Exclusive: Valorant's Act 2 skins are a neon-drenched cyberpunk fever dream
Inverse has exclusive details about Glitchpop, Valorant's newest skinline.
Valorant Act 2 begins August 4, and not only will it launch a new battle pass, a quirky new Agent called Killjoy, and a free-for-all deathmatch mode, but it'll also introduce a cyberpunk-inspired gun skinline called Glitchpop.
In an exclusive interview with Inverse, Senior Weapons Artist Chris Stone and Concept Artist Sean Bigham hint at how Glitchpop's overall theme emphasizes the “punk side of cyberpunk.”
“There was a really big opportunity to reference the cyberpunk universes and make something that's a little bit more loud, bold, and colorful compared to other skins we were making at the time,” Stone says. When Glitchpop is added to Valorant on August 4, it will introduce new melee, Bulldog, Frenzy, Odin, and Judge Exclusive Edition skins to the game. Each of them utilizes the loud, neon styles often associated with cyberpunk stories, but still fits the tone of Valorant.
"loud, bold, and colorful"
Stone cites everything from anime like Akira and Ghost in the Shell to video games like Deus Ex and Ruiner as inspiration for Glitchpop. Through this new weapon skinline in Valorant, the team tried to “create something that didn't directly reference any one of them, but felt like a new take.” And it all happened by chance, too. A concept artist somewhat accidentally produced unrequested but unique design called “megapunk,” and the team liked the idea so much that the aesthetic was extrapolated into Glitchpop.
Here’s an exclusive look at the creation of the Glitchpop line, courtesy of Chris Stone and Concept Artist Sean Bigham:
The design process for Glichpop began with Bulldog. “Once we problem-solved everything with the Bulldog, it was a lot easier to very quickly iterate and propagate these throughout the rest of the line,” Bigham explained. Starting with the Megapunk design, Riot Games then worked with an external partner while “pulling from different aspects of the weapon and setting some key hallmarks” to “tell a more of a logical story throughout.”
Other ideas for the rest of the gunline that came from the Bulldog include “inlaid copper wire detailing and the actual copper wires breaking throughout,” as well as the bright neon color palette of the line. Designing the Bulldog, the team decided that “simple gradient going from front to back” on the gun would make “stickers can read a lot more clearly.”
After getting “visual pillar points” for Glitchpop as well as “clear directions as to how to proceed with the other weapons and make changes where appropriate,” with the Bulldog, the team could move onto other weapons. Odin was a good choice because Chris Stone liked that it has “crazy loud firing.”
This weapon was chosen over others in Valorant after the concept artists consulted with the Audio Director. Stone revealed that for Glitchpop, the team wanted to pick weapons early on that had “a really nice firing cadence,” and the Odin was a great fit.
The Judge was chosen for a similar reason to Odin, as it’s a “full-auto shotgun, really loud, and it gives a lot of room for our audio department in FX to work with.” Seeing it in action, it really complements the skinline.
Next, we have the Frenzy, which was actually a bit more difficult for the team to crack as “surface area wise, everything's so compact.” In order to get around this issue, Stone highlighted that the skin puts “the projector on the rear and projected directly into the player” as opposed to other guns where it’s shown when you aim down sights.
It’s a design tenet that applies to many skins. “If a gun is smaller but doesn't have certain features that our rifle has,” Stone wonders, “how can we swap around some design elements to work in a more constrained space?” This process made the frenzy one of Glitchpop’s more unique weapons.
Glitchpop’s melee weapons are sleek and vibrant but is also where the minor randomization element of this gunline becomes the most obvious. As an avid Counter-Strike player, Stone said that “a common gameplay behavior in those games is pressing 1, 3, 1, 3 to switch between your primary weapons and knife pre-round and post-round.” With Glitchpop, the team wanted to make a skinline that was “born from our love of shooters and looking at how players are engaging with the game.”
Glitchpop melee has three colors: green, pink, and bluish-purple and the design aim was to have it be flexible for players to mix and match to suit their style. “Maybe you're playing Killjoy, so you want to have a lime green one, or maybe you're playing Omen and you want the purple one,” Stone says. “It was about how we could tie a skin line as much as possible to what a player does, and not force them to go out of their way to have an interaction with the skinline.”
Stickers can also be seen on the guns throughout the skinline, and these were tricky to implement. “When we were creating the stickers, we really wanted to balance a corporate feeling of the stickers and their subsidiary brands, versus just some small indie brands,” Stone says. Bigham added some more insight, saying how the team moved between “super corporate” logos and “more colorful, more playful stickers” during the design process.
If you want to buy each of the items individually, this is what they will cost within Valorant’s store:
- Frenzy - 2,175 VP
- Judge - 2,175 VP
- Bulldog - 2,175 VP
- Odin - 2,175 VP
- Melee - 4,350 VP
Altogether, the bundle will cost a whopping 8700 VP, though it comes with an exclusive card, spray, and gun buddy. If you want to buy these skins without playing, you’ll have to dish out $100 for the largest VP option. If you don’t care about getting everything or those extra items, everything can be bought individually for the prices listed.
This skinline also can be leveled up. Melee’s first level will get model and custom audio on inspect, while the second level nets players swipe effect and audio, minor VFX on inspect. You can see what each level gives below:
- Level 1 - Model only and Scope VFX
- Level 2 - Custom muzzle flash and firing audio
- Level 3 - Custom equip and reload effects and audio, logo hologram projections, custom inspect audio
- Level 4 - Kill banner and finisher
- Level 5 - Blue Chroma with VFX
- Level 6 - Red Chroma with VFX
- Level 7 - Gold Chroma with VFX
If you’re heavily anticipating games like Cyberpunk 2077 or just want a bit more color in your Valorant games, Glitchpop has you covered. If players do enjoy it, Stone and Bigham would “love ... to do a Vandal or Phantom” in the Glitchpop style sometime in the future.
Valorant is available now for PC.