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Riot Games announced today that Split is being removed from the competitive and unranked VALORANT map rotation indefinitely. With the announcement of the new Portuguese map Pearl, set in an underwater dome, the studio has decided to stick with seven maps in the pool for now.

Split out, VALORANT welcomes Pearl

With Act 5 around the corner, Riot Games held a livestream with the developers where they went into a host of new features, including the addition of Pearl and the removal of Split. With Pearl coming in, level designer Joe Lansford explained the studio wanted to stick to seven maps in the pool, mentioning a “sweet spot for variety and mastery” to allow for deeper playbooks for professional and higher-ranked teams, rather than having to learn an overwhelming number of maps. Keeping new players in mind was also part of the thought process, where they won’t be overloaded with too many maps to learn on top of the rest of the game.

Lansford went on to explain that they spoke to a host of people, including professional players and organizations, the esports team and the competitive team in order to come to the conclusion that seven maps was the sweet spot and that Split was the one to go.

As for why Split’s splitting from the rotation, Lansford said the general player base sentiment around the map’s role and age led the team to remove the map. Split has been a contested subject and various players and organizations were outspoken against it, both jokingly and seriously. Split has had a number of issues, most recently allowing players to reach unintended spots near the ceiling in A Heaven, which led to Riot temporarily disabling the map . Lansford did note that it is not permanently gone and will come back someday, perhaps with changes, and that it remains available in custom games and other modes.

VALORANT will say goodbye to Split starting June 22, when Pearl will also make its debut.