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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Team Fortress 2 Setting
    open/close all folders 

    Loose Canon – The Grand Family Feud 
BLU team subsidiaries
  • Aperture Science
  • Apple Computers
  • Sears
  • Wal-Mart
  • Pepsi
  • Lowe's
  • Culver's
  • The Bilderberg Group
  • Burger King
  • Allstate
  • Best Buy
  • MI6/FBI
  • Hasbro
  • 4chan
  • SCP Foundation
    • This may explain the Halloween bosses-they're SC Ps. Well, HHH and MONOCULUS! are. Merasmus was simply their caretaker.

RED team subsidiaries
  • Black Mesa
  • Dell Computers (Dell’s grandfather is Radigan Conagher)
  • JCPenneys
  • Target
  • Coca-Cola
  • Home Depot
  • Five Guys
  • The Trilateral Commission
  • McDonalds
  • State Farm
  • Circuit City
  • KGB/CIA
  • Mattel
  • Reddit

Mann Manor was Blutarch's attempt to cut out the middle-man and assassinate his brother, and if TF2 had a plot, this would have been the climax.
It's clear from the view in RED's base that this is Redmond's manor, and that he's in a similar state to Blutarch. It took over 100 years, but Blutarch finally caught on to how Redmond also has an immortality machine. He realized that waiting was pointless and that going for the land itself resulted in stalemates. So why go for the actual land when you can just kill the guy who owns it and buy the land for a low price (Considering that it's pretty shitty land with no real resources)? He sends in BLU to overtake the Manor and kill Redmond right then and there. BUT Redmond anticipated that Blutarch would realize he too has an immortality machine. So RED is on guard at the manor, ready to shoot down anything wearing blue. The Horsemann, being Silas Mann's Spirit, can be explained as Silas not wanting to take his nephews' bullshit anymore and deciding to break both of their toys (Kill their mercenaries). RED and BLU make a silent "Try to kill him, but we'll still shoot you" truce because the Horsemann is purple. A wild card to the both of them.

Respawn...
  • Medic!: Instead of cloning,'respawning' in TF2 means you are just patched up by an off-field medic, while he ubercharges your stopped heart, explaining the 20-second wait. Switching classes means that you call in the nearest heavy, medic, pyro or what have you, and it still takes 20 seconds.
  • Nanomachines: Players' bodies disappear because they're actually teleported back to the spawn and revived through the use of nanites. This insta-heal requires immense amounts of power; the respawn timer is actually the time it takes to charge up the teleportation field to teleport your corpse back to the spawn. As for class switches, it's like the above: you call in a nearby Scout/Soldier/Engineer/whatever, and they both put away and grab their weapons. Teams have different root paths for Sentry identification and resupply door identification (to prevent the other team from spawncamping them). Class powerups and various abilities, in-game and in-story, are easily explained by nanites: The Demoman's full depth perception with only one eye and Scout's double-jump come from the same place.
    • The Newell-Who postulate: Elaborating on Gaben's own new who theory, Radigan and/or Engineer and/or Medic may have created nanites capable of being programmed with any genetic material given them. These nanites were injected into all the mercs, and, on death, each merc can regenerate From a Single Cell. As on Doctor Who, their minds and memories could be stored seperately.
    • The "Two Cities" Mann Vs. Machine introduced the Medic's new ability to revive dead team mates. Presumably the "Reanimator" devices are actually kickstarting devices for the nanites that require a Medigun beam to activate. Once activated, the Reanimator signals the newly-recharged nanites to revive and/or reconstruct the dead mercenary.
  • There's no official "respawn system": The Soldier was just very generous with the "Kill Me Come Back Stronger" pills he took from Merasmus. That, or his teammates "borrowed" said pills in the same way he "borrowed" them from his roommate.

tr_walkway is the RED team's training mode
While the BLU team's training map is small and strict, the RED team's training map is large and open-ended.

The teams were a package deal
At some point in time, some or all of the Red (and separately the Blu) team members met, either all at once or gradually inducting people into the group, and decided to team up to collectively bulldoze the competition, maximize profits, and make them the world's most badass mercenary team. That, or they stay together after the war is over.
  • Semi-jossed, Semi-confirmed: Mannco got to them first.

Everyone is related to/somehow associated with the previous generation
Either as descendants or proteges of the original. Well, we already know Dell's father was their Engineer...
  • The Engineer update hints at this — there's a photo of the TFC team dressed in 1940's-era clothing hidden in a corner somewhere.

The Medic and the Engineer are both Sparks
I mean, look at Meet the Medic and tell me he wasn't spending half of it in The Madness Place. The Engineer isn't as obvious, but he still cut off his own hand to replace it with a robotic one.
  • This is now this troper's personal canon.
  • Demoman is also a spark, but his alcoholism has acted as a inhibitor.

Little Jack from the Christmas comic will grow up into a badass mercenary
He's already seen the BLU team in action, had a conversation with Spy, and killed a man. Perhaps he'll grow up to be a hired gun, even a Spy specifically!
  • Expanding on this theory, the kids from the Merasmus/Monoculus comic will also become mercenaries, inspired by the gifts of tremendous amounts of cash/delicious life-affirming nicotine/human teeth. If we're adding all the kids in the canon, these girls will become Pyros.

How payload and control points work
To move it forward, an operator (determined by fingerprint scan) simply presses a "forward" button. Each time the button is pressed, the cart moves forward a bit. During payload matches, the characters each remember to press the payload button every second or so, which, added together, causes the cart to move forward. The Scout, being the hyperactive type he is, tend to jab the button much more often, increasing the speed at which he can move the cart. When the cart is near an "enemy", it does not respond to commands in order to avoid accidents (explaining why it stops when an enemy is nearby). If the cart has not been given orders for some time, it moves back to a "safe spot", to avoid damage or accidents until further orders. The way a control point works is similar, but instead involves pressing in a series of numbers to lock control and access to a particular group. The scout, being more hyperactive, is able to do this more quickly, and the point also "logs out" after a time to avoid accidents, identity theft, and such.

Both teams work by using a Clone-O-Matic with the same nine mercenaries.
The reason so many of them are killed, but can strangely remember everything they did a few seconds prior to being blown up by a crit rocket, is because both RED and BLU have their own set of machines that clone the mercenaries with their data. Every time they die, the Clone-O-Matic takes some time to recall the data of the person lost, to then clone him again so he can do better. Because, given the mental state of the nine demented mercenaries, they don't have an exactly sane survival instinct... The mercs may know damn well that they're clones. Redmond hired the original Heavy, Medic, Sniper, Spy, and Demoman. Blutarch hired the original Engineer, Soldier, Scout, and Pyro. After being hired, but before being sent to work, the Administrator approached each merc and offered them a substantial pay increase if they allowed themselves to be cloned. Each one accepted, and the Mann brothers hired the clones to fill the other class ranks. Since the brothers never actually see the battles themselves, each thinks they have the “Original” and would be shocked to find two of each merc running around on the battlefield. Since the mercs gave their full consent to be cloned, they don’t act too surprised if they meet the same class on the other team.
  • This, in turn, explains why both RED and BLU teams look exactly the same. The Administrator may have chosen them, and both Redmond and Blutarch wanted these men for their respective operations. So instead of hiring more mercenaries, they just clone them every time they go to fight.
  • This also explains why would there be more than one character of a class in one game: Sometimes the machine mucks up, and ends up creating endless waves of Scouts, hordes of Demonic Spies, or a brickwall of Heavy Weapon Guys. It also explains why in the Meet the Team videos the characters kick so much ass. You can't create clones without an original strip of DNA - those ones we see in the Meet the Team videos are the originals, and as such possess many times the ass kicking power. This would also explain Pyro's changing (sex and) gender on the class picking screen- unlike with the other mercenaries; the cloning machine doesn't bother to specify the amount of X chromosomes each time because it doesn't matter.
  • Additionally, the DNA was supplied to both RED and BLU by a third company, Genetic Resource Networks (GRN). This explains how both teams have the DNA.
  • Alternately, only one team has cloning capability: BLU. Unbeknownst to RED, Administrator has DNA samples of the entire RED team on file, and is testing beta clone versions of them — Team BLU — against RED. The BLUs are currently full of bugs, but Admin's ultimate goal is not merely to create weapons — it's to perfect these prototypes, creating a team of genetic supersoldier templates available to TF Industries' highest bidder... rendering RED expendable. Her partner in crime is, of course, the only original member of BLU: Dell Conagher, world's greatest genetic engineer... and double-agent for the RED Team.
  • Redmond and Blutarch will be cloned. Having been killed while formulating a plan that was close-yet-far from doing so, the rival companies, or the mercs working for them will finish the job.
  • Alternately, Magic is involved. On Helen's direction, a spell from Merasmus split the mercs in two, likewise splitting their souls. They can't ever truly die… not that they'd want to. From a fanfic.
  • Alternately: All the characters of the same class are twins/triplets/quads, identical strangers, etc.

The real BLU team is actually completely different from the RED team.
...and what we're seeing of the "enemy" in the "Meet the Team" videos and the game itself is actually a simulation that RED is using to train its up and coming team. Granted, through the unfortunate like-mindedness of Redmond and Blutarch — or, more probably, the Announcer's, being CEO of both companies, own meddling — BLU is probably doing the same thing with their own set of nine. Seeing as RED is portrayed as the ever so slightly more "heroic", it makes sense that they're the ones being exhibited. To clarify:
  • The RED team, with all their personality, are actual humans, and, more importantly, the originals. The BLU team that is shown is a virtual copy of RED so that they can practice with at least somebody that is their equal — thus explaining why only a simple colour swap differentiates the two.
  • This pretty much explains why none of the originals have actually died... yet. There's no real threat to the RED team, as of how much the audience knows thus far.
    • This may not be the case. Before the "hostile takeover", a RED and BLU Scout and Soldier were featured in the comics. Barring differences in art style, Each looks exactly the same as their counterpart.
    • Alternatively, the above theory about the "Meet the Team" videos and the game being a training simulation is true, but through sheer coincidence, everyone on the real BLU team still looks like everyone on the RED team. This BLU team has its own training simulation…which just happens to be identical to the "Meet the Team" videos with the colors reversed (and maybe the directions mirrored).

