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Riot Games addresses criticism of in-game sound in ‘Valorant’

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The developer also responds to the Operator meta

Riot Games has officially addressed players’ criticism of in-game sounds in the developer’s tactical shooter, Valorant.

In the sixth edition of its ‘Ask Valorant’ blog series, audio director Peter Zinda admitted that “there is truth to” feedback from fans who have said that they “have a hard time telling how far away a footstep is”, adding that the current sounds optimisation is to ensure “footsteps are heard, as opposed to optimising for portraying distance”.

“What this looks like is an attenuation curve that is somewhat flat, versus one that drops off a lot over distance,” Zinda explained. “There are a couple reasons we do this. One is that under chaotic conditions where abilities are being used and you are probably hearing a lot of VOIP from your team, it is essential that you don’t miss a footstep.”

He also noted that Valorant is being played in “a variety of contexts”, and the sound is being optimised for a more general purpose. “NA players may be used to playing in a quiet room and hearing every detail, but players in China or Korea may be playing in a loud PC Bang [LAN gaming centre], where a footstep that was quiet but gave more information on distance would be lost.”

In the post, game designer Nicholas “Nickwu” Smith also responded to the current meta in Valorant surrounding the sniper weapon Operator. He stated that the team “think[s] the Operator isn’t ‘too OP’”.

“But [we] do believe that the feeling sometimes comes from a lack of personal agency against the weapon (for Agents that don’t have tools to break line of sight for themselves), coupled with an overwhelming amount of team coordination to effectively counter an Operator,” he added.

Smith then noted that the team are currently “looking into a lot of avenues to help smooth out the experience”, but ultimately believe that “the Operator should be powerful and should encourage a team to thoughtfully enter a space where it might be in play”.

Earlier this month, Riot Games released patch 1.06 for Valorant. The relatively minor update, as compared to previous patches for Valorant, featured a major nerf to all shotguns, which have been made to be less accurate when fired in the air, with its spread penalty increased to 1.25.

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