VALORANT animator reveals how they landed on the ‘best’ version of the dangerous alien-like Araxys skinline

The team wanted to ensure that eerie feeling was on full display.

Before VALORANTs Araxys skinline truly shined with its extraterrestrial, life-like animations, the games animation team played with various iterations of the physics to find what exactly could fit that out-of-this-world feeling of the thematic line of cosmetics.

Billy Vu Lam, principal animator on VALORANT at Riot Games, offered players a look at the creative process behind the creation of the Araxys skinline, which debuted in the in-game store alongside the start of Episode Six Act One. This scaly skinline includes skins for the Vandal, Bulldog, Operator, and Shorty, all of which appear to react to fire as if alive.

The original versions of the animations depicted the Araxys Vandal in its reload animation, with the idea of the sideplates moving individually having been cemented from the start. Originally, the sideplates did not extend from the gun diagonally and create sharp edges. Instead it was as if energy was slowly being sent back to the tip of the gun in a controlled manner.

However, Vu Lam and the team felt that the skin appeared to move too organically, away from the quintessential idea of the theme, thus leading to alterations that truly brought out the futuristic style of the gun. The new direction for the skinline, complete with the less-rigid movement style of the sideplates, can be seen in the animations for the guns reloads, shooting, and inspections.

Vu Lam also showcased the original references used to create the skinlines unique kill animation, of which he enacted himself. The initial concept always included the UFO-like tractor beam pulling the defeated enemy upwards, though it was enhanced with more visual effects to really sell the animation.

Vu Lam noted that, for skinlines such as Araxys, animators spend about two weeks on each weapon ensuring that the animations fit the quality of the thematic. However, other more complicated animations that involve more moving parts may take more time, noting some could take upwards of a month or so.

VALORANTs Araxys skinline is now available for purchase within the in-game shop via a bundle, while the gun skins can also be bought individually.

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