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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Art vs. Production: The "Battle" to Ship Premium Cosmetics in 'VALORANT'

Preeti Khanolkar  (Senior Producer, Riot Games)

Sean Marino  (Art Lead, Riot Games)

Date: Friday, July 23

Time: 1:20pm - 2:20pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

In this session, the two team leads for VALORANT's cosmetics team share how they, as first-time leaders, broke players' expectations for what weapon skins in a first-person shooter could be. By pushing the bar in terms of custom models, animation, visual effects, and audio, their team delivered players more than just premium skins; they crafted cohesive fantasies. Through three war stories, they share how trust in their team, themselves, and one another helped achieve their ultimate goal: make players fall in love with content they didn't even know they wanted.


Attendees will gain insight into the importance of trusting their teams and their partner or co-lead(s), especially when working in ambiguous creative spaces. In addition, attendees will learn why, in everything they create, they should trust their gut instincts and fight for the player. That means doing what’s right for the core audience, even if data, risk assessments, and logic suggest otherwise. Through a solid partnership built on trust, one can confidently push for what might seem unimaginable but is ultimately right.

Intended Audience

This session is intended for developers involved in producing creative content for players, whether it's related to gameplay, cosmetics, or out-of-game content. This session will be informative for both first-time leaders as well as veteran developers who want to challenge their mindset and approach. There are no formal prerequisites, but the talk will be most relevant to leaders in art, creative, and content disciplines.