From the one-of-a-kind Elderflame bundle to the dark Reaver collection, Valorant weapon skins run the gamut from science fiction to high fantasy. However, not all skins are created equal – some bundles are cheaper and are released without the over-the-top finishers and fancy variants that fans have come to love and expect.

The Valorant community has also been known for being pretty vocal about the skins it likes and doesn’t like, snubbing certain skins for what they perceive as a lack of effort in their designs.

Valorant Associate Art Director Sean Marino has now shed some light on what exactly goes on behind the scenes during the design process, explaining why not all weapon skins come packed to the brim with special effects.

His comments come in response to 100 Thieves’ CEO Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag’s criticism of the recently leaked space-themed Endeavour skin bundle, which does not have any variants or finishers.

Why not all Valorant weapon skins come with finishers and variants

Valorant Gaia's Vengeance Skin Bundle
Credit: Riot Games

The reason for the difference between Valorant weapon skins is simple. Riot’s shooter still has a relatively small cosmetics team compared to other games and it has to utilize them as efficiently as it can. If Riot were to add all the effects it could to every single skin line, each collection would take much longer to release, according to Marino.

To put things in perspective, the new Gaia’s Vengeance collection was delayed by an entire year so the team could add effects, custom audio, and colored variants. It even became a meme on the team that it would never be released because of the multiple delays.

“The fact of the matter is, anything, and everything, can always be more. We have to make tradeoffs,” Marino admitted.

“If we poured 150 percent into everything, the team would burn out, skins would take a lot longer to release, and everything would be insanely expensive. Nobody wins in that world.”

Marino also revealed several ideas the team had for many popular skin lines that didn’t make it into the final release. For example, they had wanted an alien abduction finisher for the UFO-themed Gravitational Uranium Neuroblaster collection, and fiery effects for the Lunar New Year Tigris skins.

They also originally wanted the Elderflame Frenzy to be a baby dragon that players could pet, where the dragon would even nip playfully at players’ fingers.

“Our team is incredibly passionate and pours their heart into everything we do, be it ‘top-tier’ or not,” Marino wrote. But bringing a weapon skin to life is a far more complicated process than just “slapping a camo on a gun” or selecting “a simple color from a wheel”.

That’s because the team isn’t just made up of designers. It comprises artists, quality assurance, producers, engineers, marketing, strategy, audio, and more, according to Marino, which means there are multiple moving parts that have to come together to bring an idea to fruition.

He ended with an appeal for more constructive dialog about what players want to see in their cosmetics. “We always listen, we always take the feedback, and we always try to improve,” he said.

You can read Marino’s complete response on Twitter here.

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