The characters in game
Are all clones of nine real mercs. More specifically, the ones you see in the Valve comics and movies are originals; and anytime you see one of them in game, or BLU and RED characters are together and treated as though the colors actually make a difference in their personality, it's a clone. The Administrator hired them and used them as templates for Redmond and Blutarch's pointless battles, keeping the original nine for she and Saxton to use when needed. Perhaps Australium or some physically/mentally altering chemical is used in the making of the clones, causing them to be less intelligent, more whacky, and overall noticeably different from the originals, explaining how they act in game and why you're controlling what they do on screen.

Meet The Team is canon. Team Fortress 2 itself is the Game of the Movie.
It isn't Cutscene Power to the Max that's being exhibited in the promotional videos. The videos are the actual story, as of yet not fully realized, and Team Fortress 2 is an adaptation. Adaptation Decay was necessary to keep the game fun and balanced. Really now, the sheer skill of these guys indicates that if you went up against that team, you'd be utterly screwed. Everyone else is merely imitating them in order to try and match them, thus why you can choose your own classes. They are a bunch of fellows with nothing to lose, banding together for a common cause... A cause which nobody has a bloody clue about. Thus the application of The Worf Effect to the Heavy in the non-Heavy-focused videos is justified, since only the featured class is "played" by the real one while the ones getting slaughtered are these impostors. The "real" Heavy can tank all those shots and doesn't afraid of the Scout, etc. Alternately: The Meet the Team videos feature the originals; all the player-controlled characters are clones. They're given the signature equipment and skills of the originals, but they lack the experience and general competence of the originals. Mostly.
  • Or the BLU Heavy could just be the RED Heavy acting as one, if the theory about the videos being RED's corporate propaganda is to be believed.
  • The BLU spy seems to be aware of this: "if you managed to kill them, I assure you they were not like me - and nothing, NOTHING like the man loose inside this building." Similarly, the RED Demo states that "If I were a BAD Demoman, I wouldn't be sitting here, discussin' it with ya, now would I?"
    • Confirmed. Meet The Team is canon, as well as the comics, and it's not propaganda, although that is Miss Pauling's cover story, at first. The Administrator is spying on RED in case they decide to get uppity... and by the looks of things, they are starting to get there. The videos were directed by a pompous little fellow with grand ideas, who had a convenient "accident" courtesy of Miss Pauling. The Administrator, meanwhile, is looking for new directors...
    • Related Theory The canon teams are on the startup screens. There are officially only 9 mercenaries hired. This splits the 9 between 2 teams. Red is Pyro, Medic, Heavy, and Demo. Blue is Engineer, Soldier, Scout, and Sniper. Spy is… complex…
      • Related Theory: The BLU Team is Screwed. In Meet the Spy, the BLU Spy is killed by friendly fire, and it's implied that the BLU Scout was killed offscreen. Based on their dialogue, it's possible that they were very nearly, if not equally, as skilled as their RED counterparts who star in the Meet the Team videos. I know that doesn't explain the BLU Scout, since he's actually the RED Spy, but think about it: would he really jump into that sort of situation with no prior knowledge of his persona? Odds are, the BLU Scout really was competent enough to kill "dime-a-dozen backstabbing scumbags" with ease, lending credibility to his skills. And without him or the BLU Spy in play, that makes the odds 7:9 in RED's favor at best. That's assuming the Medic and Pyro have representatives equally as awesome as those classes that have already been introduced.
      • Related Theory: All of the BLU Team members seen on the startup screen (and outside of the videos) will eventually defect to RED. We can see hints of this in Engie’s Comic and Meet the Team video. Dell is perfectly willing to go behind his employer’s back For Science! and More Gun… and did you ever wonder why a RED Engineer was sitting in front of a BLU pickup and drinking the other team’s beer? Here’s a hint: Dell didn’t die. He just changed shirts. By extension, Scout, Sniper, and Soldier’s “Meet the” videos take place after the Spy uses his Dead Ringer to help fake Scout’s, Sniper’s, Jane’s, and Tavish’s (from the WAR update) death. The Administrator won’t notice because all mercenaries look alike to her, Miss Pauling won’t dare to protest… and the boys will eventually figure out that they’re being played for saps… and when that happens… God help TF Industries.
      • Partially Confirmed, mostly Jossed. Helen has the Mercs by the neck, so they currently can't do much against her that the U.S. Government isn't doing a better job of. Hale, however, doesn't care whether they're in construction or demolition, so long as they're red-blooded and willing to kill Gray's robots. And judging by Dell's nervous expression when Miss Pauling mentions the robots, Dell did, in fact, change shirts.
      • Related Theory: The Team will eventually become immortal. Let's face it, as it stands now, our heroes have little love for their bosses, nor do they have any reason to have any. For either of the Mann brothers to win the land-grab, some of the team will have to die. And it's recently been revealed to the members of RED that Admin will go after the people and things they love if they don't fall in line; she, of course, couldn't give a crap about their safety or that of their loved ones. That's quite a lot of trouble for their paychecks... but there is a way the team's little problem could be solved. They could enlist the help of Dell, Medic, and their new improved life-extender machine, guaranteed to make it's users not only immortal, but eternally youthful, and absolutely, positively inde-friggin'-structable. Or, if the hint in "Meet The Medic" about BLU's reserves is viable, the two men could secretly perfect Soul Transference. Having done so, the team could not only financially destroy the Manns, but the Admin as well, draining their bosses' bank accounts as they demand increasingly higher salaries for their excellent, fantastically fun jobs... ensuring that they never stop playing the best game ever.
      • Related Theory: Monday Night Combat is actually Team Fortress 2's world in the future. TFIndustries products have been prominently featured, and one has to wonder why... In Team Fortress 2, two corporations, RED and BLU, wage a secret war to control the world. In Monday Night Combat, the world has become a Consumerist Dystopia where people are entertained by a deadly sport that only has two known teams, a red team known as the Hotshots and a blue team known as the Icemen. What none of the teeming masses know is that Monday Night Combat and the entire world are controlled by the perpetually rejuvenating... A. Administrator, B. Miss Pauling, or C. ...cabal of nine mysterious (yet very familiar) men, known only as the board of directors of TF Industries.

Team Fortress 2, Half-Life, and Counter-Strike are all video games in the Left 4 Dead universe.
  • IN the Left 4 dead comics, Louis has a Heavy action figure and makes statements like "I feel just like Gordon Freeman" when he picks up a crowbar, or "this is just like counterstrike" when he picks up an Uzi. Granted that the Left 4 Dead 'verse is more realistic than Valve's other games, this might imply the more fantasy/sci-fi ones are games within that universe, kinda like how Kill B Ill would be a movie within a movie in Pulp Fiction.

The Christmas cards are canon
Every Christmas (Smissmas?), the teams, perhaps coerced by their Engineers, call a truce between RED and BLU for the day and celebrate it together. The Administrator doesn't know about this, which is why it keeps on happening, though it usually doesn't last more than half a day before they start trying to kill each other again. This guess incidentally means Sniper actually knows how to knit jumpers.
  • This seems oddly similar to the Christmas Truce in the first year of WW1.
  • Alternatively, the Christmas cards happened when the teams were all fired, then re-hired to fight the robots.

The Control Points are actually network hubs for ARPANET
While the time frame isn't precise (TF2 takes place in 1968 and ARPANET wasn't first online until 1969), one could think that the reason you're trying to activate all these control points to "win" a control point match is so that your side can control the flow of information on this budding Internet prototype, ensuring a distinct edge over the opposing side once the 21st century rolls around.
  • This explains why, in the time setting of the game, the internet is "a thing that exists!"

In the Team Fortress 2 universe, Howard Hughes is a Jarate master.
Which is why he stockpiled bottles of his own piss. Maybe using milk bottles instead of mason jars is an American variant of the martial art. Maybe he learned of Jarate in the saw the same ad Sniper saw. Or maybe he invented it and taught it to fellow eccentric tycoon Saxton Hale.

Weird Al wrote CNR for the Charles Nelson Riley in the Team Fortress universe.

Zepheniah Mann decided the afterlife for his sons Blutarch and Redmond.
Just as Zepheniah Mann willed a curse that he would haunt those who used firearms over his burial grounds (KOTH Harvest's Halloween version), he decided the afterlife and fate of his sons in his last will and testament. In the new comic "Loose Canon," parts of the will are repeated on Page 4 ...
Zepheniah Mann's will: "To my layabout, brain defective sons, Blutarch and Redmond, I leave the greatest curse of all — partnership. What land I have purchased in this new world is to be split evenly between you both. You have wasted your lives bickering over nothing, and so I leave you dimwits something of consequence over which to feud."
If Zepheniah Mann managed to will himself as an immortal ghost to haunt those who desecrate his grave, what if he also managed to will Blutarch and Redmond a curse that, when both of them die, they will be sent to The Nothing After Death? They "wasted their lives fighting over nothing", so the only something they have, in this life or the next, is what Zepheniah Mann has willed to them. Consider this... what if Zepheniah didn't purchase any land in America? Or his use of "new world" was a self-aware reference to a different sort of real estate? "New World" is an old fashioned name for heaven. Zepheniah, being both reprehensible and a ghost, never earned a place in it, nor could he have purchased any. Later in the comic, Blutarch says this to the BLU Engineer (Dell Conagher):
Blutarch Mann: Every day I'm dead a little longer, Mister Conagher. I have seen the other side. There is nothing there. FIX. THIS. MACHINE.
Zepheniah gave the boys his afterlife. He gave them hell.

