VALORANT devs reveal inspiration and design process for Neon

Representation is important, and Neon doesn't disappoint.

Image via Riot Games

VALORANT’s newest agent Neon is the first Filipino agent on the game’s roster and has a unique and exciting electrical ability set that will likely make waves in the meta. Bringing Neon’s culture and design to life in an authentic way was essential to the developers, who shared insight into the process. 

The VALORANT developers shared their goals when designing Neon and how it all came together in a press release. Developer Ryan “rycou” Cousart explained the themes for the character and how the team worked together to bring her to life. 

“Everything on her kit had two words we kept going back to on the design side to keep it cohesive. These were ‘fast’ and ‘frenetic,'” rycou said. “The goal we had aligned on for Neon was that she would move fast and her utility should supplement. After seeing how far it had gone with Jay Watford (Game Designer) and [August Browning] before I hopped on to take it to the finish line, I was so excited to see how well we had hit the goal of having abilities that pair well with going fast that it left the prototype phase with basically the same kit!”

John “Riot_MEMEMEMEME” Goscicki shared how Neon’s design was inspired by athleisure clothing and how a runner’s physique helped shape the character. The team also researched “bioelectricity you see deep in the ocean” to help figure out the shape and movements of Neon and her electric abilities. 

Neon’s culture and background were critical aspects of the character, and the team worked hard to deliver it authentically. 

“I’ve been at Riot for a while now and until now, there’s only been talk here and there of making a character from the Philippines,” rycou said. “I’m a Filipino designer, so the opportunity to help bring a Filipina agent to life in VALORANT is an absolute blessing to me all the way down to the core. I vividly remember the day John and Jay broke the news to me that I was going to have this opportunity and thankfully, my camera wasn’t working, as I was choked up and full of tears…To see all the work that the Neon pod, in conjunction with our Riot team in SEA, has put into bringing Neon to life in the most authentic way we can is something I’m genuinely proud of even if just a small part.”

Rycou also mentioned in a developer Q&A session how the response to Neon has been overwhelming and how members of his family have even reached out about the character. 

Neon’s design process wasn’t without issues, though; multiple bugs appeared during the design period. Riot_MEMEMEMEME mentioned how a material swap caused Neon’s body textures to mess up, and her face would appear on her hands when using her ultimate ability. That day became known as “face hands.” Thankfully for both VALORANT developers and players, the bug was addressed before Neon’s full release. 

Rycou also explained how he accidentally deleted part of her projectile’s logic that stopped it on walls and surfaces. This resulted in the bolt “rapidly bouncing from wall to wall,” but it also eventually led to the team finding a “better cast paradigm.”

VALORANT players can enjoy Neon when she releases with Patch 4.0 on Jan. 11.