VALORANT plans to introduce features for 'Social Downtime'
VALORANT is a hardcore gaming experience. The weapon mechanics are at least counter-intuitive to the usual run-and-gun nature of the FPS genre, abilities have to be aimed to pixel-perfect accuracy at times and it's all about ranking up and proving that you're better than your fellow man. Is that enough to take over the gaming world in 2020?
Ìn a recent interview with usgamer.net, game director of VALORANT Joe Ziegler talked about the development team's intention to make VALORANT more of a social experience.
He said: "What we are looking at right now is like, how do we flesh out that ecosystem even further in the future. Areas where groups can warm up together, hang out, or have some "social downtime" are all on the Valorant team's mind for further mode development."
To industry-primed ears, the statement may refer to ideas pertaining to metaversial features that games like Fortnite had already implemented. On top of the usual competitive lobbies where projectiles of varying sizes are hurled at each other at different but definitely lethal speeds, the game also comes with Party Royale, an island filled with minigames, activities and even the occasional concert that players can peacefully coexist in.
Another example of a game leaning into its social side and allowing players to hang out in different game modes is VALORANT's spiritual predecessor Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). The game comes out of the box with various game modes but has also allowed creators through its mod support to create very different experiences such as CS:GO surf, a game mode with a range of custom maps that allow players to slide along ramps at ever-increasing speeds. While the game experience is fundamentally different, the voice chat allows people to hang out with friends in the game's framework, binding players to the ecosystem.
VALORANT had introduced game modes such as Spike Rush and to a degree Deathmatch to appeal to a more casual audience. The game had launched with record-breaking stream numbers on Twitch.tv but has since been inconsistent in its momentum, fluctuating in accordance with its development and content release cycles.