VALORANT developers elaborate on Fade’s design process, how she will impact initiator meta

Fade is almost here.

Image via Riot Games

The VALORANT developers recently explained the goals they had in mind when designing Fade, how she is different from other initiators, and how her character was formed around established mechanics, resulting in the exciting new character. 

VALORANT game designer Nicholas Wu Smith and senior character producer John Goscicki answered multiple questions in a recent developer Q&A session, shedding more light on the process behind Fade.  

The developers explained that Fade is meant to be similar to Sova, although with a more personal feel. Players will always be close to the action as they cannot send her abilities across the map like Sova’s darts. She also doesn’t need to use a drone or summon a wolf to gather intel, providing a significantly different experience. 

Players also can also enjoy a freestyle type of gameplay with Fade. Sova players are almost always expected to know lineups, but Fade provides the same significant intel without having to learn intricate lineups. This was an intended design choice, and the developers are excited to see how players adapt to the new agent. 

While Fade will likely rival Sova in compositions and potentially impact his pick rates in regular games and professional play, this was not a specific goal for the developers. They believe the upcoming Sova nerfs in Patch 4.08 will have more impact than Fade being introduced, but that she could potentially become a new viable pick in time. 

According to the developers, agents take roughly three to six months to find a spot in the meta in all levels of competition. They referenced Neon starting to appear in professional matches, like when OpTic used Neon in the VCT 2022 VCT Masters Reykjavík playoffs. 

However, they also mentioned the experience and sunk cost teams have with Sova and how his abilities are still viable despite being nerfed. The dozens of lineups still work, and it is unlikely that teams will completely abandon the powerful agent. 

The developers also explained how Fade’s character was designed around her abilities, although some of the abilities did lead to the dark and edgy style. Fade’s kit was nearly complete before story elements, and other flavor helped reinforce the themes of the abilities. 

Fade is already making waves with her useful and terrifying ability set, and it is clear she will make a splash in the current meta.