Riot Games has ordered tournament organizers of its PC hero-shooter Valorant to switch off blood in order to attract more e-sports sponsors and broadcasters.
The Valorant Community Competition Guidelines, released by the League of Legends developer in a blog post on the game’s official website, requests all types of Valorant tournaments, ranging from small ones with less than $10,000 in prize money to events created by major e-sports organizers, to toggle off the shooter’s Show Blood settings.
Before the launch of Valorant into closed beta earlier this month, Riot Games met with more than 100 e-sports organizations, and one of the most discussed topics was virtual blood, according to Bloomberg. Popular games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive “have missed out on some commercial opportunities” due to violent gameplay, the report said, so the Show Blood option is Valorant‘s attempt at a solution.
“Ultimately, we want our e-sport to be as accessible as possible, and that includes ensuring it is also as wide-reaching as possible,” Whalen Rozelle, Riot’s senior director of e-sports, told Bloomberg. “By turning off blood, we allow more sponsors and distributors to join the ecosystem, ultimately creating more accessibility and stability for everyone.”
Valorant received a Teen rating from the ESRB due to the presence of blood, and while the gore is not on the level of games like Mortal Kombat, Riot Games still wants to limit the virtual violence for the opportunity to link up with major brands. With the Show Blood option toggled off, instead of spurting blood, sparks will fly off wounded characters.
Valorant, currently in closed beta, drew comparisons with Blizzard’s Overwatch when it was previewed last year, as players gain access to a set of unique skills depending on the character they choose. However, Riot Games’ new project differentiates itself by leaning into tactical and precise gunplay, with players able to change their loadout on the fly by buying weapons across several categories.
Riot Games said that Valorant will officially release this summer, with no specific date. The developer, however, promises strong anti-cheat measures and global data centers that will offer as little as 35ms in latency.
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