A sequel to the classic mod Team Fortress Classic
, itself based off of a mod for the original Quake
, Team Fortress 2
has exactly the kind of story elements a multiplayer-only shooter should have: interesting settings, awesome character classes that each have a distinct personality and can be easily recognized just by their silhouette,
and an Excuse Plot
that stays All There in the Manual
. Said Excuse Plot
, in its entirety, is "The other side is the enemy. You've been hired to shoot their asses off." For the average player, it really doesn't get any more complicated than that. Crack that Manual open, though, and it's a different story ...Team Fortress 2
is about a group of average, everyday, working-class mercenaries
. Some of them work for the heroically-evil
demolition company Reliable Excavation & Demolition (RED), founded by Redmond Mann; some work for the evilly-heroic
Builders League United (BLU), a construction company founded by Redmond's twin brother
, Blutarch. Both MegaCorps
are fronts for two opposing intelligence organizations, which each control one-half of the world's governments. Worryingly, both organizations are both given combat intel by the same Administrator
, who supplies them with weapons provided by Mann Co. (a company which the twins' father left to the Australian Hale family
), which is, itself in turn, a subsidiary of The Administrator's own company,
TFIndustries. The Administrator is heavily implied to be masterminding the entire conflict
, all in a Thanatos Gambit
by the brothers' deceased father as punishment for their imbecility. Other developments include Australium, a strange element mined in Australia that turns those exposed to it into manly geniuses, and Gray Mann, the long-lost third brother who's actually not a moron
It was released by Valve
in October 2007 as the multiplayer component of the Orange Box, which also includes Half-Life 2: Episode 2
. It is now also available as a separate retail product on all three of its platforms. However, because it was first announced in 1998, it was regarded as Vapor Ware
for the longest time.
Since multiplayer shooter games have a tendency to devolve into slapstick and comedy even when they're ostensibly a realistic military game, the Team Fortress 2
developers decided to cut the middleman and make their game a living cartoon. The environments and music have a sixties spy movie theme to them, and the characters look like they stepped out of a very violent Pixar
movie. Both RED and BLU teams use the same models, with only Palette Swapping
to show team affiliation. The characters were intentionally designed to be distinctive as possible, from visual appearance to voice acting, even giving each class its own distinctive accent, making it easy to identify another player's class, current weapon, and team affiliation in short order. Maps are likewise designed for easy navigation, with RED and BLU having different construction philosophies (BLU incorporate concrete and steel; RED with wood, brick and sheet metal) and being textured primarily in their respective colors.
There are seven basic gameplay types so far: Control Point
, Capture the Flag
, King of the Hill
, Special Delivery
and Mann vs. Machine
- The Control Point gametype works on the premise of seizing territory to shift the focus of battle. Both teams compete for control points—large immovable metal pads — which must be captured by standing on them while no enemies are around. The team who forces their enemies into submission and captures all the points wins. In most control point maps, the points need to be captured in a linear fashion, but some allow a more open-ended approach.
- Variants include Territory Control, where the map is divided into mini-maps with two control points each, and Attack/Defense, where RED owns all the control points from the start, and wins if time runs out before the other side captures all the control points. This isn't always as simple for RED as it sounds, because they can't retake control points that BLU has managed to capture, plus BLU gets time extensions for every point they capture.
- Medieval Mode is an alternative Attack/Defense Control Point map set in a castle in the distant past (the Soldier angered a magician). What makes this mode special is that, like in Terminator, guns (and other weapons too futuristic for the 10th century, except grenades) can't be brought back in time. Thus, all characters can only fight with melee weapons (with the exception of arrows and the like). Unlike Terminator, clothes can be brought back in time because Robin Walker wanted hats to be in the game mode. He wants hats everywhere. Currently, there is only one official map in this mode.
- In TF2's take on Capture the Flag, the flag is a large briefcase containing "enemy intelligence," which trails papers behind it when an opposing player carries it. Unlike many other games, one can score while their own team's intel is not in the base, and touching dropped friendly intel won't immediately send it home. Instead, it must be defended in place until a timer elapses, during which any opponent can pick it up again.
- In Payload, a mine cart with a bomb on it sits on a track. Attacking players (again, virtually always BLU) crowd around the cart to push it along the track towards the enemy's base. The more players present, the faster they can push.note The cart must pass through several segments of the map for the attackers to reach the end point. If the attacking players fail to push the cart for 30 seconds, it will slowly move backwards or roll back down hills until it is pushed again or reaches the last checkpoint passed. The defenders win if they can manage to hold back the cart for a certain length of time, though unfortunately for them, the attacking team gets a time extension for every checkpoint reached, and the cart always contains a first level dispenser.
