Chinese video game giant, NetEase, has just revealed a trailer for their mobile first-person shooter named Project M, which looks and sounds strikingly similar to Valorant to the point that many fans are wondering if this is just a straight-up rip-off.
Valorant's distinctive visual art style separates the game from many other popular shooters while simultaneously making the game both visually appealing and relatively undemanding in terms of system requirements, which allows the game to be played even on older PCs.
This type of art style is also fairly popular for mobile games, as it is clean, easily readable and supported by a vast range of devices. And that's no coincidence, as Riot confirmed a few months ago that Valorant is coming to mobile.
The alleged Valorant rip-off mobile game, currently named Project M, has entered closed beta today, accompanied by a short gameplay trailer, which quickly got the attention of Valorant players.
The reason being is not just that the games look similar, but because it seems that Project M has "borrowed" a bit too many elements from Valorant to the point that it is easier to talk about what is not taken from the game instead of what it has.
What is Project M, the alleged Valorant clone?
Project M is a free-to-play tactical hero shooter game developed by NetEase, one of the biggest video game companies in China, which is, amongst other things, responsible for operating Blizzard's games in the country.
If you take a look at the trailer above, you will see that the game shares many similarities with Valorant. It's not something where we could say that it was "inspired" by Valorant, rather a number of Project M's features and assets look like they have been taken straight from the game itself.
From the game's visual style to the UI design, fonts, sounds, and even the upbeat futuristic music, everything seems like something clearly designed to mimic Valorant.
And while the layouts of maps we've seen in some of the gameplay videos seem different compared to Valorant's maps, they are still using almost identical elements in terms of maps' visual identities.
Character design is different, but many of them are based on the abilities of the existing Valorant characters, one character sports a bow that spots enemies ala Sova, while another can drop smokes from the sky like Brimstone.
A number of other elements of the game, like death and reload animations, and various audio effects, are also practically indistinguishable from those we know from Valorant.
Even the naming convention is similar to the one Riot Games likes to use, as Valorant was named Project A before it was officially revealed.
Tencent, one of the biggest Chinese technology companies, owns Riot Games, and NetEase is one of their biggest competitors in the Chinese digital entertainment market, so it will be interesting to see how will Tencent react to this situation and if they are planning on taking legal steps to protect their IP, for now, its just another curio from the world of mobile gaming.