VALORANT, Riot’s popular first-person tactical shooter, is all about quick reflexes, teamwork, and hard fought duels across a wide selection of maps. During the VALORANT Champions Tour Grand Finals, or VCT for short, Riot took time to unveil its tenth standard map, Sunset, which is heavily inspired by Riot’s hometown of Los Angeles. Sunset joins the map pool roughly five months after the release of VALORANT’s 21st agent (well, 22 if you’re big into the lore,) and native Angeleno, Gekko (You can check out his abilities in our VALORANT guide).
Sunset is as gorgeous as its namesake, featuring a neon sunset glow that highlights the cultural staples of LA scattered throughout the map. The map includes both Art Deco and Mission-style architecture, and even graffiti that Riot sourced from a few local LA artists. There are also unending traffic jams that plague LA and food trucks, which are one of my favorite staples when I visit. There are also a few areas like the clock tower and parking lot affected by Radianite, though why they have a different look compared to the Radianite affected areas on other maps is being kept under wraps for now. \
Valorant Sunset Map Slideshow
The gorgeous neon sunset glow apparently wasn’t as simple as changing the color palette of the skybox. When asked about any unexpected challenges in designing the map Joe Lansford, the Lead Map Designer, explained “Getting the lighting right took a lot of fine tuning and collaboration between art and design. We wanted to hit the mood of an LA sunset with a pink skyline and long shadows, but those aren’t great for gameplay. After a lot of back and forth, we think we found that sweet spot that captures both the tone and clarity we want.” But how does it play? IGN got to fly around Sunset in spectator mode for a bit ahead of its official release.
Sunset is a three lane, two site map with the usual adornments of boxes, barrels, and other VALORANT staples to give both attackers and defenders various angles to cover. However, the big element of Sunset is its emphasis on controlling mid. By design, Sunset has nice long sightlines making rifles a great option for either side, perfect for fans of the Breeze map before the overhaul.
My initial time spent on Sunset wasn’t what I would call “successful” – experienced Rioters made quick work of me while I was still trying to learn a new map, plus I had been skipping VALORANT practice these last few months. I did, however, manage to plant the spike in one of the rounds and assist enough to allow a teammate of mine to clutch out the round, so I’ll take that as a small victory.
Though I didn’t get the glory, I was happy for us to take the round. Each round I noticed my damage output and survival time improving which was victory enough for me on the day, which I think speaks to the readability of Sunset. While VALORANT has been off my mind for the past month or two with – thanks to what feels like a neverending release schedule of amazing games this year. The neon glow of golden hour on Sunset might be the trick to get it back in my rotation.