Valorant’s Episode 5 Act 2 battle pass came packed with memes, cute gun buddies inspired by mythical animals of lore, and one of the most elaborate skin lines we’ve seen in a battle pass to date.
The Piedra del Sol skin bundle (which translates to Stone of the Sun) draws on art from Aztec civilization, bringing to life one of the mightiest empires from the ancient world.
Riot Games weapons artist Raquel Garcia penned a new developer blog that dove into the inspiration behind the collection, detailing the design story behind each individual weapon.
The Piedra del Sol skin bundle is inspired by Aztec mythology
The Piedra del Sol collection features skins for the Phantom, Judge, Bucky, Ghost, and melee. The Ghost was influenced by the Aztec god Xolotl, commonly depicted as a human skeleton with the head of a canine. He guided the dead through the Aztec underworld known as Mictlan.
“I wanted to grasp an artistic feel for this gun that would represent him well and would also fit into today’s modern gaming world,” said Garcia. “After reviewing the initial concept, I felt that the face had more of a feline direction. I wanted this to appear more dog-like as the deity is described.”
Garcia rounded out the cheeks, squared the nose, and added rounder eyes, maintaining Xolotl’s canine attributes while staying faithful to the original concept.
The rest of the guns also correspond to an Aztec god. The Phantom represents Quetzalcoatl (Creation), the Bucky is Huitzilopochtli (Sun and War), and the Judge is Tezcatlipoca (Night Sky).
The face of each god sits at the back of each weapon, gleefully leering at the player.
“We worked closely with our Latin American office to decide on the faces for each gun and to find unique color palettes that best represent each weapon’s deity,” said Sammi Pedregon, Art Outsource Supervisor on Valorant.
Finally, the melee skin was based on the Aztec sun stone and a Macuahuitl, a historical Aztec wooden club with obsidian stones embedded as blades.
The team ran into several challenges transforming the initial concept into a 3D model. “In our first batches of the weapons, the faces, in particular, would look really lopsided, small, or uneven compared to the rest of the details of the weapon,” said Pedregon.
This meant that they had to rework and adjust different sections of each weapon to match the same beautiful and intricate stonework seen in Aztec culture.
This isn’t the first time Riot has drawn on ancient myths and lore to design a weapon skin. The Sarmad skin bundle is inspired by Egyptian mythology, with each weapon similarly modeled after a different deity.
You can read the full blog here.