VALORANT's Neon 'a love letter' to Filipino, SEA gaming communities: Riot

·Senior Esports Producer
·3-min read
Neon, VALORANT's newest Filipino agent, is Riot Games'
Neon, VALORANT's newest Filipino agent, is Riot Games' "love letter" to a passionate gaming community in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia. (Photo: Riot Games)

Neon, the newest Filipina agent to arrive in VALORANT, has quickly become a favorite among players and fans from the Philippines and the rest of the world.

But for Riot Games, Neon is more than just a Filipino character. VALORANT's developer considers Neon as "a love letter" to a passionate and dedicated gaming community in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia that has been so embracing of VALORANT as well as other Riot titles.

“Neon is really a love letter to our amazing Filipino and wider Southeast Asian communities. We have been very touched by the outpouring of love and support from our players and fans for Neon over these past few weeks," Joel Guzman, Riot Games' Country Manager for the Philippines, said in a statement.

"We’ve always known our Filipino community to be one of the most passionate! So we’re delighted to be able to show them how important they are to us through Neon.”

Neon has enjoyed one of the warmest receptions of any VALORANT agent to date, with her reveal trailer racking up over 7 million views. That's the second highest trailer view count for all VALORANT agents outside of the launch roster, with Chamber's 15 million views topping the list.

Riot did its fair share of hyping up Neon, of course. The developer collaborated with Filipino-Australian singer-songwriter, Ylona Garcia, with the latter lending her original song, 'Entertain Me,' as the background track of Neon's agent trailer.

Riot also worked with leading Filipino urban streetwear brand, TeamManila, to produce the custom ‘Team Manila x VALORANT // Neon Collection’ swag kits, which included a Neon-inspired basketball jersey, hoodie, bucket hat, designer water bottle and wristband.

Team Manila x VALORANT // Neon Collection (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)
Team Manila x VALORANT // Neon Collection (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)

“Neon is a landmark moment in VALORANT history that reflects Riot’s commitment to creating truly meaningful player experiences. We are thrilled that VALORANT’s cast of agents now includes a Southeast Asian representative from the Philippines that players around the world can engage with,” said Justin Hulog, General Manager of Southeast Asia, Riot Games.

Vanille Velasquez, who voiced both Neon and new League of Legends champion Zeri, said in an interview with Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia that the representation being given by both characters to Filipinos around the world "makes a statement."

“I know how much [the release of Neon and Zeri] means for Filipino gamers because I am a Filipino gamer. I grew up playing video games and growing up, I didn’t see a lot of Filipinos in the games that I play, it was very rare if any. And for games as huge as League of Legends and VALORANT to add a game [character] like this is. I think that makes a statement,” she said.

That statement is what Vanille thinks is the most important line that both Neon and Zeri say in the game: “I belong here. We Belong Here.”

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