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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, topic, and format. You will be able to build your personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021.

Making Cosmetics Players Didn't Know They'd Love

Preeti Khanolkar  (Producer, Riot Games)

Sean Marino  (Art Lead, Riot Games)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

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 broke players' expectations for what weapon skins in a tactical shooter could be. While still adhering to the game's strict emphasis on competitive integrity, their team pushed the bar in terms of custom models, animation, visual effects, and audio. They delivered players more than just skins; they crafted cohesive fantasies. Through a series of anecdotes, they share lessons learned while in pursuit of their ultimate goal: make players fall in love with content they didn't even know they wanted.


Attendees will gain insight into how to build compelling creative content before actually having a live audience. In addition, attendees will learn the importance of taking risks based on limited data and gut instincts, thus enabling rapid prototyping, iteration, and repeated testing. Finally, attendees will also learn how to build creative teams aligned around product goals.

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. There are no formal prerequisites, but the talk will be most relevant to those working in art, creative, and content disciplines.