“We don’t want anything to feel throwaway”
Developer Riot Games has recently doubled down on the steep costs of Valorant skins, which are known for its expensive price tag.
In July, Riot Games unveiled the Elderflame, the first-ever “Ultra Edition” skin set for Valorant. That elaborate bundle had retailed at USD$100. According to the game’s premium content art lead, Sean Marino, skin sets are “not meant to be ‘cheap’”. “We don’t want players to look at something and say, ‘This feels cheap to me’,” he told PC Gamer.
“Part of what we take a look at for all our skins, and this is sort of a Riot-wide approach, is that we want there to feel like there’s a level of effort and care put into skins, or any cosmetic content that people engage with, that makes it feel worthwhile,” he added. “We don’t want anything to feel throwaway.”
Senior revenue strategy manager Joe Lee noted that fans typically buy the skins on an a la carte basis instead, before purchasing most bundles as a whole. “What ends up happening is that most people end up buying a couple of those skins, and then people that really like Star Guardian buy the whole bundle,” he said.
Lee also ruled out the addition of any kind of randomised skins drops, including loot boxes, as well as an open market for skins like Counter Strike: Global Offensive. “That’s not a model we’re comfortable doing in our game,” he said. “We don’t want you to put $2 in and keep on rolling for the chance to get something that’s more than $2 that you can then sell on the store.”
Act 3 of Valorant launched on October 13. It introduced the game’s fifth overall map, Icebox, which the developer called “complex combat space that features plenty of cover and verticality”. The update also added changes to deathmatch and competitive modes.
The 13th Valorant agent, Skye, is set to join the game on October 27, alongside the launch patch 1.11. She was initially supposed to be introduced alongside the launch of Act 3, but was delayed to make way for Icebox map.