- Payload Race is a variation of Payload, introduced in the Sniper/Spy update, that is Payload times two: Both teams have a bomb, and the first team to get their bomb to the other team's base wins. Things get crazy when you factor in the little fact that each team can interfere with the other's progress. This has a tendency to stall if the two carts end up adjacent, as the lines tend to criss-cross and meet at bottlenecks and tunnels. Furthermore, unlike in standard Payload, there are no checkpoints and carts only roll backwards if unattended on a hill or ramp, which sends them to the bottom.
- Arena puts the two teams in a much smaller map, with little-to-no health packs or water, and no respawns. Last team standing wins. After one minute, a single control point in the center of the map activates, and the round ends when it's capped if the other team hasn't been killed yet. Fast, frantic fun.
- King of the Hill is arguably a variant of Arena, using similar small maps built around a central control point, where the teams work their way up to the middle of a map to a point that is initially locked. After a short amount of time, it becomes available and the team that captures it has to defend the point for 3 minutes. If the enemy team recaptures the point, the other's timer freezes; it counts down again if once again recaptured from that time. Unlike Arena, players can respawn.
- Special Delivery is a mode that could be considered a combination of Capture the Flag and Payload. The objective of this game is to transport a suitcase full of volatile Australium to the space shuttle of Poopy Joe, the all-American monkeynaut. Naturally, the enemy team wants to deliver the Australium as well in order to "make history", and you have to ride an incredibly slow elevator to reach Joe's rocket. Good luck. There is currently only one official map with this mode.
- Mann vs. Machine is a 6-player co-op mode similar to Killing Floor. Here, RED and BLU must team up and take down massive waves of robots (which drop money when defeated) in order to keep the robots from blowing up Mann Co.note The robot horde is armed with basic stock weaponry, but there are special robots with unique capabilities (mostly due to their loadout) and a giant robot every now and then.
In any game mode, a player has a chance to score a Critical Hit
on any given shot. The crit chance rises with the amount of damage dealt recently, to encourage aggressive playstyles, and melee weapons have a higher chance. For instance, all the comedic melee weapons have an elevated chance to crit, giving players a legitimate reason to choose them when they are in range. Some weapons replace random crits with the ability to crit or mini-crit when certain critera are fulfilled, but usually only for a short time (for example, the Scout's soda popper
, which charges up a "hype" bar while moving around and scores guaranteed mini-crits for a few seconds after the bar is filled).
All nine characters (In the following order: Heavy, Soldier, Engineer, Demoman, Scout, Sniper, Spy, Medic and Pyro) and one delicious food item (Sandvich, released between the Sniper and Spy videos) have also been introduced in comedic, masterfully-produced "Meet the Team" videos
.Meet the Team here.
From April 2008 to July 2010, Valve provided themed updates for each of the classes. Each update added (along with features such as new maps and gametypes) a class-specific set of achievements and alternate weapons that can be either unlocked through set numbers of these achievements or, as of the Sniper/Spy Update, given out at random intervals according to playtime
. Once the new weapons are unlocked, the player can choose between them and the original weapons in the Loadout menu. The Sniper/Spy Update also introduced Hats, which drop the same way but at a much lower rate. They used to not do anything but look cool
, but with the addition of the Mann Co. Store, five new hats were added that give players bonuses when used in conjunction with other weapons. Luckily, Bribing Your Way to Victory
doesn't work, as the weapons never have extreme damage bonuses and tend to have an equal number of disadvantages to advantages, thus depending on intelligent use to give major advantages (although they can change the roles of classes — for example, the Huntsman, a bow for the Sniper, allows him to work closer to the front lines), giving balanced, but still rewarding and enjoyable, gameplay.
Valve now regularly adds unannounced user-contributed hats and variant weapons. Now if only Microsoft would allow Valve to give all that to 360 players for free
. It's quite possible
, however, that it will be available on PS3
. On June 10, 2010, Valve released Team Fortress 2 for the Mac
, completing the conversion of all of the Orange Box to be Mac-compatible. In the usual Valve style, they released an accompanying short film
, a training mode
for new players, and an in-game pair of earbuds
As of June 23, 2011, the game is officially
There is also a Steam group made by (and populated with) Tropers,
in addition to weekly matches.
Feel free to drop in and join!
Now has its own drinking game
For manageability, Team Fortress 2 has separate pages for tropes in these categories, aside from the ones on top of the page:
- Audience, for tropes about community reactions.
- Supplemental Material, for tropes found in the "Meet the Team videos", the update pages and comics, The TF2 Blog posts, and other Team Fortress 2 work Valve produces outside of the game itself.
- Items, for tropes found in the loadouts of each class.
- Shout Outs.
Outside of those subcategories, Team Fortress 2 provides examples of the following tropes: