Story has never been a strong suit for multiplayer shooters. Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive don’t really have one at all, and games like Overwatch that do implement them have trouble translating the plot from comics and cinematics to the in-game action and characters. However, with its new tactical shooter Valorant, developer Riot Games wants to change things up, by making sure that players can still feel the story in every multiplayer match.
While Riot wants to keep most of the storytelling in-game, there is some backstory to the world of Valorant that’s worth knowing. Valorant is set on Earth in the near future. This new Earth has futuristic tech, but is still vaguely recognizable. However, at some point there’s a mysterious world-wide event called First Light.
As a result of whatever First Light is, certain people around the world end up with new hyper-natural powers — these are the powers that some of the Agents use in Valorant. These new powers brought about massive global changes, including the rise of new governments. Eventually in response to the events that occur around First Light, a new organization called Valorant is created by secretive backers. For now, that’s all Riot is willing to reveal.
How Valorant’s story will evolve
Valorant will have an ongoing story, and one that changes and progresses after the game’s release. Valorant’s creative director David Nottingham explains that there will be some story material that happens outside of the game, but that it will all be reflected back in-game. The team at Riot wants players to be able to understand the personalities of the characters they like, without having to leave the game.
“We want to take an approach where we’re not overexplaining everything,” Nottingham says. “There won’t be a huge universe page at launch that gives you all this detailed dense backstory [...] We want to experiment with little ways to sprinkle clues and breadcrumbs into the world.”
Nottingham explains that this means that the in-game world of Valorant will be constantly evolving. Things like billboards and other aesthetic features of the game’s maps are examples of the kinds of changes he says players could expect Riot to change to help the in-game world reflect the game’s larger story.
According to Nottingham, the way that Epic Games has implemented changes to Fortnite’s larger world and narrative, usually without upsetting the core gameplay, is something that he thinks is a good example of these ideas.
For now, all of this is a little hard to grasp. After all, we’ve only seen a little bit of the game, and more importantly we haven’t had the chance to see it change at all. In fact, we probably won’t get a full taste of how Valorant’s narrative will work until the game comes out later this summer, but once it is out, we should expect it to be constantly evolving.