — though they may look at that option later on.

Considering how their workflow has changed amid the stay-at-home orders, Donlon said that it has slowed things down, "but not in ways that have been crippling." She feels there's been an "emotional cost" since the team are used to feeding off people's energy in the office and now they don't have those “in-person touch points” to resolve problems and talk things out. "Everything is more expensive to do from a communications perspective," she concluded. 

Looking to the future, Donlon said that fans can expect another content drop for Valorant in the summer.

Summer Game Fest is a months-long series of virtual events curated by The Game Awards host Geoff Keighley and conceived in the wake of E3's cancellation. Its schedule includes panels, interviews and playable demos from major companies.