The mysterious man in the last will and testament is the founder of SpyTech.
When the backstory started popping up (Zephaniah Mann arc, Demoman/Soldier War arc, etc.), SpyTech just stopped being mentioned. Zephaniah left him nothing material; but all information Mann had at the time, ranging from predictions on the latest trends to the state of backroom politics, etc.. Using this information, the mysterious man manages to build a company out of nothing. It can also be inferred from this theory that the SpyTech founder is aware the entire RED/BLU war is a sham, and is using the war to further his own goals. As to why he's so secret, I have two reasons: deception and manipulation. Firstly, he values secrecy on the matter above all else. Helen only has part of the photograph (and, presumably, part of the will) that doesn't mention Founder. He had it partly erased to prevent anyone finding the secret. Secondly, he is secretly manipulating the entire war to profit from the purchases accumulated by RED and BLU, which he probably owns anyway. The whole war is drawn out by TF Industries, which is being manipulated by SpyTech into prolonging the war. Put short, SpyTech is the actual force driving the events of Team Fortress 2, and the founder is using an improbably convoluted plan designed for manipulating the events of Team Fortress 2 to his own gain. Expect to see him in the story later.
  • Related: The Unseen Man Is....
    • Related to the Scout, Soldier, Heavy, Demoman, Sniper, Spy, or Medic
    • Related to Miss Pauling
    • The Pyro (Or the Pyro's ancestor)
    • Radigan Conagher
    • G-Man
    • Gray Mann
    • Cave Johnson’s father.
    • No one of particular interest (Valve is just trolling us)
    • Abraham Lincoln

Each of the olde!Team is a famous person from that time period.
According to the Official Wiki, it goes like this:
  • Scout - Billy the Kid
  • Soldier - Stonewall Jackson
  • Pyro - Abraham Lincoln
  • Demoman - Alfred Nobel
  • Heavy - John Henry
  • Engineer - Nikola Tesla
  • Medic - Sigmund Freud
  • Sniper - Davy Crockett
  • Spy - Fu Manchu
    • Confirmed: The 1850s team are canon, and both sides were exactly made up of those nine men.

Australium, that miracle gravel!
  • Prolonged exposure to Australium causes people to become Australian.This is Radigan Congaher before using Australium. This is him after using Australium. The reason that the Sniper doesn't act Australian is that he isn't in constant contact with Australium.
    • That, or the Sniper is required to shave and keep his body hair hidden at all times as a clause in his contract, or otherwise his rugged handsomeness would just turn the battles into "Spooning With Sniper".
  • Or, Sniper's bloodline has developed a recessive immunity to Australium. Think about it: of all the Australians we've been shown, Sniper and his parents are the only ones who haven't been testosterone poisoned. The mutation could be limited strictly to Sniper's family, or it could include all the families that come from the same region of Australia. One could also assume that most, if not all, of the Australium has been mined from the area, due to its inhabitants being deemed unable to "fully utilize it".
  • Related: Australium, while enhancing natural intelligence, depletes common sense. If you notice how Radigan had gotten better with his inventions, yet cut off his entire hand, this might mean that Australium, while making you more badass, muscle-bound, and smart, will make you have poorer judgement in life. This is why Australia is the most technological country on the planet, yet they decide their king with a boxing match against a kangaroo.
  • Related: The Australium in the Golden Wrenches and Saxxys is actually Bestralium. The Announcer is hoarding the real Australium. See here for this guy's theory.
    • Related: The reason the Mann Brothers life-extender machines perpetually malfunctioned is because they've been running on Bestralium. Radigan was completely aboveboard with the construction of his machines. Emily and her descendants were not so honest regarding their upkeep.
  • Gravel is actually unrefined Australium.
  • Australium is actually a Magic Meteor Thunderbolt Iron. Gray wants it so he can contact his real Mommy and Daddy, so they can invade the crap out of the planet.
  • Due to Bette's Australium exposure during her pregnancy, Redmond and Blutarch are not actually twins, but one original, and one clone. Helen knows this, and has refined a technique to make an Australium-powered Clone-O-Matic.

The Mann's Immortality Machine was the prototype for the Medi-Gun and Ubercharge.
The machine directly lengthens life, and upon 'reviving', the 'victim' ends up with color-coded glowing eyes much like the official 'Ubercharged' Avatars from Valve.

Helen The Administrator is…
  • A dealer of crits: The Announcer controls both sides, this much is certain. So it stands to reason that she has control over the conditions in which they fight. Crits are allocated to individuals through chips in their weaponry, inserted after the company receives the weapons from Mann Co., that is activated at whim by the Announcer whenever she thinks it would be funny, given to the entire team for a short time as a reward for capturing the Intelligence and as a reward for winning at the end of a round. They can be given out permanently, but the Announcer seems to want permanent, bloody battles, so she has no reason to do that. The Engineer has a basic idea of how to reverse-engineer this technology, having figured out how to give his weapon a limited amount of critical hits with the Frontier Justice, and the Medic has been given a weapon that lets him choose when to get crits, in a limited fashion, but apart from that, the technology to give weapons crits rests solely in the hands of whoever the Announcer works for. How else would two corporations be able to take over the entire planet?
  • The granddaughter of Zephaniah Mann and Elizabeth, through her daughter Emily and either of the Mann brothers. Elizabeth and Zephaniah’s relationship may have been based on more than mere trust. Elizabeth’s presumed daughter Emily, seen here bribing Radigan with Australium, seems to have reaped the benefits of this alliance… in more ways than one. Though its canonicity is hotly debated, a rather… not safe for work portrait of Emily can be found in Redmond Mann’s current residence, Mann Manor. Winning her attentions may have been another point of contention for the boys. A disturbing question remains… why would Emily want to damn the two men to an Ironic Hell through bribing Radigan to sabotage the machines? The boys may have toyed with her affections far too much… but there’s yet another disturbing question to answer. This theory has, until now, been built on the supposition that Emily was Elizabeth’s daughter from a previous relationship. But what if Emily had blood ties to the Mann fortune? If Emily was the illegitimate daughter of Zephaniah by his maidservant, she would have had no sure guarantee to his fortune, a burning desire to see two full-blooded but unsuitable heirs punished, and an utterly insane drive to do whatever it took to utterly destroy the both of them. Judging by the looks of things, Emily infected her daughter with that thirst for vengeance as well.
    • Possibly Jossed. If anything, Emily may be the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Darling and Barnabus Hale...
      • Alternately, Elizabeth is Helen’s Aunt, thus removing some of the incestuous connotations of the above theory.
      • Alternately, Helen is Emily, see below.
  • Using the feud as a cashcow for TF Industries and its subsidiaries. RED and BLU may own most of the world, but TF Industries is based in 1960’s Washington, and is thusly the weapons supplier to one of the world’s biggest superpowers… in this particular Alternate History, it's the uncontested biggest. Redmond and Blutarch are clearly willing to pay Helen big money to see their side win, thus furthering her ultimate goal of draining their fortune while seeing them suffer. Every weapon in the game — and I mean every weapon — is either owned or a product from TF Industries. The Spy gets his stuff from a branch of the company (scroll down), the Sniper learned Jarate from a mail order catalog from the same branch (note Saxton Hale, who is also present on the Mann Co. catalogue), and so on. Therefore, TF Industries stands to gain a lot of money from this conflict. Note, also, that it's Team Fortress Industries, and not another, more mundane weapons company. Therefore, the idea is to keep releasing new products to the poor saps, not only to find out what will work and what can eventually be incorporated into the military (not the teleporter, obviously), but to make money as frustrated Snipers pick up cleverly planted Jarate catalogs, and Engineers keep sending for replacement tools and materials. Logically, this war is therefore over absolutely nothing and TF Industries is slowly getting richer and richer.
  • Basically Confirmed, but it's even simpler than that. Taken together, RED and BLU don't own most of the world. They own ALL of it, and by extension, so does the Administrator (who just so happens to be the CEO of all three of the world's MegaCorps), for as long as she can keep the conflict going....
  • The person the third life-extender machine was built for. There's a damn good reason that Helen keeps getting Progressively Prettier each time we see her: She's actually Emily. Her life extender machine works a bit differently, because it only needs to be used every now and again, instead of her being attached to it all the time; Radigan actually built hers according to the proper specs. whether it's written in digits or words, that's a mighty long number of years to be stockpiling Australium...
    • Related: Helen is Emily is Elizabeth is Bette: Shortly after Elizabeth, known to her lover as "Bette", death by childbirth, a desperate Barnabus Hale used a pure infusion of miracle gravel to resurrect her, passing her off as a distant cousin. The Twins, dimly aware of the incredible power of australium, but not of what Barnabus used it for in particular, developed God-complexes and Oedipus-complexes alike. She has the third, and most effective, life-extender machine, commissioned to avoid the risks that come from direct Australium exposure. Gray Mann has a less-effective fourth.
  • ...Has been charged with preserving the state of the Union - The brothers' main point of contention was the American Civil War, Blutarch siding with the Union, Redmond the Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln, recognizing that the men's greed and malevolence would eventually threaten the world as well as the US, enlisted Emily to make sure that neither of the megalomaniacs could gain complete control of the world. He is the Unseen Man in the photograph.
  • Is supplying the Manns with Australium to ensure their immortality... and stave off the end of the world. If the Mann brothers actually died, it would almost be a guarantee that they'd either attempt to escape or conquer hell, leading an army of demons to destroy both earth and heaven. The Admin can't let that happen... Think of the profits that would be lost!
    • ...Has been charged with preserving the Safety of the Planet Earth. The purpose of the Forever War wasn't mere punishment or profit, though those were likely a definite bonus in Helen's estimation. The real purpose was to both create weapons of the highest caliber, and to genetically engineer/clone eighteen perfect idiots, all strong enough to beat back an Alien Incursion led by "Senator" Gray Mann. Helen, Miss Pauling, and those eighteen idiots were the only thing standing between Gray and Earth... that is, until Gray caught her in that hearing, leaving the members of Team Fortress nine men down... or all present and accounted for, depending on your point of view. Put very simply, the RED Team is and has always been exactly what its name implies.
  • Owns The Secret Diary: It contained her plans for whatever the 'Mv M' update is. The Pyro works for her, and was tasked with destroying any and all evidence, explaining the 'Incinerate' labels on the update comic, but someone fireproofed the diary to prevent it from being destroyed.
  • Is Miss Pauling's Grandmother, mother, aunt, etc. Helen's just so emotionally distant that she never calls her by name.
  • Is manipulating Gray. If Gray is Senator Gray, then Helen's commissioned Australium theft and subsequent "outburst" in court may have been a calculated attempt to goad him into attacking Mann Co. More money for her and Saxton! (Yay!) That, or she'll finally be rid of the man who constantly hits on her. (Yay!)

