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What We Know So Far About Valorant's Lore

Riot Games set the bar high for Valorant as a story. After years of building League of Legends' extensive lore, fans wondered if Valorant had its own encyclopedia in the making. Before launch, however, Chief Creative Officer David Nottingham told YouTuber Qwixzo that the creative team had other plans. In addition to supporting media like cinematics, Riot would unveil lore details with "environmental story telling" instead of through other means.

In an interview with Polygon, Nottingham pointed to Fortnite as an inspiration for Riot's approach to Valorant's lore. "We want to experiment with little ways to sprinkle clues and breadcrumbs into the world," he said. Since Valorant launched in June 2020, players have deciphered what they could from trailers, voice lines, and other in-game materials. Here's what is known about Valorant's lore so far, along with some fan theories about what could be happening in the still quite mysterious Valorant universe.

The world of Valorant

Unlike Riot's flagship franchise, Valorant grounds itself in reality and takes place in a futuristic version of Earth. The owner of the LoreValorant subreddit pointed out that the Duelists trailer specifies the year 2049 in roman numerals. They also claimed that a calendar on the Split map shows the current year as 2053.

Countries that exist in real life also exist in Valorant. The Duelists trailer confirmed that Ascent is in Italy, and in an article on the creation of Split, senior designers Chris Carney and Salvatore Garrozzo introduced the location as a "Japanese city." Character biographies also specify agents nationalities when possible. Jett, for example, is said to hail from Korea.

"We didn't want to do an injustice to fans of the world of League of Legends by forcibly trying to make it conform to our needs," Joe Ziegler, Valorant's Game Director, told US GamerAs Ziegler reportedly put it, the League of Legends world focused too much on magic to fit in with the team's vision for Valorant.

Radiant powers and technology explained

In the early days of the Valorant story, a mysterious world-enveloping event called the First Light supposedly triggered the rise of people with supernatural abilities called Radiants and the substance Radianite. Some agents in the game fight with their Radiant powers: Phoenix, Jett, Omen, Sage, Reyna, Skye, and Yoru fall into this category. The rest of the characters in Valorant use Radiant technology such as Sova's eye, Viper's chemicals, and Killjoy's machines.

Some characters like Reyna show disdain for non-Radiants, who rely on technology instead of innate powers. If she kills a non-Radiant, she says, "You could never hope to match a Radiante!" However, lore community leader BloodyThumbtack pointed out that Radiants might actually be more oppressed than non-Radiants. Reyna sometimes says, "We are finally free to use our power" at the start of a match, meaning Radiants might feel pressured to hide their abilities. The social status of Radiants in the Valorant world hasn't been explained, but Reyna's quotes do imply a divide between Radiants and non-Radiants.

The Valorant Protocol mission

Game Informer's Brian Shea confirmed that a "shadow organization" founded the Valorant Protocol and pooled together agents from around the world in response to the First Light. A popular Reddit thread went further, adding a description from the beta period that specified the agents are facing an "existential threat." 

Riot has yet to reveal the existential threat that inspired Valorant's creation, but Skye's reveal trailer might have a clue. In the trailer, a whirlwind of lightning storms above her as she attempts to revitalize what seems like a mutated bird. Her powers surround the bird with green energy, restoring its natural form as it flies away. Sage informs Skye over comms that this phenomenon is "happening everywhere" and not just Skye's home, which convinces the Aussie nature lover to join Sage's cause. The lightning and mutated bird might point to a natural disaster, but in one of his videos, YouTuber Fatman also raised the possibility of it being Radianite-related.

Radianite makes the world go 'round

Developers haven't explained exactly what Radianite is. Some theorists like TheWrightStep think of it as a ubiquitous power source that appears in different shapes and forms on Valorant maps. According to his Reddit post, this valuable resource could be in power lines, bomb site boxes, or even Radiant technology. At the very least, Valorant's tutorial confirms that attackers use the Spike to steal Radianite. The main game mode chooses one team to plant the Spike and the other to defuse it, which ties into the idea that each game is a battle to secure Radianite. 

