Why did the team decide to release a new gun?

Releasing a new weapon is very different from releasing a new agent or a map, and is something that we’ve been considering for a long time. Agents or maps are more restricted – you only play one map at a time, you only have one of each agent on each team – whereas weapons are universal tools that anyone can purchase if they have enough creds.

Due to this, we’ve always held the belief that each of our weapons need to have a strong reason to exist – what situations you’re purchasing it in, how you want to use it, etc. Earlier on in VALORANT’s development, we had a larger selection of weapons; however, we pruned the options down to the launch arsenal to better adhere to this philosophy.

Since launch, we’ve been assessing the state of the live game and evaluating whether or not we feel there’s a clear opportunity for a new weapon in the game – some usage case or situation that we felt wasn’t fully accounted for. With the Outlaw, we believe we’ve identified one – a mid-price, lethal sniper rifle that we believe will bring more options for the sniping playstyle as well as more strategic depth to VALORANT overall.

Coleman Palm, Senior Manager, Game Product Management

What were your design goals for Outlaw?

We felt there was a gap in the arsenal that could be filled between the Marshal and Operator in terms of power and price, and we wanted more options to support the sniper playstyle. The Outlaw has a blend of elements from both the Marshal and Operator while introducing a few new elements of its own. With that in mind, we wanted to ensure that all of the sniper rifles have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

In order to achieve this goal, the weapon is able to fire two powerful shots rapidly without breaking zoom, while having a long reload to create a clear window of vulnerability. The Shorty served as a bit of an inspiration in that regard, allowing us to reimagine that paradigm in a new context with a Sniper rifle.

Nick Smith, Game Designer II and Sal Garozzo, Game Design Architect

What were your design goals for the Throwback Pack: Outlaw bundle?

Because this is the first time we’ve added a new gun to the arsenal since launch, we wanted to do a nostalgic throwback to 2020. Our gun skins that have custom animation, VFX, and audio take a very long time to make (18-24 months!) and we didn’t want to delay the launch of the new gun just because of skins, but we also didn’t want players to have 0 options for skins when the Outlaw launched. As a result, we decided to pay homage to some of the more popular (but clean) skins from 2020: Prism and Ego. We added variants to Prism so hopefully one of the colors is your favorite! We’ve also created a few accessories so you can show off your love for the Outlaw for years to come even if you’ve swapped to a new skin!

Jean Luc Tin Sive, Senior Producer

How do you think Outlaw will shake up / change the current meta?

The Outlaw will provide more options for using sniper rifles across a wider variety of economic states. Additionally, we expect it to be potent against Light Armor, so that has the potential to influence current purchasing patterns in the meta. Finally, we’re interested in how players think about using utility in rounds with the Outlaw; its two-bullet paradigm and high damage per shot allow the Outlaw to have unique interactions with utility that differentiate it from the Operator or the Marshal.

Nick Smith, Game Designer II and Sal Garozzo, Game Design Architect

Are there any notable concepts or inspirations you wanted to convey with Outlaw?

When we began, we needed to work closely with design to decide if the Outlaw was a 2-shot weapon or not. We want to leave room for designers to make gameplay adjustments like we did recently with the amount of ammo in the Judge, while balancing out how we represent gameplay through the visuals of the weapon. We were immediately drawn to over/under shotgun designs, as firing only 2 shots removed the idea of a magazine-based rifle, so this would essentially lock us in to leaving the weapon as a 2-shot rifle, forever.
Since the Outlaw also has different reload timing depending on how many shots you have fired, we wanted to contextualize a full and partial reload with different animations to make sure the different states are clear, and we relied on real world examples to make sure this felt believable. This led to a break action design, which also felt very unique to the sniper archetype. Finally, we felt a sniper rifle that fired a slug instead of a bullet felt like a bolder direction than using a rifle cartridge – and that would allow the Outlaw to really stand out from the other Sniper rifles. The goal was to encapsulate the slim design and precision of a rifle, with the satisfying mechanical characteristics of a break action shotgun, while still making sure it felt powerful.

Adam Moore, 3D Art Manager

Any unexpected challenges or novelty stories you’d like to share when designing Outlaw?

Determining the right damage value was a difficult decision; we experimented with multiple different power tunings of the weapon in development. Ultimately, we found that the most compelling version of the weapon dealt enough damage to kill an opponent wearing Light Armor with a shot to the body. We wanted the weapon to be a threat that has to be respected and planned around.

Nick Smith, Game Designer II and Sal Garozzo, Game Design Architect

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