Henna, Cats, and the Evil Eye, How Rioters in Turkey Helped Create VALORANT’s Fade
When a plane passes across Istanbul, Turkey, VALORANT agents descend to find the source of the threatening message. When they land, they encounter dark smoke that envelopes them in their personal nightmares. Fade 20 Agent in the VALORANT Protocol, is illuminated by the arrow of Sova as she confronts the group.
It’s a good time to meet the mysterious Initiator. But beneath her dark image and her job as a bounty hunter and the ability to summon nightmares, is an ethnically diverse woman who hails from Turkey.
“As women must be more attentive to your surroundings,” said Nihan Dinc Brand Management Supervisor Nihan Dinc who works at the Riot’s Istanbul office. “Fade is tough and a little scary. However, she’s always alert to her surroundings. She’s always keeping track of the locations of people. That’s a characteristic that a lot women share.”
There are a lot of choices to be made during the process of making an agent new to the game. The VALORANT design team for the character is required to determine their role in the game and how to develop the Agent’s distinctive identity, and how they can fit within an VALORANT Protocol. They must also determine who the agent is at the heart of them and this usually begins with where they’re from.
Dreams are an integral aspect of Turkish culture , so Fade having to deal with nightmares has made her Turkish roots an obvious fit. Additionally, there are a lot of VALORANT enthusiasts in Turkey that would like to witness their own representation by the sport. To make sure Fade is truly Turkish and authentically Turkish, the VALORANT character design team collaborated closely in conjunction with Rioters from Istanbul. The first important selection was the gender of the Agent.
“Women are not represented in games and that’s the case for Turkey too,” said Bahadir Guven Community manager who has been working in the Istanbul office since 2012. “We would like the players we serve to be able to count on female representation. Someone they can admire and who is a reflection of their culture and place in the world of gaming.”
An Eye for Detail
When they VALORANT group had their base laid, they started working on the specifics. Everything about Fade from her clothing and abilities to her vocal lines are grounded in Turkish tradition. One of the most well-known features is the Turkish Evil Eye Bead. With over a thousand years of time the evil eye is present in Turkey even today.
“If you go into an Turkish home there will be an evil eye in the room,” Bahadir said. “It’s an ancient custom and symbol that goes from the time of Sky God, Tengri. The evil eye beads keep away evil intent and bad luck, bad spirits and even evil. We first learned that Fade had a tendency to have nightmares and nightmares, we immediately considered the evil eye bead as a means to shield Fade from her own nightmares, even while she is seeing the nightmares of other people.”
Fade is a woman who wears an evil eye, which is located in the middle of her dress which keeps an eye on any negative spirits. The hands of her are covered in tattoos, body art and henna with a long history of more than 5500 years.
“Henna is not restricted to just Turkish individuals, but it’s commonly used in important events,” said Sertac Kilici director of the group in Istanbul which tailors our games to Turkey. “It is a symbol of rites of passing. It is often seen when couples get married. For Fade the issue isn’t just on her shoulders, but in her abilities in the end as well.”
The Fade ultimate is one of the most visually striking in VALORANT to date. Complex designs of henna spread out from her orb and cover the entire surface. If an attacker is caught and killed, they’ll be deformed or deafened and identified.
Be sure not to be caught, as If you do you’ll feel as if Fade is waiting at every turn. If she is in the vicinity, you’ll not be able to hear her. She’ll follow you around like a cat at night.
“Cats are an integral element in Turkish tradition,” Nihan said. “In Istanbul, and everywhere in Turkey there are wandering cats who are fed by locals. They’re part of the community. If you spot cats in front of an Islamic mosque, you will know that you are in Istanbul. It is also believed that in Turkey that cats sense negative energy and even feel it that is in close harmony with the person Fade is.”
The shoes of Fade her feline-inspired design is depicted by a cat’s paw design beneath the foot. For Fade and the VALORANT design team for character designs the representation lies in the specifics. The aim for the design team is to create Fade feel authentically Turkish and not be just a stereotype.
In spite of the darkness, his Family is evident
“When we first announced to players know that a Turkish Agent was on the way, we got a response the players’ reactions immediately,” Sertac said. “They were saying ‘we don’t want to see someone wearing a fez. We don’t want to see person with an animal. This is how Turkish people have been as portrayed by the west and, more than that. We are much more.”
So when the players in Turkey were able to see Fade at first, their reactions were overwhelming. Between the walls of fans from all over the globe declaring “mommy” or “woof woof” were genuine expressions of honest representation.
“Players were saying ‘oh, this is a girl from Kadikoy which is an area of the city center of Istanbul which is popular among youngsters,” Bahadir said. “It is wonderful to know that the idea of a Turkish character doesn’t need to be tied to an ancient tradition of ours to be a symbol of Turkey. Fade is a character you could be able to spot on the streets in Istanbul which is why we are awestruck by in Fade.”
“Another player told me that he’s fairly certain I had a relationship with this girl in the past”” Irem Yildiz, who is a marketing communications specialist in Istanbul. “Turkish players regard the girl as someone who they are familiar with or recognize. This is the main thing for us.”
While Turkish players will be as reflected in the appearance of Fade but they may also be drawn toward her style of play. A few of the top VALORANT players around the globe are from Turkey like Mehmet Yugzi “cNed” Ipek, the top duelist for Acend who was instrumental in guiding Acend to becoming the first world champions for VALORANT in 2021.
The way she plays and how she’s placed in the group of Agents will put her in a great position in the eyes of Turkish athletes,” said Bahadir. “Turkish players love to perform by themselves. They love to fight their on opponents one-on-one. This is why Fade being in a position to locate the opposing Agent and block their vision, as well as hearing them from their group, allows the Turkish player to target their opponents, which is the way they are used to doing it.”
On both the VALORANT Champions tour and VALORANT Game Changers Turkish players are constantly stepping out. In whatever method Fade best can fit into the game it is certain that the Turkish experts will lead the way to figure out.
“I believe that there are people who are going to have a stake in the Agent to safeguard the Agent’s abilities. We should be careful not to create a strong agent as if we had to disable Fade I’m sure we’d have to enhance the security of our system,” Nihan laughed. “Having an Turkish Agent is an amazing thing for everyone in the Turkish community. We’ve seen how much she’s appreciated by the community, and this makes us content.”
As the story of Fade continues to unfold, her relationship with Valorant’s other Agents and the origin for her mysterious abilities as well as her connection with her country will be revealed in the coming months. In the meantime, have fun searching for nightmares.