Yes, you read that right. A Valorant dating sim inspired by Riot Games’ Agents of Romance is slated for release in 2023, allowing fans of the FPS game to get to know our Alpha Earth heroes a little bit better.
And why would you want to do that, you ask? Tell me you don’t have a gamer crush – I dare you.
Like them or loathe them, dating sims remain ever-popular, especially in Eastern nations like Korea and Japan. Your mind may turn immediately to the simple (yet incredibly depressing) Doki Doki Literature Club, but we’re seeing more and more romance spin-offs of popular games making their way into the public sphere. For example, we dropped a Hooked on You preview earlier this year, showcasing Behaviour Interactive’s attempt to transform Dead by Daylight killers into cute UwU anime boys and girls.
Now, I’m here to tell you that there’s a Valorant dating sim called Amorant on the cards, inspired by Riot’s 2021 prank game, Agents of Romance. Intrigued? So was I, so I reached out to the lead dev, who wished to use their alias, ImABeeBop, to chat about Valorant and dating.
Agents of Romance
Back on April 1, 2021 I received an email from Riot about a Valorant dating sim called Agents of Romance. Though I clocked the date of said email, it still got me thinking about whether a dating sim inspired by the hit FPS might actually be a good idea. Despite knowing it was fake, I was slightly deflated when Riot officially confirmed the game didn’t exist. How would I go about romancing Viper now?
Turns out I wasn’t the only one disappointed, as Bee cites the prank as the Amorant team’s inspiration. “The initial joke of Agents of Romance from the Valorant team ended up building a lot of hype – maybe more than they intended – before an incredibly loud ‘psych!’
“There was so much excitement around getting to know the characters from Valorant outside of combat, so to get the rug pulled on that concept left a lot of lingering disappointment across the fandom. This was the perfect launchpad for a project like Amorant.”
For Bee, though, the motivation was more simple. “I’m really only here to hold hands with Cypher. Sure, I could draw that for myself, but that’s not nearly as funny as getting a big group of people together who also want to hold hands with Valorant Agents, and spending two years making a dating sim.”
It is worth clarifying that the project is not made by Riot, so it won’t have their official branding or be released via their client or Riot Forge. Instead, the devs “have Riot’s permission and watchful eye, but not their endorsement.”
Despite this, Bee says “the Rioters we’ve interacted with have been extremely helpful with making sure we’re representing Valorant correctly and respectfully, but apart from that, they’re very hands-off and happy to see what we make on our own. Amorant is not made by Riot, it’s 100% made by Valorant fans!”
Many hands make light work (ish)
Of course this raises the question ‘how on earth are you running this thing?’ The development team are all volunteers, so coordinating a squad of 60 budding romantics can’t be easy. “[It] is a blessing and a curse,” Bee says. “We don’t work around super-strict deadlines, but we also are making this game while trying to live our lives outside of it.
“A lot of our contributors work full-time jobs or are full-time students in addition to trying to keep the momentum going. There’s a reason we have such a large team behind us; the more hands we have on board, the easier it is for someone else to tag in as people need to step back and do life things. When we call Amorant a labour of love, we mean it’s a lot of love and a lot of labour!”
Yet, ironically, Bee describes Amorant as “the best-kept secret of the Valorant fandom. A lot of times when I bring Amorant up to friends outside the project, I’m met with surprise or shock. People will express longing for the original April Fool’s joke on Twitter and then freak out when one of our contributors tags in the project’s Twitter account. Like, yes, we exist.
“We’re known but invisible at the same time. It’s fun in a way, because we get to keep seeing this fresh wave of excitement every time someone discovers us, and that makes us excited too.”
This constant excitement is what Bee believes to be the group’s greatest strength. “Every time I get off a call with our team, I’m excited all over again to see where this goes,” they say. “We have an extremely diverse group working on Amorant, with folks coming from all around the world, and many have expressed how cool it is to meet and talk with people they would never have met otherwise. New ideas, new discussions – everyone is here just because they want to be, and everyone brings a unique point of view. We have an incredible team.
“Amorant serves a double purpose,” they continue. “The project is both a fan creation honouring Valorant, as well as a stepping stone into the game dev world for a lot of our contributors. The internal structure isn’t necessarily reflective of most true studios, but it definitely works like a simulation, adjusting individuals into working on a team within a pipeline. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of our contributors go on to work with other developers and make similar games in the future!”
League of Legends dating sim, anyone? After all, Spirit Blossom did pretty well, and Riot is bringing it back for 2022!
So I know what you’re all wondering: when can I go on cute seaside walks with Killjoy? Bee has the answer. “Per our agreement with Riot and per their legal jibber jabber policy for fan projects like this one, Amorant will be entirely free to play. We’ll have more information on where to find it as we approach launch, with a hopeful initial release date in April 2023.
“It’s a rolling release,” they clarify. “By that I mean, once the base game drops, updates will drop periodically with new Agent routes, new features, and new ways to enjoy Amorant. Even after you think you’ve played everything there is for a character, older routes may be updated with new content and different things to do. It’s an evergreen project.”
As someone who has been interested in the project since its inception – I even tried out as a narrative writer before life got too chaotic – I’m very excited to see how Bee and the team reimagine Valorant’s colourful cast of Agents. Their personalities already shine through in-game, and I can’t wait to see how the team expands upon their lore (non-canonically, of course).
If you need me I’ll be holding hands with Fade, but if you’re looking to kill some time be sure to check out our Valorant character list to see which Agent will be the subject of your affections, as well as our best Valorant crosshairs and codes – after all, you don’t want to miss that cupid’s arrow, right? Sova wouldn’t be pleased.