VALORANT is receiving another Duelist, Neon, with Patch 4.0, adding another exciting agent for players to use. But players have noticed that Riot Games appears to be challenging the dedicated roles of each agent, blurring the lines between Duelists, Controllers, Sentinels, and Initiators. The developers shared insight about how they balance agents and how the dedicated roles might evolve and change in the future.
VALORANT character producer John Goscicki shared his thoughts about the current agent categories and how they might change in the future in a recent developer Q&A session.
“I think a lot of those categories are broad terms and ways to think about the rules and what those characters, like strengths and weakness profiles should be and could be. And we’ve constantly been trying to push the boundaries of those, and you’ve seen that recently, not only with Neon but with Chamber,” Goscicki said. “So I think, as the game evolves, and continues to grow, we’ll probably be going back to a lot of those characters and like, sharpening their identities towards different outputs of those roles, or evolving those roles. We always talk about potentially, ‘Hey, maybe there’s more than the four that we have now.'”
Character reworks are not uncommon in online games, especially if a character has been out for a significant period. VALORANT’s agent roster has continuously grown throughout the game’s lifetime, and agent changes are a common occurrence. Some older agents might be further adjusted to further align with their designated role, as Goscicki mentioned, but players might also see new roles appear.
VALORANT game designer Ryan Cousart also explained how the agents fit into different “quadrants,” allowing the team to follow guidelines and ensure they fit into their specific roles.
“So you’ll have these very inherent relationships of placing and stalling with smokes and things like that being able to take map control that feels like a sentinel and a controller might have those similarities and will live in that little like that quadrant, as opposed to initiators and duelists, who are all about making these really sharp windows of capitalization, to take ground or to do X and Y,” Cousart said. “Living within that quadrant helps us create these guardrails.”
This doesn’t mean VALORANT players are guaranteed to see a new category of agents any time soon. But the lines between each category will continue to blur as new agents are introduced, keeping the game fresh and exciting.