With Arcane Ending, Valorant Deserves The Adaptation Treatment

Image: Riot Games
Image: Riot Games

This November, Netflix and Riot Games will release the second (and final) season of Arcane. The critically acclaimed animated series set in the world of League of Legends has been a massive success for Riot, and fans are already hoping for more adaptations in the aftermath of Arcane’s end. The rest of Runeterra (the League of Legends setting) has plenty of great, adaptable stories for Riot to choose from, and I’m sure they will at some point. However, before any of that, I think the studio’s tactical shooter Valorant is perfect for an adaptation.

The elevator pitch for Valorant is that it’s a tactical shooter a la Counterstrike with hero elements reminiscent of Overwatch. The main gameplay loop requires twitch shooter reflexes but every player takes on the role of a hero with special skills like throwing fireballs or launching automatic turrets (among other things). But what makes the game so primed for a screen adaptation, especially in the vein of Arcane, is its visual aesthetic.

Valorant’s art direction has a cel-shaded but almost painterly style that those who have watched Arcane will find familiar. It means that Arcane’s animation studio, Fortiche, would already be perfectly primed to translate the game’s aesthetic. That extends to the iconic agents of Valorant, each of which has simple but striking designs reminiscent of fighting game characters in that you can understand the general vibe of an agent just by looking at them. Fortiche would also be perfect for Valorant thanks to the studio’s incredible pedigree when it comes to action. Having just rewatched Arcane season 1, I was struck by how the show’s standout moments are kinetic and frantic fight scenes choreographed with stunning precision. The fast-paced gunfights of Valorant, with superpowers being flung while bullets fly, would look so good in Fortiche’s hands.

There’s also another factor in Valorant’s favor—its lore. Just like League of Legends, Valorant’s world-building, character motivations, and general lore run deep, even if the game itself doesn’t always show it. There’s a lot to dig into regarding the central conflict between the agents of Valorant and their evil copies from Omega Earth, all orchestrated in part by the organization Kingdom. It’s the makings of a good yarn, only supported by the agents who each have some wild stuff going on in their backstories.

All of this lore is only teased at in the game and expanded upon in short cinematics, which has left fans hungry for a deeper dive into the world itself. That’s exactly what an adaptation can do. It means that Valorant could succeed whereas Overwatch continues to fail. Overwatch similarly has compelling characters and an interesting world that the game only gestures at, with lore being doled out in short stories, cinematics, and comics. Fans clamored for more for years, even wishing for an animated series. However, the long-awaited story content for the game never came to fruition in the way it was promised and no adaptation exists. It’s left a bitter taste in many fans’ mouths.

Valorant’s popularity is only on the rise, with a console port recently released in beta and new players likely to join in. Fans are already hoping for an adaptation, as unconfirmed leaks about a Valorant movie being in development had the community buzzing last year. The desire is there. With the talents of Fortiche and a proven ability to make a good adaptation, Riot can deliver something exceptional with Valorant.


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