Riot’s tactical shooter, Valorant, already has a number of impressive and aesthetically pleasing weapon skins. This isn’t unusual for the studio, considering their massively successful League of Legends’ business model is built upon offering players appealing cosmetic items.
The studio is even starting to get deals with mainstream and luxurious brands, such as Louis Vuitton, to design exclusive themed skins. The question in the back of everyone’s minds is if Riot Games will ever give Valorant agents unique skins, or will they keep the cosmetics to only weapons?
Earlier in April, game director Joe Ziegler and executive producer Anna Donlon spoke with Benjamin “DrLupo” Lupo in an interview that aimed to answer some of the community’s most pressing questions. One of them was indeed regarding whether we will eventually see Valorant agent skins come to the game. Naturally, knowing Riot Games’ process of doing things, agent skins seem like the next step for the game.
However, Donlon clarified this won’t be the case with Valorant as they are afraid it will ruin the competitive integrity of the game.
Will Valorant agents skins actually affect the competitive integrity of the game much? There are two cases we can draw comparisons to, Overwatch and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Both of them are first-person shooters, known extensively for their skins, in addition to how much effort their respective studios, Blizzard and Ubisoft, put behind the creative process of giving unique and desirable looks to the community’s favorite characters.
However, the two games mentioned have very different stories. Overwatch is known for its fun and aesthetically pleasing skins, while Rainbow Six Siege is notorious for featuring skins that make players invisible in certain areas of specifics maps. The latter proves Riot Games’ point in what can happen if Valorant agents skins were handled incorrectly. Another competitive shooter, Apex Legends, had their own fiasco recently with the release of a new premium Wraith skin which does not register headshots.
Overwatch features a total of 363 skins released since Blizzard’s hero based shooter went live in 2016. The game’s official competitive body, the Overwatch League does not allow players to use unique skins in competitive matches. Nonetheless, their existence certainly didn’t hurt, helping the game generate $1 billion in revenue for Blizzard in just its opening year alone. Riot’s financial reasoning aside, Valorant players will more likely than not embrace agents skins as another thing to show off their unique character looks with during their ranked grind.
For now, Riot’s decision to avoid releasing Valorant agents skins will stay as is. The studio wants to avoid disrupting the competitive integrity of the game just to make the diverse set of characters look nicer. There is no denying this might change down the road.
Raze, Omen, Viper, and the remaining Valorant agents all have concept skins created by the community that we might eventually see make it into the game. If Riot ever revert their decision on this matter, it would be nice to see them turn to the Valorant community to submit their creations and choose a winner for the very first skin, like other competitive shooter games have done in the past.