Riot Games recently revealed the upcoming agent for Valorant Episode 3 Act 1, KAY/O.
KAY/O is an upcoming initiator in Valorant, scheduled release on June 22nd. The new agent is equipped with a bunch of utilities that allow him to initiate fights with an advantage. Additionally, KAY/O's ultimate ability allows his allies to revive him in the middle of the round.
Goals for KAY/O's design
When asked about the goals that the developers had when designing KAY/O, Valorant's Character Producer, John Goscicki spoke at length about the idea behind the new agent. He said,
"With KAY/O we our goal was to add something that felt familiar to traditional FPS players, but had elements that made it uniquely fit within VALORANT"
He further added,
"KAY/O was the first Agent that we started developing after the game launched, and we wanted to integrate him into the world a bit more. By now you have seen the teasers on Breeze, which were one way we pursued this, for all of you lore inclined folks he has some fun relationships with the roster"
Apart from that, KAY/O's Game Designer, Ryan Cousart said,
"Outside of the opportunity goals on the roster, to make an agent that felt familiar to traditional FPS players, we kind of wanted to push for some really intuitive and almost “back to basics” type of inputs. I think all of the designers here tend to have quite the imagination for mechanics so being able to add a bit of VALORANT spice to the “basics”, felt great to be able to achieve on KAY/O with the addition of Suppression."
Talking about the aspirations that they have for KAY/O's future in Valorant, Ryan added,
"FPS players could take some of the common mastery they have acquired from other games, like throwing grenades and apply them in an intuitive way to access the outputs of KAY/O’s kit...I wanted KAY/O players to really think of the map and be able to see geo and make decisions based off of it. Maps give us walls, windows, empty roofs, and a ton of fun geo that is easy to intuit at a first glance and I hope players can combine the intuitiveness of our map geometry and thrown utility to make for some fun plays."
The initial idea of KAY/O
When asked about how the initial idea of KAY/O's design came into being, John mentioned that the idea was first thrown on the desk when Ryan represented the suppression mechanic by using Jett's Knife. Ryan explained further about the Suppression mechanic's involvement with KAY/O. He said,
"During the prototyping phase of KAY/O, I had a bit of a hard time piecing together mechanics that we felt were cohesive for selling the fantasy of this agent. We knew our design goals and the audience but I think I was trying to get a bit too fancy with some of the mechanics. I started having these late night sessions with Max (Orcane), where I threw a bunch of paths and he would help me figure out which of them were dead ends."
He further added,
"I remember, one night, we had just kind of started talking about some of the goals and one of us had said, “eff abilities man, I just wanna frag,” which is how we got to Suppression being what it is today -- allowing players to only have to worry about enemies shooting guns at them without having to worry about their abilities. We got it in game, started testing out a bunch of iterations of this and the rest was history"