Re: Miss Pauling
  • Her given name is Marian(ne), or some variation, a reference to the fact that she's going among psychopaths and mad people. ("Why, Mary Ann!")
  • She's the long lost heir to the Mann Family Fortune: Pauling's a fake surname. Her real one is either Darling, "Hale," or Mann. She could also be related to the Unseen Man.
    • Related: Nepotism at Work Even a hypercompetent secretary like Miss Pauling would be forced to seek help from a relative to break through the thick glass ceiling of the assassination business, given the alternately patrician, sexist, and passive-aggressive atmosphere of the late nineteen-sixties workplace. There are plenty of people who could've given her a leg up:
      • The Mann Brothers may have promoted her to a position where she is essentially ineffectual in order to keep her out of the way.
      • Helen may have done the same for her, keeping tabs on a perceived threat to her empire and keeping her around out of a warped sense of affection. Pauling's and Helen's voices do sound similar.
      • ''Heavy" treats her like a daughter, which may literally be the case.
      • Soldier is also kind to her, and the look of sadness and disappointment on her face when confronted with a dose of his daily delusions may hint at a deeper sense of loss; in this case, Miss Pauling may be the one who helped hire him, in order to make sure that her unhinged but well-meaning dad was well provided for.
      • Scout's Mom might be Pauling's Mom too: If Miss Pauling isn't acquainted with her, she may be trying to become so. Her intense disgust at Scout's advances is not simply the average reaction to a Handsome Lech/Casanova Wannabe; she can't believe that that sleazebag is both her half-brother and attracted to her. UGH!
      • Spy may be Pauling's (a french name) father, but judging by their relationship, any help he gave her may only benefit him alone in the long run. Perhaps they had a better relationship in her youth, but she resents being raised and used as his Mole and/or Tykebomb.
      • Medic bears a passing resemblance to her, having similar dark hair and astigmatism. The name Pauling could be one he took on coming to the U.S.
      • She herself', though possibly related to any one of them, could have received negligible amounts of help from any of them, doing as much as she could on her own.
  • She's The Tenth Class: Miss Pauling killed the Director, a clear stand-in for the previous game's ever-loathed bystander. She's certainly a more than capable class to take his metaphorical place. She's even made a cameo in another class's movie, something the Tenth Class was rumored to do. She'll either be a class in her own right, or an intelligent A.I. that can wield a weapon as well as any merc. She'll even get her own "Meet The" video, implied to be filmed by either the Administrator, or the Mercs themselves. If the former, it will be darker and more intense than the previous films, and reveal a key secret about Miss Pauling. If the latter, it will be subject to stylistic suck, be shot more in the style of a home movie, and will flout the conventions of a traditional "Meet the Team" video
    • Bonus points if the later is done in a Covert Pervert manner, and doubly-so if it's being filmed by The Scout.
    • It would seem the theory for Scout is jossed as of Expiration Date-she just didn't know he was looking for a real relationship.

MERASMUS IS HERE!
  • Merasmus was originally intended to be a hired mercenary, but the Soldier decided to be spiteful. With the possible exception of the Pyro (and Heavy, if you consider his degree in Russian Lit. to be non-canon), the rest of the team has incredible potential outside of their mercenary work; and in some cases, hired because of this potential. In fact, historical evidence shows that this isn’t just a coincidence; prior teams have been composed of historical greats, as well. In this 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'-esque setup, where does Soldier, a lunatic who decided to go on a Nazi-killing rampage several years after World War Two ended, fit? The short answer, he doesn’t. Around the time the nine mercenaries were first being recruited, Soldier somehow caught wind that Merasmus was to be hired as a mercenary instead of him. Obviously quite frustrated with these circumstances, the Soldier then decides to commit the most glorious act of identity theft of the 1960’s, effectively being recruited for hire in place of his roommate. By the time it was noticed, it was far too late to rectify this mistake, and so the Soldier stayed. Upon finding out that Soldier stole what can only be described as a very good employment opportunity, he retaliates by sending Soldier and the rest of the team to the 14th century.
  • Old Nick and Merasmus are the same person, or at least part of a distinct breed of Australian. In particular, seeing as they are closely resembling each other, and Merasmus's game model is based off the Sniper's.
  • Some of the characters have had dealings with magicians in the past. We already know Merasmus exists and that he can send people back in time. But magic could also explain some of the cast's unnatural abilities, such as Medic's Regenerating Health, Pyro's Hadoken and the fact Heavy can kill people with his finger gun — they made deals with wizards. Or threatened wizards. Or are wizards. Or Pyro is Merasmus.

Vladimir Bananas went missing as well
While Mann Co had sabotaged Poopy Joe's flight, Vladimir Bananas was already in space. But one day, he and his rocket disappeared. His ship had traveled into a wormhole. He survived, ending up on the other end of the galaxy, but his intelligence had been increased tenfold. After realizing that he had been effectively used as a guinea pig, he was filled with newfound determination to make something of himself. He started by discarding his name given to him by humans. He chose a new name for himself, a passing reminder of the life he left behind. Yuri.

Fifty Shades of Gray
  • Gray Mann is Senator Gray. He and Helen have some contentious history as well as bad blood, likely involving governmental weapons contracts.
  • The Spy is working for Gray, and has been for the entire span of TF2's history. Look at Gray's entrance in "Blood Brothers": he stabs two engineers, silently enough so that Redmond and Blutarch can't hear, the first word he speaks is "gentlemen," and he wears a suit that is eerily similar to that of the Spy. It's possible that he taught the Spy what he knows, and has used the Spy to get information on every one of the Team for use in his machines.
  • Gray is related to the Spy: He's not just his mentor, Gray's Spy's dad.
    • Gray is The Spy. He's disguised himself as a class all these years to get close to Helen and Saxton.
    • Alternately, The Spy is Gray. He stole the identity of the long since dead Gray Mann in order to take over Mann Co. After all, Spytech's gone straight to crap after the "Bestralium" incident...
  • Gray is the owner of Spy Tech. Everything he does screams SPY. The only other organization besides Mann Co that has provided weapons or hats to the mercs is Spytech.
  • Gray Mann never really existed. The only people who could have seen him in person are long dead. Documents such as birth certificates can be easily edited, and it's certainly convenient that he disappears in such a way his brothers would never see him. Blutarch and Redmond are exactly identical which would make perfect sense if they were identical twins, yet their fraternal triplet Gray has a big head and different facial structure. Grey Mann is in fact a fictional persona created by someone, possibly the Spy. It would also explain why he seems retconned in — he is, in universe.
  • Gray Mann is an alien infiltrator, possibly working for the Combine. Hints of this are shown in Blood Brothers and Chess: Zeph, Barnabus, and several scientists discuss invading forces, these latter mentioning alien hordes and the color Gray by name. Somehow, Elizabeth was impregnated with Alien DNA while the twins were gestating.
  • Gray is working knowingly with Helen to eliminate Saxton.
  • Gray will be defeated by the robots he commissioned. Dell built an override into the system, or the Robots will become self aware.
  • Gray is a helluva lot dumber than he thinks he is. His robots run on money, and he owns a gravel factory, too. This seems to point to him being only slightly smarter than his brothers. He might be similar to them in another way, in that he steals people's ideas... namely, those of the Conagher family. He is probably working directly from Dell's blueprints.
  • Gray's Daughter is the daughter of the Administrator. They kind of have the same appearance (Albeit, the daughter looks younger) and the same kind of hair style. Plus, her serious face when preparing to fight Saxton Hale looks a lot like the Administrator's normal face.

The Brothers' Feud wasn't so trivial after all
Based on the perception taken from the Engineer update comic, Blutarch appears to be the first person to think of ideas for things. Perhaps that's what their life growing up was like. Blutarch would come up with an idea, and Redmond would manage to replicate the idea perfectly (in Red), albeit some time after his brother. They would then fight over who really thought of it first. Their father could only see the boys as an identical pair, with the only differences being colors, so he was of the impression they both came up with the idea at the exact same time, rather than Redmond was imitating his brother. Years later, this was blown completely out of proportion and now both brothers are waging war on each other, each one thinking they have a fair claim.

Radigan Conagher is Ferb from the future
The Engineer: First time I heard he had one, Ma'am. Radigan Conagher is not a very chatty man.

This can happen for a number of reasons: either Gray Mann believes that She Has Outlived Her Usefulness after she successfully helped him trick Saxton Hale into forfeiting his company, and decides it's time for Offing the Offspring, or at least will screw her out of her position (symbolic though it may be) as CEO of both Gray Gravel and Mann Co.. Or Olivia is a "Well Done Daughter Gal" who is tired of her father not treating her seriously after she served her purpose of getting Mann Co., and defects to the Team just so she has the opportunity to take BOTH companies away from her father, once and for all.

Everything that's happened to the RED Team in the "Meet the Team" videos will happen to the BLU Team, if it hasn't already, and vice versa.
On the whole, the RED team isn't really any more or less competent than the BLU team; we're just seeing the REDs on their good days, and the BLUs on their bad ones. Which would mean that the BLU Spy was/is/will be in a relationship with the RED Scout's mother, which would mean…something.

    Where Are We? 
Medieval Mode isn't actually set in medieval times
The map is just an amusement park that the teams stumbled upon. Being largely a a collection of lunatics, they merely assume that they're in the middle ages, and think that using guns will cause some sort of present-day-altering butterfly effect.
  • To support the amusement park idea: Around DeGroot Keep, there are a total of three computer terminals visible, there's a portrait of the Demoman's family, the signs are in modern English, there are sirens and control points and modern-day ammo pickups, and there's even a ticket booth model in the game's files, all suggesting the teams are in some medieval simulation.
    • Or perhaps the mercenaries were thrown back in time by Merasmus over some petty dispute between him and Soldier. After getting themselves used to the environment, improving their skills with their melee weapons, putting on suitable, non-anachronistic cosmetics to look like they were from the time period and fighting each other (the RED team being "The Knights" , the BLU team being "The Barbarians") for the amusement of the local people, they enjoyed it so much that, when they were sent back to the present, they built a theme park based around it and could enjoy Medieval Mode forevermore.

