Riot, the storied developer behind League of Legends, has taken the wraps off its latest big multiplayer project, a team shooter that looks like it blends some of the key mechanics from a range of competitors, not least Counter Strike and Rainbow Six: Siege.
We knew that Riot was working on something along these lines, based on its own admission that it was working on a shooter late last year, but a more precise sense of its gameplay mechanics is now available, alongside some exciting-looking gameplay.
As you can tell from that footage of a game round between teams of Riot's own developers, Valorant is a 5v5 team shooter that most closely resembles Counter Strike at first glance, demanding split-second reactions and with near-instant death if an opponent gets a clear shot on you.
The big twist, of course, is that there are player powers, in the vein of Overwatch or any number of other multiplayer games. The primary game mode is attackers versus defenders, according to Riot, which also brings some of the asymmetric dynamic with which Rainbow Six: Siege has had such success.
A new way to play?
Players will choose from a roster of agents, each packing different skills, although their loadout of actual guns looks like it's up to them, with a pre-round purchasing system that's straight out of Counter Strike.
Each match comprises 25 rounds maximum, with the first team of five to reach 13 wins taking the victory. That might sound like a long haul, but it's such a quick and brutal system that rounds fly by, apparently. The attackers have to plant a bomb, while defenders have to stop them (again, nothing new here), and every member of a team dying also ends the round.
Choosing between heroes, meanwhile, is tactical but not as massive as the differences in something like Overwatch. All of Valorant's agents have the same health and hitboxes, making it all about their abilities. These include powers that can blind opponents, or block out an area with fire for a time, or use radar to see if enemies are nearby.
When it releases this summer, Valorant will immediately be free to play, which is also a different tactic compared to the paid launches of the likes of Overwatch and Siege. As far as we know, it's PC-only for now, but we'll certainly be giving it a go to see how much new competition it can bring to the shooter market.