Ever since last fall, anticipation has been building around Riot Games’s new free-to-play first-person shooter for PC, then-titled Project A. Now the studio has revealed the new game, which will be called Valorant, will be available this summer. Riot also included a brief video demonstrating some of the gameplay.

While you can deduce some elements of the game from the footage, there are still some key questions we’re still curious about. Keep in mind the video is from the unfinished game, so things could certainly change. For the sake of clarity (and not having to reiterate it in every section below), just insert “it appears” before the following observations, since nothing is concrete.

Observations

There’s a search-and-destroy mode

The match shown on the video shows two teams of five players navigating a map, with one side appearing to plant some kind of bomb and the others trying to defuse it. Much like in games like Rainbow Six Siege or Call of Duty’s search and destroy mode, players did not respawn when they were eliminated.

Players purchase weapons and abilities for their characters

It looks like players will need to stock up to fill out their arsenal, buying the guns and abilities they want using credits, which are presumably earned through gameplay. Some weapons cost more than others and span the more or less standard categories of sidearms, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, light machine guns, shotguns and sniper rifles.

You can purchase weapons for your teammates

Just before the battle commences you can see one player purchase a rifle and drag it over to one of his teammates, whose character then emitted a little “thank you” vocal.

There are some funky supernatural powers at play

It’s not clear if different characters will have different abilities available to them, but the video showed what appeared to be several abilities beyond standard gun play. It seemed as though players could carry up to four abilities, based on the loadout screen and players heads-up displays during the game. Among the abilities we saw, was something called a “curveball,” which players can bend around walls or other objects, according to the description in the loadout menu. Other visible powers included some kind of tornado dome that could block pathways, some kind of trippy colored wall and a green and red sphere that look like it obscured the people inside. (Seriously, it was kind of hard to tell what the heck was going on in there. You be the judge.)

And from a more standard perspective, one player was able to use a kind of recon drone in the game, while another appeared to be able to fire a sensor dot to highlight enemies on a mini map.

It wasn’t particularly clear if some of those powers were specific to individual characters and which, if any, were ultimate abilities, but the players did discuss using ultimate abilities in the voice chat.

Lingering questions

Are there other modes?

We saw the search-and-destroy mode, but will there be others like a team deathmatch or capture the flag? Based on a description from the Valorant website, it seems there will be a variety of modes. It reads: “Each agent brings a unique set of tactical abilities they can use to gather information, fortify locations, scout for enemy intel, breach defensive sites, control territory, and more.”

Where will the playerbase come from?

With many observers noting Valorant appears to be a combination of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch, it’s easy to see fans of the latter being very interested in taking Valorant for a spin. It will be interesting to see how this game is received and whether or not it impacts the upcoming Overwatch 2. While it certainly could pull from CS:GO or Call of Duty bases as well, there seems to be more overlap with Overwatch given the so-called “hyper natural” elements.

How will it monetize?

If it’s free-to-play, there figures to be a way for Riot to generate revenue in the game. You’d assume that will mean skins for both characters and weapons available for optional purchase. Will Riot push beyond cosmetics as some other games have and make more powerful weapons available for purchase as well? That practice seems to be phasing out given the outrage over pay-to-win dynamics in games. You’d think Riot will just follow the same system it has with League of Legends. Maybe there will even be some Louis Vuitton threads in the Valorant.

Will it become an esport?

Nothing has yet been announced, but it would sure seem to lend itself to the creation of another competitive circuit for which Riot could sell franchise rights. And just like there’s the question of where the playerbase will pull from, there could also be the question of whether or not FPS esports fans will just add another game to their watch list or whether they’ll forgo viewing another league to focus instead on Valorant.

How do you pronounce Valorant?

Is it VALOR-ent? Is it Vuh-LORE-ent? Something else entirely? Hard to say.

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