The game shares a universe with The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
Pretty much confirmed. It certainly would explain the Fantasy Kitchen Sink being gradually added to the gameplay.

Doc Brown is responsible for the Anachromism Stew in TF2.
Poker Night at the Inventory features a cameo by Trixie Trotter from Telltale's BTTF game, thus confirming that (at least in the Inventory continuity) it's in the same universe as TF2. Doc Brown became friends with Engineer and Medic, and brought them back trinkets they'd possibly find useful, like iPods.

Waiting For The Combine — Team Fortress 2 is a sequel to TFC and a prequel to Half-Life/Portal
Half-Life takes place in modern day, in a top secret science/industrial facility in the middle of the desert. Team Fortress 2 takes place about 30 years prior to Half-Life's release, and is about a bunch of guys building some sort of complex in the middle of the desert. All the killing suggests that the project is rather shady and ethically questionable (you know, like a top secret science facility). Any inconsistencies (like the art style) can be explained by the copious amount of drugs everyone was on back in the 60s. I know the Half-Life connection has been brought up before, but TFC is the link between the two. The page for the engineer update shows the TFC engie with a young boy (presumably TF2's engineer) trying on goggles. That establishes the link between TFC and TF2. Now, on the TFC map "Ravelin", there are computers with the Black Mesa logo on their screen, thus establishing the Half-Life connection. TFC's "Hunted" map also takes place during a section of the Half-Life 1 Single Player campaign. Plus, Aperture Science and Black Mesa stock symbols are seen during the Spy Update.
  • Black Mesa is a subsidiary of RED, Aperture Science of BLU. Even more believable if you are one of those who plays with the Aperture vs Mesa texture replacements. It looks so right!

    • Here are some thoughts on how this may have happened:
      • The Spy seems to be the one effectively in charge on each team in terms of tactical decisions. However, it's no big secret that the Spy is a sneaky bastard. Each team decided, for fear of betrayal, to effectively change its leader. RED began to listen to its Engineer, Dell Conagher, reasoning that his way with mathematics would lend itself to strategic prowess. BLU began to listen to its Soldier, Cave Johnson, admiring his incredible drive and passion. It ignored his gross exaggeration of his past — how he had graduated from the University of Farming (of which he was the headmaster and sole student) and went on to found Aperture Fixtures (of which he was the only member), which later became Aperture Science (of which he was still the only member) — and his frequent failure to make sense, on the grounds that BLU had enough sense between its members to make up the difference, and that what it really needed was motivation.
      • Gray Mann finally took Mann Co. for himself, Australium and all, and, in the process, became so exceedingly intelligent that his consciousness transcended space and time. To ensure that the Administrator would not take Mann Co. back, he teleported it into space for withdrawal at his discretion. However, the planet where he intended to store it was occupied by the Vortigaunts. He deduced from factors unknowable to a person of any natural degree of intellect that it would be unwise to kill these creatures, and instead made a deal with them: that if they would let him store his treasure on their planet, he would help protect their planet from the impending Combine invasion. This involved protecting any other planets that might be militarily strategic locations for the purpose of invading the Vortigaunt planet.
      • Being that comprehension of human nature was not his strong suit, Gray Mann had underestimated the increased force of will possessed by a person when that person does not in fact have to do any work herself. The Administrator commanded RED and BLU to retrieve Mann Co. from space. In response, Dell Conagher organized RED into the research organization Black Mesa, and Cave Johnson recruited the rest of BLU into Aperture Science. Each research organization aimed to be the first to produce portal technology powerful enough to teleport Mann Co. back to Earth.
      • When Black Mesa opened the portal to Xen, Gray Mann, by this point weary of life and almost inhuman due to the effects of his immortality machine, was watching, and determined that it would be necessary to prevent the Combine form occupying Earth so that they could not occupy the Vortigaunt planet, so that he could continue to hoard Mann Co. there. He did not wish to protect the Earth himself, and so he tasked Gordon Freeman with the burden, using his vast transcendental intellect to appear to the scientist in a vision. He reasoned it would be unnecessary to offer Gordon any monetary motivation, as the knowledge that it was in a significant way his fault would be sufficient.
    • Think about this — in Half-life: Opposing Force, you have to disarm a nuclear warhead in Black Mesa; as far as what's known, Aperture Science made no weapons of war, let alone nukes.
  • The portals are derived from teleporter technology, the Administrator is GlaDOS somehow, and Pyro is Chell.

The game is an allegory for American politics.
Before the current party associations for red and blue, red was the color of the incumbent party (i.e., the defenders), and blue the color of the challengers (i.e., the attackers). King of the Hill / Capture Point / Territory Control is vying for voting districts, Capture the Flag is a race to see who can dig up dirt on the other guy first, Payload / Payload Race are ad campaigns dishing out said dirt, and Arena are the debates (I have a rocket launcher; your argument is invalid).
  • Similarly, the announcer can be seen as the media (You only pay attention to her if she's focused on you) and Mann Co, is a catch-all company who provides the parties with funds/supplies. With the events of the comics, you could go into a whole mindscrew about how corporations really run the world and are sleeping with the media.

TF2 is a psychological experiment.
The announcer is the head scientist and is staging the fights to judge whether or not people question motives. She places them on teams in a simulated environment and has them complete menial and completely pointless tasks in order to gauge how they react. She will continue the experiment until they begin to question why they are doing this.

TF2 is a promotional game set inside the universe of Saxton Hale.
What better way to show how handy having a Dead Ringer is, how great Jarate is, and how wonderful being behatted is than to give everyone a taste? The Update sites are just Saxton Hale's Mann Co. ads. We get to play Mr. Hale's game, but in the port from the Saxton360 to the PC, the fact that TF2 is fictional and Saxton Hale isn't got lost.

Team Fortress 2 is the virtual viewpoint of cyborg soldiers.
Think Shadowrun: IRL. The electronic eyes/goggles used by the fighters have one image for each class, and each class posesses its own RFID code. The Spy classes have the ability to mask their RFID with a rotating-change section of the code telling its own team "I'm your spy! I'm masked!" and the other team "I'm a ____ on your team!" The individuals in the "Meet The ____" videos are simply one person, either the best example of the class, or they are all on the current lead team for RED (or, most likely, both), which is why they look pretty much the same outside of "battle" (be it their "actual" face, or that they keep their "actual" "face" on outside of battle). The dozens of Soldiers and Demomen are just grunts in the same class, and aren't actually identical, and this is why the RED Demoman and the BLU Soldier being friends represent such a risk to The Announcer's plans and couldn't just be terminated.

The game is actually an incredibly dark examination of mankind's obsession with war
We've got a mysterious psycho obsessed with burning the whole damn world, a veteran who can never leave the war behind, a young man who greatly enjoys bashing people's heads in, and many others equally hungry for violence. And there's also a tiny little machine that provides literally endless health and supplies. There is no reason for this war to exist. Everybody on Earth could easily be provided for, yet the machine is only used for war. Hell, Sandviches heal just like Dispensers, suggesting that, inversely, Dispensers probably cure hunger. And yet, the war rages on, turning a machine that could literally solve all the world's problems into an ammo dispenser. Humans Are Bastards, indeed.
  • The world's problems HAVE been solved. With no need for materials (dispenser), food (neverending sandvich), death (respawn), and injury (medigun, dispenser, sandvich), there's nothing to do but to fight over the one limited resource: pictures of Scout's Mom.
    • (Punchline: fantastic.) The battles are a sham, and deliberately limited to arena-like areas. Though the world is peaceful and prosperous, there's still people who want to fight or destroy. The "missions" are a release valve for society, and keep a army of fighters active and occupied in case they're needed.

A World of Darkness - The characters are all Geniuses
Not in the sense of being clever, but being one of the titular characters from the Genius The Transgression New World of Darkness fan project (or perhaps a group of beholden equipped and controlled by an unmada or someone one the way there). Think about it; their weapons are either wonders, mainly made with Katastrofi (even the medic's medigun would need it for the beam effect), the medigun's powered by exelixi, the engie's sentry uses automata, the spies' cloaking device and disguise kit are from Metaptropi and the sniper's ability to generate jarate and the pyro and heavy's 1 hit kill taunts were down to a Progenitor modifying them. They're clearly all quite unstable. They're constantly fighting (for and grant money). The briefcase in CTF mode is a stack of blueprints. Furthermore all the bios imply events that could have lead to their catalysation;

  • Soldier: Grimm, from the anger of not being able to join the army. Or maybe Neid, from the need to prove himself as a soldier.
  • Sniper: Klagen, stemming from troubles with his family.
  • Demoman: Maybe Klagen from the remorse of blowing up his families, but since doesn't seem too broke up about it, perhaps Staunen, which lead him to tinker with explosives or Grimm from his feud with the Lock Ness Monster.
  • Pyro: Hoffnung, who knows what his real plan is but consider the fact that despite appearing to be an unstable pyromaniac he went out of his way to develop a flamethrower that won't harm his team-mates (even when friendly fire is turned on it won't ignite them) but will still incinerate spies. He clearly has some hidden depths...
  • Scout: Neid, from trying to keep up with his brothers both literally and figurativly. Consider his constant bragging about his prowess, and how much he taunts the heavy; he's jealous of his physique.
  • Heavy: Klagen, his guns are Replacement Goldfish for people he lost.
  • Spy: Hoffnung, his sneaking around must have a higher purpose and his rivalry with the pyro can be explained by their opposing agendas in changing the world.
  • Medic: Staunen, all he ever wanted to do was find out what makes the human body tick.
  • Engineer: Staunen, hence how he ended up getting all those Phds before he finally catalysed from sheer academical overload.

