Can you rank up the quickest?

16:00, 16 Feb 2021

Riot Games has announced the introduction of Gun Game mode "Escalation" to its multiplayer FPS title VALORANT. The game mode which has enjoyed popularity in other FPS titles like Counter-Strike has finally found its way into the game with a couple of VALORANT-esque quirks. The game-mode is expected to launch tomorrow on February 17th, 2021.

Gun Game with a teamplay twist

Other than in other games in which Gun Game is usually a free-for-all brawl, Escalation sticks to the five versus five player format and its team gameplay. Moreover, the guns aren't following a singular pattern in which you will receive them after scoring a kill but will be randomised to some degree, though everyone will have to play through the same order and the guns will still roughly scale from most to least lethal. According to a press release by Riot Games, players can expect a match to take an average of eight minutes, making it bite-sized and easy to fit in, closing the match after a maximum of ten minutes and giving the victory to the team with the most kills.

Most interestingly, the team play format extends to the unlocking of new guns and abilities, requiring your entire team to get to a new tier of weaponry and skills. Other Gun Game modes had sometimes made it a five versus five deathmatch but had not bound unlocking new weapons to the team level but rather the kill score of the individual player. The way team upgrading is handled is a little more tricky, giving the player who pushed the team over the threshold the new gun level automatically. Players who have scored kills in the previous tier will receive a five-second grace period after the weapon tier unlock during which they can activate the new gun at any time by hitting their shop button (B is the default shop key). Members who haven't got a kill will be upgraded to the next tier as soon as they score their elimination. If they fall too far behind the tiers, it is possible for these players to be stuck behind the curve and have guns or abilities tiers behind their teammates. In some ways, this serves as a catch-up mechanics as their previous tier guns in theory should be more powerful by comparison.

According to Engineer and Designer on Modes, Kyle Leach, the decision to go for a team-based Gun Game mode was quite deliberate in order to facilitate experiences suited for laid back experiences with friends.

He said: "The challenge has been crafting a team based version of the mode: every version we've seen has been basically a free for all where one player wins and the goal is to place as close to first as possible.  We wanted to take the fun and excitement of progressing through weapons and make it feel truly team based. We ended up with this mode where players progress individually through a loadout and need to get a kill on each level, but they also contribute to their team's level and the match "Escalates" to a final fight where the entire team gets pulled onto the same level and has to work together to complete it with a weaker weapon.”

Because of Escalations quirk of being able to unlock ability tiers, Leach recalled a particular in their playtesting, referring to the possibilities of hilarious ability combinations. “The first time we played a loadout with the Boom Bot was pretty hilarious. We were playing on Split and I remember being in the sewer and coming around the corner and seeing like 10 Boom Bots rushing down the hall at me. For me in that moment the game transformed into a horror game where I was trying to fight off a horde of Boom Bots with an Operator, and the chaos and struggle of deciding if I should shoot the bots or shoot an enemy was a situation that we didn't foresee creating in this mode. It was a ton of fun. Obviously I died, those Boom Bots don't mess around.”

While it sounds like a likely enjoyable mess, as we've got to know the VALORANT development team, they will be quick to respond to any extraordinary gameplay scenarios which might be in need of a fast fix. Strap your backpack on and get ready to carry your friends in Escalation, it sounds like a good ol' time. 

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Image via Riot Games

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