As a game development company, Riot Games is perhaps in a unique position. Instead of being famous as the best game maker, Riot Games is actually most famous as a big gaming company thanks to esports, to the point of making esports one of their business pillars. The last time the CEO even joked that Riot Games is actually a music company that uses games as a marketing medium.
But recently, Riot Games seems to be trying to remind them of their position as a game development company, which makes their games wholeheartedly. Through a Blog Post, they told how the process of making Map Ascent from the VALORANT game. One thing that is interesting is that Riot Games actually took almost 5 years, just for that map.
Furthermore, the Blog Post then explained how step by step Map Ascent was created. Starting from the Incubation phase, the phase in which game designers make a proposal that contains how the visual experience they want to present and what they want to achieve for the map.
It is said that the Ascent design aims to create a traditional Tactical FPS Map that has three paths (A, Mid, and B). After that, the making goes to the Greybox phase, which aims to make the Map real by using the game engine. The process in the Greybox phase can be only a few months, but can take several years. Also, in this phase, the Map only contains essential content, without any visual sweetener.
After that, the development enters the Block-In phase. In this phase, visual content begins to be included, but it is still of an important nature. For example, where should buildings be made higher or lower, why is that. Not only as a sweetener, the visual content in the Block In phase is also essential, by thinking about the visual experience that will be provided.
The process was then closed with the Art Production phase. In this section, more detailed visual content begins to be included. The visual content that is included in this phase is also not always essential, sometimes it is sweet, so that players don’t feel bored when they have to play this map many times.
After five years, the process will certainly not stop. One example was during the VALORANT 1.02 update which revealed several parts of the Map, so that the match between the Attackers team and the Defenders team remained balanced.