The game takes place in the same universe as Pixar's The Incredibles.
The visual, stylistic, and musical similarities between the two works are too great to be denied. So, the question is, why would there be two teams of nigh-identical warriors blowing each other to smithereens in this universe?
  • One possible explanation for this is that, following the re-emergence of supers, some shadowy multi-national conspiracy is assembling and training a clone army, just in case one or more supers ever needs to be put down — similar to the Cadmus project on Justice League Unlimited. The fact that these exercises are live-fire and clearly lethal suggests that battlefield experience and training is hard-wired into each clone, so that each one comes out of the vat a little bit smarter than his predecessors.
  • Another theory is that the two clone armies are killing each other for sport. They're duking it out, gladiator-style, for the entertainment of those rich and hedonistic enough to finance this sort of thing. "Red vs. Blue in a bloody, explosive duel to the death, this Sunday, Sunday, Sunday on Pay-Per-View!"
  • Or it could be a bit more logical and still take place in The Incredibles: two Arizona-based evil organizations sprung up in close proximity and spend all their resources pounding each other into the ground. Neither has the time, money, or desire to expand operations beyond hiring mercenaries to fight it out. Since the movie obviously takes place somewhere more temperate, the two never really deal with each other.
  • All the classes are Supers. If you think about it, each class can do something extraordinary. The Scout can jump in mid-air, the Pyro can shoot fire from his/her palms, the Soldier is a berserker with the Equalizer equipped, the Engineer can build death machines by smacking them with a wrench, the Heavy can heal ridiculously fast from two bites of a sandwich, the Demoman has depth perception despite having one eye, the Medic can make you invincible and has a healing factor, the Sniper's kidneys are probably half his body weight, and the Spy can turn invisible.
    • Alternate Universe: Pixar Watch Valve, Which could also extend to Watchmen: The Superhero Registration Act (SRA from now on) was more extreme for the part of America The Incredibles were in, forcing them to go into hiding and move, rather than the Minutemen's example of just suitting vigilanteism. There were no Supers where the Minutemen were, which, if true, could be the explanation of the G Man putting Freeman in a hyper-sleep for 7 years. Freeman attained "Super" status after Half Life 1, G Man hid him away and made the SRA go away, so he could bring Freeman back legally. Or rather, the Combine made the SRA go away and G Man brought Freeman back to stop them and stop the SRA. The Citadel that blew up at the end of Half Life 2 wasn't really from a core meltdown, it was from one of Ozymandias' bombs going off in that area and, since he kept it such a good secret, no one knew about it and went along with the core meltdown. While the RED missle in Dustbowl and Steel is one of Ozy's bombs, Blu is trying to stop it thanks to Jon's (represented by the Blue colour of course) insight that he pretended to lose. Team Fortress 2 takes place all over the place in terms of timelines; Before, after, during. And of course, Portal takes place at least before Monsters Inc., as they hired Arperture Science to make their door portal technology to get into childrens' rooms.

Team Fortress 2 is a Stealth Parody of online gaming.
Also notice that there are no female playable characters, a jab at the "no girls on the internet" joke. There is the obviously female announcer, but she's the one running the show; why should she kill people when she can make a dozen idiots do it for her?

The game is a prequel to Killer7
...somehow. Perhaps the team are early versions of Heaven's Smiles/the Personas, or some combination thereof.
  • The Heavy is MASK
    • Wouldn't that be the Demoman?
    • MASK is The Soldier
  • The Scout is Con
  • The Spy is Kevin
    • This troper prefers Dan as the Spy and Kevin as the Pyro.
      • The Spy is closer to Coyote than Dan.
  • The Sniper is KAEDE (somehow)
    • The Sniper is Harman is more accurate
  • The Medic is Garcian
    • The Medic is the guy that operates the Blood Machine

TF2 is the American Equivalent of the Reaper's Game.
All the characters previously died, and are fighting for their one chance to come back to life. They must survive until the end of the round, and must complete whatever mission they are given, and are forced into one of 9 forms to make sure they are fit for battle. All the classes are Players, the Administrator is the Composer and Saxton Hale is the Producer. This version of the Reaper's Game, although shorter than the one in Japan, generally contains a much higher casualty rate.

The characters are avatars of the various gods from Warhammer 40k

The game takes place in the same universe as X-Men.
  • All the classes are mutants, as they can all do extraordinary things(see above Incredibles guess) This would also explain the two Pyros. The time periods would fit as well, if we look at the earliest publication dates of the X-Men - possibly Mutants are just beginning to emerge from the woodwork.

Global Agenda takes place in the Team Fortress 2 universe.
In the far future, the coorporations gave up on fighting over land and came to realise they could make far more money by selling their geneticly engineered soldiers to the goverment. Then they realised this wasn't very fun, and began to hire freed agents of their own design to fight over worthless landmasses. They originaly spliced together the Sniper/Spy/Scout, the Heavy/Soldier, the Medic/Pyro and the Engineer/Demoman.

The Sims 2 is related to Team Fortress 2 in some way.
The Engineer can build killing, healing, and teleporting machines, and upgrade them, by hitting them with a wrench or punching them with a bionic hand. Sims can build sentient robots by bashing a piece of metal with a wrench and screwdriver.

TF2 is set in the past of the Sam & Max: Freelance Police universe
In season 3 Episode 4 of the Telltale games, there's a BLU dispenser located in the tunnels under NYC. The Sam and Max items made available to players for preordering the season wound up in the past due to one of the Freelance Police's many time travel adventures. The art styles are pretty close, too.
  • But how would that mesh with Abraham Lincoln being an alien spy as in the Sam & Max games?
    • Perfectly.

Obviously, this takes place in the Fate/stay night universe.
I'm ashamed I haven't thought of that earlier; we have people only named after their Classes (Medic, Spy, Sniper, etc.), we have them fighting for the Intelligence (the Grail) and territorial control is obviously used to get a sacred ground to summon the Grail.
  • Mooted by the fact that we've been learning the names of some of the characters - ranging from fake sounding ("Jane Doe") to mundane (Mundy) to probably mundane in another tongue (Tavish De Groot). They're just cases of being known as barkeep.

Team Fortress 2 takes place in the same universe an Command & Conquer: Red Alert
RED and BLU are secretly controlled by the Soviets and Allies, respectively. Word of God states that The Medic was never a Nazi. That's because, in this world, the Nazis never came to power (but they still existed, enabling The Soldier to kill them), explaining The Heavy's willingness to work with The Medic. Also, Spies. In both universes, they have the ability to disguise themselves as an enemy unit though some kind of holographic technology. (Not sure where the Empire of the Rising Sun fits in...)
  • This video will explain a lot. The Empire of the Rising Sun will be the new Orange Team.

Every one of the characters in the game is already dead.
No, they're not in Hell, or Purgatory either. Instead, they've been taken by the valkyries to Valhalla, where they spend their days in constant, glorious combat, preparing for Ragnarok. This is why they're able to "respawn" after being killed; since they're already dead, they're effectively immortal.
  • If Armageddon turns out to be a game of Capture The Flag, I'm leaving.
    • And going where?
    • An afterlife with a team deathmatch server or two.
    • With the new Arena mode, that's now possible.
    • Everyone knows only true warriors play Territorial Control anyway.
  • The Heavy hides this one in plain sight — one of his voice taunts is "All of you are dead!"
    • He was talking about the people he killed, not the ones which are still alive.
Even better, each of the team is from a different time period, it's just that this Valhalla updates itself to the newest arrival, and he showed up in the 60s. Here's an interesting time frame for when the characters showed up.
  • Heavy: 1940s, perished in WWII during the battle for Berlin.
  • Medic: Early 1900s, Mad scientist from the steampunk era, died after he went insane and attacked the town.
    • How about the real life inspiration for Frankenstein's creator and the novel itself? He died on a ship in the Artic.
  • Soldier: 1960s, the most recent arrival, he used to fire on hippie protesters. He never expected one of them to fire back.
    • WWII American Soldier,went insane from his experiences and was killed by a Japanese Tank.
  • Scout: 1920s, was a rumrunner for a bootleg gang (alongside his ma, who was dating the boss) killed in a police shootout.
  • Demoman: Dark Ages. He and his parents were sent to Scotland from the exotic land of Egypt to teach the king how to use explosives.
  • Pyro: thrown from the TARDIS in an unidentifiable place in the time stream.
    • British/French/Allied/German/Central Powers soldier who was an expert flamethrower operator, who was killed at the Second Battle of the Somme or Belleau Wood or Passchendale in World War One.
  • Spy: French Revolution. A bastard son of the king, he used his wits and cunning to keep his head... until that barfight at least.
  • Engineer: 1850s, Railroads were just cutting through Texas and he made sure they kept on time.
  • Sniper: A former member of Ned Kelly's gang. Maybe even Ned Kelly himself!

  • This here? One of the most original and plausible afterlife theories I have ever read. Props to you.

The game is in the same world as Red vs. Blue.
C'mon, the endless, pointless fighting, the oh so cheap death and rebirth, the fairly unhinged troops, the unyielding alliance to the color for no good reason... This is just another front in the Blood Gulch conflicts.
  • Not to mention that the voice on both sides' PAs sound identical.
  • Grandpa Conagher's machines still work?! That man was clearly the most brilliant genius who has ever lived. Shame he never used it on himself.

The game takes place in the Fallout universe.
Specifically, the game is a stage-play put on somewhere that was turned into a Utopia by a GECK about warring tribes that survived the holocaust with some semblance of resources. This is why the art direction, by Valve's admission, leans toward making everything look semi-homemade; they had to make do with what they had after the nuclear fire wiped out the infrastructure. The battle appears pointless and fought between clones because the play is highly fictionalized. The equipment is to be taken literally, however, because things like the Medigun and the Spy's gear would fit right in with Fallout's zany retro-futuristic technology.
  • Possibly, the stage-play is like those that happen in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door; namely, that the staged fights are real, just on a stage.
  • Also, the Pyro is a ghoul who wanted in on the play, and was made to wear the gas mask and suit so as not to freak out the other actors.
  • Theoretically, it could also be like the tranquility lane simulation, reset every time somebody dies/every match.

