The hype around Riot’s new FPS Valorant has been enormous, with casual gamers, streamers, and even established professionals in esports like Rainbow Six Siege and CS:GO lapping up all the details from the announcements and trailers.
One of the main draws of Valorant, are the specialist characters – called ‘agents’ – which bring different skills and abilities to the game. While expectant players have managed to get details and visuals of most of the eight agents that will be in the game when it drops, one of them remains something of a mystery. There is little known about Omen, whose abilities include being able to teleport to specific points on a map and cast ‘shadows.’ But as is reported by Dot Esports, the name has actually been used by Riot before.
As is evident from this extremely old Riot Games slideshow created by then design director Tom Cadwell, Omen was originally set to be a champion to be added into League of Legends, but was scrapped due to its mediocre design. Cadwell, who is now the head of design at Riot, said at the time that the design of Omen “wasn’t bad… But it wasn’t great either.”
The champion, who is a four-legged demon-like creature with spikes on its back and tail, was eventually replaced by Riven, who was released in September 2011.
It seems strange that almost a decade later, the name of a previously axed champion would return in another Riot title.
The Omen in Valorant will almost certainly not share any visual features with the 2011 champion design, as all characters in Valorant are human-like. While his visuals are yet to be officially released, it seems as though the fifth player icon on the red team (farthest to the right) from the Riot dev team’s playtest footage could be Omen, which shows him as a hooded or cloaked figure.
While Omen won’t visually look the same, could the return of the name be down to him having abilities similar to the ones proposed for the canned champion?
His official character description makes him sound like he’d be capable of the dark and demonic things a creature like 2011 Omen would be capable of doing.
“Omen hunts in the shadows,” it reads. “He renders enemies blind, teleports across the field, then lets paranoia take hold as foes scramble to uncover where it might strike next.” Sounds pretty demonic to us.
So while the name could just be a coincidence (heck, imagine how many characters Riot has designed over the last decade) it might be that the Omen name is a little throwback by some of Riot’s most long-serving employees to a forgotten – and albeit, mediocre – champion.