Riot teased Valorant's dataminers for doing such a good job, but they missed it

The remade Reaver skin on an Operator in Valorant.
(Image credit: Riot Games)

The release of a new weapon skin wouldn't usually be interesting, but Valorant's returning Reaver line has a little backstory. Essentially the Reaver set was the internal prototype for all Valorant gun skins, released during the game's closed beta period, and showed players that the game's cosmetics would be more elaborate than a new texture. The Reavers had custom reload animations, a custom melee, and a 'finishing' animation for the last kill of a round.

When the game launched, it did so without the Reaver set (among others), since when you do hear the occasional lonely forum lament of "bring back Reaver." Well there's good news for fans of garish purple weapons: later today the re-designed skin set returns to Valorant.

Riot provided a Q&A alongside the announcement, in which Sean Marino, the game's art lead, talks about one of the more interesting problems for modern development on this scale: dataminers. Upcoming Valorant content such as skins and agents have been consistently leaked in advance of Riot's plans, and the Reaver set was no exception. 

"As we kept working on the skin over the last few months, we accidentally leaked file names into the build, which the dataminers kept picking up on," says Marino. "Likewise the Store team used the Reaver as a thumbnail placeholder image, which had the unintended effect of 'haunting” the menus once in a while, so we’d see countless posts [and] felt bad because all of this just fueled the 'Reaver is the next skin line' rumors, when Reaver was still months away from release." 

So Riot decided to try and use this to its advantage by deliberately leaving a breadcrumb trail: only problem is, the people so good at finding stuff they're not supposed to... didn't follow it. 

"The frequent datamine leaks inspired us to try a teaser campaign where we intentionally leaked some spooky file names into the 1.09 and 1.10 patches to tease the revival of Reaver," says Marino. "We kind of laughed to ourselves at the irony [...] because none of the dataminers picked up on the intentional leaks somehow, so our big brain teaser failed."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."