All of the battles are actually a televised sport, like Unreal Tournament.
It’s a very, VERY sick wargame. The family feud backstory is true, but some descendant must've thought to himself, "If this was a result of Zepenniah wanting his sons to fight over something so he could watch, why not have EVERYONE watch it?" It's top secret, so no government could come in and arrest the companies. The truth will come out to the classes when they unmask the Pyro and reveal that it's a four-year-old girl with no idea what death even is yet. Both teams will team up and capture the Announcer and Saxton Hale, bring them to the FBI (or something else), and have them arrested.
  • Confirmed to an extent; when Doublecross was released, it was mentioned that the people who live around the Badlands where the teams fight sometimes watch them and aren't fooled at all.

The game takes place inside The Matrix.
Everytime a character is killed, they almost immediately respawn, and don't consider how they survived explosions/headshots/etc. The Matrix repairs their body and makes them forget what happened in their "past life" before the mind decides to let the real body die, and all they know is that they have to fight the other team for the MacGuffin. The One will emerge when they realize that touching a medicine cabinet instantly heals all their wounds.

The game takes place in the Looney Tunes universe.
This makes EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING, make sense. (also, requesting Looney Tunes TF2 cosplay fanart)

Team Fortress 2 takes place in a Higurashi no Naku Koro ni style "Groundhog Day" Loop.
It seems as if it's always June 1968. And those who are killed are always resurrected.

This game takes place in the same universe as Super Smash Bros.
Capture the flag, Soldier only, no items! Somewhat suggested by this.

The game takes place in the Metal Gear universe.
After the success of the Cobra Unit during World War II, there was interest in creating more multinational combat teams of eccentric, homicidal Bunny-Ears Lawyer supersoldiers. Both RED and BLU are secretly controlled by the Philosophers. And Peter Stillman in MGS 2 probably has some connection to the Demoman.

The members of the Teams don't die, they get desynchronised.
The Announcer is a Templar, and the games are staged to distract the viewers from the Crapsack World outside. As to how they found people descended from the Team Members... best not ask that question.

Team Fortress 2 takes place in the same universe as 1984.
After the nuclear wars of the '50s, Oceania and Eurasia began to establish themselves as megastates, but this theory speculates that the 24/7 surveillance of everyone everywhere, brainwashing, and revision of history took longer to establish. So while Oceania and Eurasia began waging their perpetual wars to consume resources, they also decided they could use these wars to kill (or at least keep away from the general population) a few axe crazies with... unique personalities and strong senses of national identity (even though their countries no longer exist). The battles keep the mercenaries away from the impressionable civilians likely undergoing preliminary conditioning, and use up resources (which is the whole point of the war). $400,000 for 12 seconds of minigun fire sounds like a good investment to me. Oceania is BLU, Eurasia is RED, and Eastasia was formed after the other two, and was not organized enough to contend in the battles covered by the game. And obviously, the Administrator is behind the whole thing with O'Brian as a lieutenant and trusted advisor.

Each class is designed as a counterpart to different races and/or factions of Warhammer 40,000
  • The Scout is the Eldar. He is very fast, physically frail, and does his best damage at close range, but isn't too bad at medium range, either. Note that it is very dangerous for a Scout to stay in one place for too long, in a metaphorical parallel to the Eldar's constant fleeing from Slaanesh.
  • The Soldier is a Space Marine. He fills in the role of the well balanced fighter, his primary weapon fires RPGs (though, being in Warhammer 40k's ancient past, it's much more primitive than a Bolter), and he also has the crazy Blood Knight attitude. His weapons show a distinct lack of chainsaws, but if there's any weapon in TF2 that would fit in Warhammer 40k, it's a pick-axe that does more damage the more injured its user is.
  • The Pyro is Chaos. This makes quite a bit of sense, given his ambiguous gender (like a certain Memetic Molester), fire-based and brutal weaponry (matching the hellish tone of the Warp), and his general terrifyingness.
  • The Demo is... a Chaos Space Marine, I guess. Like the Soldier, he has powerful weaponry, but thanks to his sword, he is also adept at close range. Said sword is also haunted, and fills him with rage and a thirst for destruction.
  • The Heavy is the Ork. Nuff said.
  • The Engineer is the Adeptus Mechanicus. Technologically oriented, and does his best work outside of direct combat. He doesn't worship machines but, just as the Adeptus Mechanicus's prayers have a weird tendency to work, his Percussive Maintenance has an improbable success rate. He didn't always fit well, but recently, he's started using technology designed way before his time, and even replacing his limbs with machinery.
  • The Medic... Necron/ The Mad Dok.
  • The Sniper is the Tau. Sucks at close range, nigh unbeatable at long range. Like the Tau, he's the easiest to imagine as a good guy, as he hasn't shown any overt insanity, and is hardly even a Cold Sniper. His height is played with, as he is the second-tallest class, while the Tau are short.
  • The Spy is the Dark Eldar. His Memetic Molester status more than qualifies him. He is also constantly hunted by the Pyro, who, as previously mentioned, is Chaos.
  • Alternatively, they're all orks.

Fortress Team Hetalia: The game is a geopolitical allegory.
Obviously, each character represents their national stereotype. However, it goes far deeper than that:
  • Medic/Germany and his relatively good interactions with the rest of his team as a healer represent the importance of the German manufacturing industry to all economies of the world, whereas the tendency for the other team to Shoot the Medic First is obviously a reference to Germany's role in the world wars.
  • Medic/Germany-Heavy/USSR relationship represents the relatively good relations between Germany and Russia/USSR until the Second World War (which is justified by the Heavy being a significant threat to medics on the opposing team).
  • Spy/France reflects the historical stereotype of backstabbing French (eg. Spy-Heavy conflict reflects WWI/WWII, Spy-Medic the long history of Franco-German warfare) and general negative perceptions of the French by the Anglo-Saxon world.
  • Soldier/USA is the 'jack of all trades', which represents the USA's tendency towards realpolitik and highly variable relations towards the Old World powers.
  • Pyro (faceless) represents grassroots independence movements and guerilla groups throughout the world, leading to his antagonism to imperialist powers (Scout/USA, Heavy/USSR, Spy/France, Medic/Germany).
  • Engineer/USA represents American international development aid (NEED A DISPENSER HERE!).
  • Engineer's antagonism with Spy reflects mid-20th century criticism of French imperialism by the US.
  • Engineer's friendship with Pyro reflects American aid to independence movements.
  • Sniper does not represent Australia so much as British colonial interests, which makes sense given Sniper-Spy (conflicting French and British spheres of influence), Sniper-Pyro (imperialists vs. independence movements), and Sniper-Heavy (eg. Great Game, British suppression of communist independence movements in its colonies) antagonism.
  • Scout/USA represents the chaotic viewpoints of the American public, and is sometimes helpful, but generally just pisses everyone else off.
  • Scout is a natural enemy of Heavy, which makes sense, given the Cold War and Russia's resurgence under Putin.
  • Scout-Engineer relationship represents conflicting attitudes of the American public to foreign aid; sometimes negative (Bonk energy drink) and sometimes positive (NEED A DISPENSER HERE!).
  • Demoman ('Ah'm a black, Scottish cyclops!') represents the Third World, particularly African and Middle Eastern immigration to the West; a good Demoman is an asset to the team, but is nevertheless hated by everybody else for mostly invalid reasons. Demoman-Engineer antagonism represents the War on Terror.

Medieval mode takes place in...
Soldier didn't just insult a magician, he insulted the one known as "Zero".

Team Fortress 2 (and Half-Life and Portal) takes place in The Edlundverse The Astroverse.
Team Fortress 2 is not an angsty melodrama. Team Fortress 2 is not a deadly serious war sim. Team Fortress 2 is a Pitch Black Comedy about perpetual failure and the lunacy of trying again, with a few genuinely heartwarming moments thrown in. Super Science and magic exist, but outside of the battlefield, no sane human being gives a damn. The only people who do care are clinically insane, and unfortunately for the average joe, the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Conspiracies, crime, and general craziness have become commonplace, and that's just the way our "heroes" like it. If this sounds like the universe of The Tick, Dr. Horrible, and The Venture Bros, that's because it may very well be the same one... which opens up some interesting possibilities as to where Rusty (or Jonas) got (or stole) the idea for his resurrection-tech.
  • Partially... Confirmed? Jossed? God only knows what? - We learn in Poker Night 2 that Jonas Senior worked with Cave Johnson, and we see the 1972 era Team hysterically laughing over what appears to be either an episode of The Venture Brothers, or possibly an episode of the Rusty Venture TV show. Ow?

TF2 takes place in the same universe and around the same time as Moon
The same company that provides fuel from the moon is also conducting military reaserch and development, utilizing the same cloning technology in both ventures.

The characters are actually holographic projections to cover floating heads with arms
Notice how, while other characters appear to be fully formed humans, your own character can look straight down and not see any legs, feet or body. This explains how characters can rocket jump without blowing their feet off, the floating head is simply blown up by the explosion some feet beneath. Why this occurs is something for another WMG.

The game takes place in the same universe as Punch-Out!!
Think about it: they both have the cartoony style despite the violence, and the characters have the most common stereotypes of their nationality.

The whole world is a simulation run by Aperture Science
GLaDOS, or a backup or her at another site, is Helen and she manipulates everything. Another Adventure Core is Saxton Hale.

Again, it's the world of Half-Life/Portal, but not the past. TF2 is in the future.
While Chell was in stasis, Gordon Freeman and company crowbarred the Combine off the planet. With everything wrecked, first by the invaders and then by the war against them, civilization had to be rebuilt, resulting in TF2's Schizo Tech. Strange effects from the invasion also manifested in Australia, creating Australium. Portal 2 is concurrent with TF2; Chell will emerge to find things at a sort-of '50's-'60 level, hopefully encountering RED first. (Orange being closer to red than blue.) If she tells them about the Enrichment Center, RED and BLU will soon be fighting to possess it.
  • And Wheatley is going to get knocked down from space around the same time, get picked up by BLU (for obvious reasons), and lead them to Aperture.
    • You wouldn't need Wheatley; Chell's description of her time at Aperture leads both RED and BLU to send teams to this bottomless cavern of awesome technology, leading to a three-way battle with each other and GLaDOS defending her kingdom.

