Screengrab via VALORANT
The extended VALORANT soundtrack is one of the most impressive and well-thought-out aspects of Riot Games’ exceptionally popular first-person shooter. The VALORANT soundtrack has instantly recognizable beats and tracks, special occasion bangers, and even authentic music inspired by the locations the game’s maps take influence from.
The music that’s been produced by Riot for VALORANT is tremendous. That’s why it is unequivocally unacceptable that this music goes to waste without a vital in-game feature: equipable music kits.
Music kits are a consistent part of a number of popular multiplayer titles, and for free-to-play games looking for monetization avenues, it’s a free pass for developers looking to bring in extra revenue. Apex Legends introduced music packs way back in season two in 2019, giving players a legend-inspired pack to replace the music for the lobby page, legend selection screen, drop ship, and wins and losses. Since then, Respawn has introduced new music packs for new legends, plus seasonal packs and special in-game event packs.
CS:GO, a title that VALORANT takes an extensive amount of inspiration from, features a massive amount of purchasable music kits that feature replacement songs for menu music, rounds starting and ending, bomb plants, MVP rounds, and wins and losses. The kits feature music from renowned game composers, recording artists, and beloved CS:GO content creators. There are even crossover kits featuring music from games like Halo, Half-Life: Alyx, Hades, and Left 4 Dead.
With each new episode, VALORANT updates the music for the main menu and pre-game lobbies, agent selection screen, and post-game screen. Each episode theme is a different variation of the original and iconic VALORANT theme song, known officially as “Ignition,” according to Spotify. And most episodic variations of this theme have been well received by players. Yet, there’s no option to select and keep using previous themes.
But where Riot has really shined with VALORANT music has been in its yearly Champions anthems. Last year’s “Die For You” featuring Grabbitz and 2022’s “Fire Again” featuring Ashnikko are exciting, heart-pounding tracks more than fit for hyping up a world championship while fitting a cyberpunk/underground aesthetic. They’re fine additions to any driving or workout playlist as well, and since its release, “Die For You” is far and away the most played VALORANT song on Spotify.
Unfortunately, both songs only appear in-game as the finisher song for the skins that make up their respective Champions bundle. With the Champions 2021 bundle out of rotation completely, Riot’s most popular VALORANT song is inaccessible in-game to any new player. And soon, the Champions 2022 anthem will be out of reach too. At a reasonable price, players would likely pay for the privilege of getting to pick and choose from Riot’s impressive musical catalog that it has created for VALORANT via music kits or packs that would replace the default menu/loading screen music with songs of their choosing.
Riot has yet to pull the trigger on League/VALORANT crossovers as a whole, but it should go without saying that League‘s equally impressive and diverse discography would also be in high demand if music kits were ever introduced to either title.
The artists who have worked on any and all songs that have appeared in VALORANT are to be commended for their work. Under the current system, though, without music kits, the songs that are created are given their moment in the sun. But when that sun sets, they’re virtually gone forever when a player logs in. With the addition of a feature proven to find success in other titles, Riot could keep accomplished artists in their deserved spotlight and find additional monetary value from the wonderful music they’ve made.