The VALORANT developers shared more information about the creation process for Fade, ranging from her character design and background to how her abilities were inspired.
VALORANT developer Nick “Nickwu” Smith confirmed in an official blog post that they needed an agent to compete with Sova since he “sort of has the monopoly on reconnaissance in VALORANT.” Smith and the rest of the team focused on a new agent that could gather information like Sova while also remaining “meaningfully different.”
Sova players can gather information for their team from a distance with well-placed line-ups, leading Smith and the team to focus on a “localized counter.” This aligned with the concept of a bounty hunter since they use information to track down their bounty in a more personal way. Smith also had the idea of hunting a deer since hunters track the animal, trap them, and finally make the kill, similar to how Fade takes out her enemies.
Fade’s trails were a starting point for Smith. They tied into the tracking bounties in an “up close and personal” way. But they needed Fade to be able to focus on more than one enemy to align with VALORANT’s core gameplay loop. Hunting one enemy would make Fade less viable and ineffective against teams, so the developers allowed her to track trails for any enemy hit by her abilities.
“The thing we discovered as we played the kit was that as the person playing Fade, you feel like you’re gathering information, tracking and hunting down people, and then executing them with that information,” lead character producer John “Riot MEMEMEMEME” said in the blog post. “And then on the flip side when you’re the one being hunted by Fade, it’s an anxiety-inducing, terrifying experience. So we decided to lean into that feeling of what it’s like to play as, and play against, this character. And that’s what led us to the darker, edgier thematic.”
Fade’s ultimate also leans into the “anxiety-inducing” concept since it removes one of the most important elements in VALORANT: sound. Not knowing where enemies are coming from can be debilitating, especially in a close round or situation, which perfectly aligns with Fade’s design.
The developers leaned into developing a darker agent that is a contrast to more “upbeat” agents like Neon and Chamber. VALORANT narrative writer Ryan “Pwam” Clements explained that “the bounty hunter fantasy was so crystal clear that all the narrative work sort of just fell into place.”
Pwam and narrative lead Joe “ParmCheesy” Killeen eventually pitched the “living nightmares” theme for Fade, which was a clear winner that aligned with the experiences in playtesting. Playing against Fade is nerve-wracking and the team wanted to “keep that feeling throughout her design.”
Concept artist Konstantin “Zoonoid” Maystrenko also had the challenge of creating a unique color palette and design for Fade. The team decided to go with grays and blacks and give Fade an urban fantasy-inspired outfit.
The developers also used Fade as the perfect opportunity to introduce a Turkish agent into the game. Turkish Angora cats inspire Fade’s heterochromia, and the nazar boncuğu is a symbol “common in the Mediterranean and is used to ward off the evil eye.” Henna is also commonplace in Turkey, and the team leaned into this to give Fade a unique design.
Riot Games clearly works hard when designing a VALORANT agent, creating a unique and exciting background for each character. Lots of love, sweat, and tears went into Fade, and players can enjoy the dark and interesting character designed to feed on their deepest fears.