The cinematic trailers hone in on a Radianite-related conflict with scenes including the Spike. In Duelists, Jett carries the Spike (or, as Redditor Efimity believes, a variation of the Spike) in her bag as she runs from Phoenix. Retake, the second trailer, shows the enemy team of Jett, Viper, and Cypher guarding a planted Spike in Ice Box — an abandoned Kingdom research facility. BloodyThumbtack claims that Kingdom hoards Radianite, although what the organization does with it is unclear.

All about Kingdom

There may be more to Kingdom, an influential corporation in the Valorant world, than meets the eye. For starters, the Split blog post mentioned that Kingdom's presence reaches far enough to affect the lives of everyday citizens in Split. The company's "K" logo appears in numerous places, including on some character designs. TheWrightStep theorized that Kingdom may not have the best reputation, as evidenced by some vandalized Kingdom posters in the game.

When the Ice Box map released in October 2020, with it came speculation about why the buildings and crates were littered with references to Kingdom. Some Redditors suggested that Ice Box was a Kingdom hideout. David Nottingham added fuel to the fire by including Kingdom-related teasers in his end-of-the-year blog post. Those teasers, with captions like "Kingdom under fire" and "Radianite threat?" prompted discussion about what Kingdom could've done to elicit such public backlash. 

"We will start to confirm some (but not all) of the theories around the epic conflict between VALORANT and [REDACTED]," Nottingham said in his post. Until then, fans will have to wait to learn what Kingdom is, exactly, and whether or not it can be trusted.

Relationships between agents

Many Valorant agents likely met when they were recruited for the Valorant Protocol. However, there is evidence some of them knew each other before that. As an example, Omen addresses Viper using her civilian name, Sabine. One line he recites to her in the game — "Just think, Sabine! You used to heal with your skill" — seems to imply that he knew her before she used her chemicals for warfare. 

Viper is an American chemist, but Omen's bio doesn't mention anything about his past other than being a "phantom of a memory." Omen's other Sabine-related voice lines, such as "Don't die here, Sabine! I need your secrets," and "Sabine, look at the monsters we've become!" suggest that he and Viper have a dark history together. One popular theory believes that Omen and Viper were part of a science experiment gone wrong, leading to the loss of his physical body.

Omen and Viper aren't the only ones, though. Brimstone might know how Sova lost his eye according to his "You already lost an eye for us" line from the Valorant Lore Community sheet.

What trailers reveal about characters

The cinematic trailers contain a fair amount of quotes, but they also raise a bunch of questions, too. Jett's voice lines suggest that she and Phoenix are comrades, even though they fight in the trailers. Some pinned it on their recruitment order. When the Duelists trailer came out, theorists considered that maybe the scene took place before Jett joined Valorant because her number was 10 and Phoenix was 9. Therefore, they could've been fighting if Jett was on the opposing side before she was recruited. However, Riot later rearranged the numbers on the agent roster.

Another theory involved clones. Players can't agree on how or why, but agents seem to acknowledge their other selves in the game. Sova tells himself, "Sova, I spared you when we first met. I can't let you go again." In a more complex example, Jett says "I hate that people think Venice is my fault." Some link this quote to the Duelists trailer, which takes place in Ascent. But others wonder if Jett might be referring to something an alternate version of herself did.

Keeping updated with Valorant and its lore

The Valorant official news page includes blog posts and patch notes for keeping fans updated. The game's social media accounts also drop juicy information like the Yoru Instagram story that confirmed he had the ability to see into different dimensions. Characters even get their own Spotify playlists, which could offer a glimpse into a particular character's personality.

There's also evidence the Valorant team is keeping an eye on feedback. In one blog post on the game's website, Riot's David Nottingham dropped a few names from the Valorant Lore Community Discord server as he updated fans. "You've kept us inspired and motivated to keep going throughout the year, and continue to expand on the rich universe that we have only begun to deliver," he wrote.

As for what could come in the future — at the time of this writing, at least — character producer John Goscicki announced that the team would add another Controller character at some point. You may not be surprised to learn that players are already searching the game for clues. Just as they've attempted to piece together Valorant's story through in-game details and outside media, they're now trying to discover who this new character might be.