Valorant Episode 2: Act II Escalation Game Mode

Escalation is a casual, fast-paced mode designed for fun social play and perfect for encouraging players to practice with new weapons. In this mode, players are given powerful guns at the start of the match... but as they get more kills, their powerful weapons are periodically replaced with progressively more challenging and less lethal ones. In VALORANT’s take on this popular ‘gun game’ style FPS mode, players progress through this gauntlet as a team and will encounter both guns and iconic abilities from the core game.


  • 5v5 team-based gameplay
  • Semi-randomized guns & abilities
  • Avg match is approx 8min

Mode Mechanics:
  • Similar to a respawning team deathmatch.
  • When the match starts, there is one randomly-generated set of 12 weapons/abilities which both teams must cycle through, roughly in order of ‘most lethal’ to ‘least lethal’.
  • A team must collectively get X number of kills/points in each of the 12 stages before they progress to the next one.
    • Upon progressing to the next stage, the player who got that latest kill to push the team over - automatically progresses to the next gun/ability in the cycle.
    • Members of the team who have already gotten a kill on a given level when it’s completed get a 5 second timer to press B (or their shop hotkey) to get the next weapon, after which they’ll get it automatically.
    • Members of the team who have not gotten a kill with that weapon will stay on the previous level until they get a kill, after which they’ll auto-upgrade to the next level.
    • If there is significant skill disparity, it is possible for “worse” players to be more than one stage behind. When they get their next kill, they progress to the next stage, not the latest team stage (ie they don’t skip any weapons).
    • One exception: for the final stage only, the whole team gets the final weapon/ability as soon as that stage is reached.
  • If no team has won after 10 minutes, the team in the lead wins and the match ends.
  • There is a 15-90s warmup in which players are given random weapons from the weapon set on spawn, it functions as a simple team deathmatch while waiting for players to load in.
Escalation Mode Live Date: 02/17/21

What were your goals when designing Escalation?

“In designing Escalation, we wanted to create a quick, low stress Team Deathmatch mode with high uptime that's fun to play socially with friends. We're hoping to provide players with an opportunity to practice gunplay across the entire arsenal and experience some abilities in novel ways, while providing a shared objective that benefits from some coordination but doesn't require it for a team to succeed.”

- Kyle Leach, Engineer/Designer on Modes

What did you take inspiration from / any notable concepts you wanted to convey with Escalation?

“When players see or play this mode, they’ll immediately see our inspiration: Gun Game. Growing up, I played Gun Game in CS:Source like crazy and had a ton of fun with it. The satisfaction of getting several kills in quick succession with fun arcade-y sound effects and clean auto-equips, along with the thrill of racing opponents to a spectacular finish with a crazy weapon - these are feelings that Gun Game has always delivered fantastically that we're hoping to capture in this mode.

The challenge has been crafting a team based version of the mode: every version we've seen has been basically a free for all where one player wins and the goal is to place as close to first as possible. We wanted to take the fun and excitement of progressing through weapons and make it feel truly team based. We ended up with this mode where players progress individually through a loadout and need to get a kill on each level, but they also contribute to their team's level and the match "Escalates" to a final fight where the entire team gets pulled onto the same level and has to work together to complete it with a weaker weapon.”

- Kyle Leach, Engineer/Designer on Modes

Any unexpected challenges or novelty stories you'd like to share when designing Escalation?

“The first time we played a loadout with the Boom Bot was pretty hilarious. We were playing on Split and I remember being in sewer and coming around the corner and seeing like 10 Boom Bots rushing down the hall at me. For me in that moment the game transformed into a horror game where I was trying to fight off a horde of Boom Bots with an Operator, and the chaos and struggle of deciding if I should shoot the bots or shoot an enemy was a situation that we didn't foresee creating in this mode. It was a ton of fun. Obviously I died, those Boom Bots don't mess around.”

- Kyle Leach, Engineer/Designer on Modes

“As we were iterating on the Mode, the QA team set aside a playtesting block where we played the Mode on every map back to back to back. One team was on full comms, the other was simulating the solo experience. By the third or fourth game, the coordinated team was developing strategies based on where they were on the weapon track. My team was the solo experience team and we ended up hitting the final level (knife round for this playtest) four or five tiers before the coordinated team did. Once they got the final level announcement, they huddled in defender spawn on Icebox and had their epic grand stand until they ultimately caught up to the final level and ended up winning the game in what would become the biggest upset I’ve seen yet in the mode.”

- Sebastian Dalby, Quality Owner on Modes

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