WHAT VALORANT’S ASTRA MEANS FOR AFRICAN GAMING!May 30, 2021
27th February 2021 saw fans pleasantly surprised. Many failed to contain their excitement when they were introduced to Astra; the latest addition to the Valorant roster. Riot games officially released Valorant June last year. Since then it has proven to be a massive hit.
The release of Valorant’s Astra holds a lot of significance for gaming in Africa. It is not merely the fact that Astra is Ghanaian, but it has a lot more to do with the development process that saw her come into being. Her development saw a lot of input from Leti Arts, a Ghanaian game development firm.
Leti have been making African games since 2009. Since then they have become one of the biggest names in gaming as far as Ghana is concerned. Riot games consulting them to develop a Ghanaian character is a huge step in the right direction.
WHY VALORANT’S ASTRA IS A BIG DEAL
It’s beyond a mere matter of representation, it is also a huge boost for the burgeoning local industry. This could mean future partnerships and increased recognition and inclusion for African game developers on the global stage.
It is also a testament of how far African gaming has come. More and more people are beginning to take notice. Astra since her debut has become rather popular among fans. Many have taken a liking to her. A lot of effort was put into making here feel authentically Ghanaian and in many ways she certainly does. A big part of that is thanks to Effie Nkrumah’s phenomenal voice acting.
That said , Astra’s bold, daring and in your face attitude is definitely reminiscent of a strong assertive and confident Ghanaian lady, believe me I know😩. Her golden heart still shines through even as she puts the beatdown on all those who dare cross her path.
VALORANT’S ASTRA: A FRESH NEW BREEZE
Valorant’s Astra is a fresh new breeze. A new perspective and a surreal experience. John Goscicki from Riot games puts it best when he says the following;
African Futurism was a huge inspiration for us when it came to designing Astra’s thematics, once that element was brought into her development all the pieces naturally fell in place. Ascending above the map to place her “Stars” is such a huge part of her kit, and there are amazing cohesive representations of African Futurism X Space that we were able to pull from.John Goscicki
Goscicki continues by emphasizing how important it was to make her feel grounded when he says;
From there it was also about making sure there was enough of a real world grounded element to her personality and character design. To make sure those grounded elements were represented properly we worked with a consultant from Ghana on the details.John Goscicki
The hope is that she is just the beginning of something far more profound and impactful. One thing Astra has definitely demonstrated is that there is an eagerness among fans to explore and encounter fresh new things. I for one think a big part of her appeal is how she owns her identity.
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That is not to say that the others on the Valorant roster are not special in their own right or simply blend in with each other because that’s simply not true. It’s merely us emphasizing on what makes her special. Why so many fans have come to love her and why we need to see more of her breed in games everywhere.