Pinoys are winning big in the e-sports industry today. Filipino fans of tactical shooter game VALORANT are excited to see themselves represented in the game through the newest Valorant agent, NEON.
What’s a Valorant agent?
First things first, for those who don’t play the game, VALORANT is a 5v5 first-person tactical shooter developed by Riot Games. An agent is what they call the playable characters in the game. They’re called agents because they represent an agent of the so-called VALORANT Protocol, which is a covert operation in the game composed of members all around who strive to keep the world safe from dangerous situations after the mysterious event known as the First Light.
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) September 27, 2021
As of writing, VALORANT Protocol has 18 agents (only 17 of which are playable). Each agent has a different class with four different abilities and a unique Contract.
So who’s Neon?
Neon is VALORANT Agent 19, set to be available to play at the start of the game’s Episode 4. She specializes in electricity-based abilities and is said to be quite speedy, able to outmaneuver her opponents easily. When Riot Games was sharing teasers about her, they described her as “an Agent who can outpace the rest of the roster, shocking the competition, and sliding straight into the fight.”
Hailing from Manila, Philippines, Neon is the first Filipino agent and the first from Southeast Asia, marking a historic representation for gamers all over the world.
She’s designed by a Pinoy
Have been so excited to share this with you all! I am so grateful to have had an opportunity to be part of creating our first Filipino agent, as a Filipino designer. Can’t wait for you all to see more :) Welcome Neon! https://t.co/zR430cMdff
— Ryan Cousart (@rycoux) January 5, 2022
US-based Pinoy game designer Ryan Cousart is the mind behind agent Neon. He has been with Riot Games since 2011 and was also part of the design team behind agents Jett, Yoru, and KAY/O.
She’s voiced by a Pinoy
I am unbelievably honored, stoked and PROUD AF to announce that I am the voice of VALORANT Agent 19 NEON! 💙💙💙⚡️⚡️⚡️
This has been such a dream come true. I’m kind of at a loss right now. This doesn’t feel real. I can’t believe I’m really saying this right now. pic.twitter.com/qoB96SZkC1
— Vanille Velasquez (@vanillevela) January 5, 2022
Pinoy voice actress Vanille Velasquez lends her voice to Neon. She has done her fair share of dubbing commercial videos and voicing anime and video game characters such as Naoko in Ikai, Quinn Nephilam in Shadow of Death, Lolang Tsora in Bayani, Jelly in Jelly, Ben & Pogo, and Kokeko in Lil Wild, but this is her first job with Riot Games. According to Cousart, Velasquez “helped with making her lines so authentic and even helped write a few.” In Neon’s trailer, you can hear distinctly Pinoy lines, such as “Hay, buhay.” More lines will be revealed when the agent is officially launched in-game.
Her original soundtrack is performed by a Pinoy
SURPRISE! excited to finally announce my partnership with valorant ! thank you vv much for helping me keep my mouth shut until now, @PlayVALORANT !
NEON IS SO COOL! LOVE HER TASTE IN MUSIC! ⚡️⚡️ pic.twitter.com/CvtknPmyV4
— ylona. (@ylona_garcia) January 5, 2022
Neon’s trailer shows clips of her in-game with scenes of the agent organizing her room — in her signature electrified speedy manner — while singing her heart out with different items serving as her mic. In the background, a synth-pop track plays. It’s her theme song “Entertain Me” performed by Pinoy singer Ylona Garcia. Written by Garcia, David Musumeci, and Antonio Egizii, the song is an anthem about female empowerment that complements Neon.
She loves to sing
I really like how she sing while holding anything and pretend it’s a microphone. I also like how bubbly she is. Filipinos are great in adapting and adjusting in new environment and making it their new “home”. Just like Neon does in the trailer.
riot id: wren#5227 pic.twitter.com/MtJFZ04Ak5
— ً (@galacsea) January 6, 2022
It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? I mean, Neon’s theme song is already such a bop. (Go on and entertain me! It’s stuck in our heads.) And when she’s just chilling to music, she’s always holding some sort of mic. We’re pretty sure she’d hog the karaoke machine at parties.
She loves basketball
This shot is the best, because it captures the two things filipinos (and probably Neon) love: Basketball and video games, plus she loves singing too. This agent accurately represents what a filipino is outside the country, filling their room with memorabilias of 🇵🇭
— ¬R O D (@elreitorr3s) January 6, 2022
There’s no doubt Filipinos love basketball, with collegiate leagues like UAAP and NCAA gathering passionate fans and the PBA league filling arenas with even more fervent enthusiasts. And it seems Neon’s not too different. In fact, she has a ball and a hoop right in her room. And she’s got a Pilipinas jersey displayed, too!
And all the little things
Her newly renovated room has Pinoy tidbits all over it — from the walis leaning on the corner to the framed medals by her bed and from the photo of herself with a jeep by her desk to the tropical setting she chose for her window.
small detail but I loved this walis tingting in her room lol
Seeing filipino representation especially in huge game like valorant was really cool, it makes me happy to know that we are seen. I really appreciate what riot has done to represent our culture 🇵🇭
— aphix ♡ (@actuallyaphix) January 6, 2022
I love the way they put the signature broom along with the framed medals of which Filipino parents take pride in seeing. Also, love the tropical vibes and the indoor plant bonanza which boomed during the pandemic (Plantito/Plantita).
— Ryu (@JimdelRyu) January 6, 2022