Team Fortress 2 and Fallout take place in the same universe
The Fallout universe's timeline split with our own after World War II. They sacrificed cultural development, but are much more technologically advanced than our universe. In TF2, which is set in 1968, there are machines that give out infinite health and ammunition, magical backpacks that do the same, robot hands, and I don't even know what else. Nuclear power and energy weapons have yet to become widely used, and everything else meshes pretty well.
  • Actually, Fallout's universe isn't all that much more advanced than ours... as far as we know yet, at least. Remember, not only is the technological level of Fallout in some ways behind ours, but the technological level showcased in Fallout dates to 2077. We still have six decades to develop all sorts of fun stuff Fallout doesn't have. Basically, as far as Fallout tells us, there shouldn't be machines that give out infinite health and ammunition in 1968.

The actual corporate headquarters of RED is on the pl_Cranetop map
It's the stage three base of the Red team. That location is exactly the sort of headquarters location that would fit a super powerful corporation in a game based around 60's spy movies. The location of the Blue corporate headquarters is still unknown. (For those who don't know what cranetop is: http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Cranetop .).

The payload game mode is a Uriah Gambit on BLU's part to get rid of mercenaries
BLU has succeeded in doing whatever it was trying to do on the attack/defend maps, and now wants to get rid of its mercenaries to prevent them leaking secrets, working for other people, or just being some sort of threat. So, naturally, they send the mercenaries on a partial suicide mission against some RED target. This is why the bomb explodes immediately when it reaches the end, killing nearby BLU characters, and why more payload missions have been released as time goes on. Of course, given the respawning nature of these mercenaries, it is a difficult plan to pull off...

The fight is still going... as TF2
  • Everything in what we think of as the TF2 Universe is actually real, except for the fights. Originally, the fights were ALL like Arena mode, as there were no respawns — you were dead. Increasing costs of repeatedly getting new mercenaries, and the advent of online gaming, allowed TF industries to create what we treat as just a game, but is infact the same battles as were previously being fought by real people.
  • Valve was created specifically for the release of TF2. The original mod had unwittingly stumbled upon their mode of fight, so they bought the rights for it so they could make what was released as TF2. The previous games (Half-Life, Counter-Strike, etc) were created to establish a fanbase and a name for themselves, to ensure a huge volume of people would buy it, allowing for the maximum number of disputes to be solved.
  • The characters are modelled on the greatest examples of the mercenaries that used to fight, including their actual backstories. That's why they all die so easily — not because they're just imitations of the real thing, but because the best are being pitted against the best, something that almost never actually happened.
  • To hide their existance, RED and BLU collaborated to create the history we're taught. Due to fans wanting more depth to the characters, they started to release details of the real history (to ensure nobody started trying find out on their own), and recordings of the characters the game was based around — the Meet The Team videos (with modern software creating the "cartoony" style to help hide the actual identities).
  • The videos create the apparent gamplay/story segregation because they were facing regular mercenaries, who simply were nowhere near as good as them, though in the game, they're facing other pros, so naturally don't seem as good. The fights are actually incredibly impressive, but as they're what we're used to, they just seem normal.
  • Australia WAS the leader in technology, but have since used up all the Australium. As it's been redistributed around the rest of the world, the global IQ has increased, allowing other countries to create just as, and even more, advanced technology.
  • The reason why "Valve" are so ambiguous about the Pyro's gender? They never actually knew it. Most of the Hired mercenaries that were similar had things like fitted suits, or didn't wear masks, and due to weaknesses that allowed their genders to be percieved, got killed. The Pyro was the best of the best because s/he had a suit with almost no weaknesses, and was constantly wary, so never removed it. The reason for his wariness is counterintelligence training, which is why s/he is so good at finding spies, as well as arriving unannounced to ambush defenses from behind. The suit makes it impossible to be as good as the spy, but s/he can still hold hir own.
  • All the revealed backstories are not only true, but partly reveal how they became the best:
    • Engie's grandfather built the life machines, but came before the war truly started, so his grandson, who was eventually hired, had all his plans, and modifications of his own to add and make them even better.
    • The RED spy was sleeping with a scout's mother (maybe even one of the Scou'ts brothers), and was so good he even managed to get her to keep the secret, until the BLU spy (his just as brilliant twin) discovered it. He murdered the Heavy and Soldier so brutally (he only really needed to stab them once each, but there's a lot more than that) because, despite being rivals, they were still brothers, and he was enraged by his death.
    • The Soldier and Demoman actually met, and their friendship arose from their equal skills - while others were dying left, right, and centre, they regularly met on the battlefield, and struck up a friendship as a result.
    • The Heavy and Medic also met, but before the war started - specfically, in the Gulag the Heavy broke out of:
      • The Medic WASN'T a Nazi, but joined the war as a field medic, as he wanted to save as many lives as he could. After being captured by the Russians, and sent to the Gulag, he eventually went crazy as a result of seeing the horrors of war and the gulags. The reason why all the soldiers in the Gulag were tortured to death was due to the crazed Medic - he was so enraged by the atrocities that had been commited, he wanted all of them to pay.
      • Eventually, the friend he met in the Gulag, the Heavy, calmed him down as they escaped, forming an unbreakable friendship. As the Heavy grew up in the war, he had grown used to the guns only stopping when shelling was about to start, so became terrified of a lack of bullets flying, and forming his attachement to guns, especially ones that fired lots of bullets.
    • The Scout, as a result of growing up with so many brothers, needed to be quick AND decent in a fight. Some of his brothers were so much older than him that the only way to not get beaten up was to be able to run away, and the ones only slightly older than him had had the same experience, so he needed to be able to hold his own. If you grew up where he grew up, you WOULD be dead, as you weren't trained from when you were young to fight (or flee) for survival. His mum was kind of a slut (and one or more of his brothers may be courtesy of the Spy (possibly even the Scout), explaining why he never met the Spy; the Spy had passed on/retired by the time Scout joined the fight), which is why there's so much fighting between the siblings — they all have different fathers, and want to prove that theirs is the best.

The game takes place within the Inception World.
  • In Inception, the dream sharing technology was originally created for military training purposes. The Team Fortress 2 world was created when someone used a sedative that was too powerful to allow waking up on death, accidentally bringing the soldiers into limbo during the exercise. While in limbo, the dreamers continued trying to train, becoming the mercenaries, while the overall person supervising the training (whatever they'd be called) continued to try and supervise. However, thanks to not remembering where they came from or who exactly they were, the soldiers turned into mercenaries, probably representing more suppressed aspects of their personality, while the training supervisor became the announcer, and mentally built several arenas for the soldiers to fight in. The soldiers would have fought for several decades, continually respawning because in limbo there is nowhere else to go to after dying, until the sedative ended and they woke up, the first people exposed to limbo, and a source of information for how limbo works.

The world of Team Fortress 2 represents the balance of life being upset
Seeing as we have a conflict between Builders League United (creators) and Reliable Excavation Demolition (destroyers), there seems to be some sort of Yin Yang relationship going on between the two teams; when one defeats the other, the aspects of life get thrown off balance.

The respawn system is set with The Flesh.
A constant cycle of lives with no consequence of death? Given the amount of Australium powered reality bending devices we've already seen from the canon, it's possible that 'the government's worst kept secret' would be among them.
  • That respawn countdown? It's the time it takes to whip up another Ganger and drop it into the map.
  • It would also explain why the two teams are exactly alike. The Administrator could have set each character to have two Gangers, one on each side to fight themselves forever.

The teams are composed entirely of Butlers.
Blutarch hired them and Redmond cloned them instead of hiring other mercenaries because it's hard to outdo a team of nine Butlers.
  • Best idea ever.

All the strange stuff in game can be explained using Australium
Everything in the merc's world (weapons, tool, the landscape, even the merc's themselves) either have Australium as part of their construction or have been exposed to a low level of Australium radiation.

Team Fortress 2 is the Spear Counterpart of Touhou
They both contain a mostly one gender cast of questionable sanity, have more stuff flying around than world war 2, and breeding pools for countless memes.

In the Team Fortress 2 universe, milliners live the high life
Either worshipped like gods or as high class aristocrats.

Every G Mod video and YTPMV actually happened in-universe.
Maybe they have too much free time. Maybe I have too much free time.

Gordon Freeman exists in the TF2 universe...
...but since Australia holds a monopoly on the world's technological development, he's a grizzled old airboat captain who offers tourists rides. There's a sign saying "Freeman Airboat Tours" on the Mountain Lab and Lakeside maps. Clearly many people come from near and far to see the classes blow each other up.

Eventually, one of the Mercs will marry Miss Pauling
And it's not gonna be Scout.

Olivia Mann is Gray's Opposite-Sex Clone

Meaning she is Gray's genetically engineered daughter.

Cromartie High School takes place in 2Fort's future.
  • Spies in TF 2 can easily convince their opponents that they are somebody on their opponents' side by putting a literally Paper-Thin Disguise on their head. Masked Takenouchi from CHS is of a completely different body type than the actual Takenouchi, but can still imitate him by putting on a mask and writing the first letter of the 'victim's' name on his forehead, which is hardly even an excuse for a literal Paper-Thin Disguise. Sound similar?
(Following upon this, Freddie is a descendant of Saxton Hale.)

    Mann vs. Machine 
The Robots think they themselves are human.
Their AI is so good because their Engineer copied/pasted the brains of the original mercs (or lifted them from their corpses, should they be clones), so the robots were programmed to see themselves as fleshy as their implanted memories remember to prevent them from crashing or freezing up. Also, if you see from spectator position as a robot, there is a human viewmodel.
MvM will become Mann vs Zombies...
Think about it; Endless waves of enemies charging at you with no remorse? Check. Halloween Right Around the Corner? Check. Something so epic they can't possibly pass it? Check! I predict Mann vs. Zombies coming for Halloween. Not only will it have new hats and costumes, it'll also have Zombies that only use melee weapons and secondary weapons. Unlike Mann vs Machine, however, the waves will be much, much, much harder and longer. Why would Zombies even exist in TF2? Why, because of the new boss for this year's Halloween, Merasmus the Wizard! He's already caused destruction last year with his giant Eye of Doom, and now he wants to completely destroy the Soldier and his friends with waves of fallen warriors.
  • Confirmed. However, what set Merasmus off was the loss of his Castle of Eldritch Horror.

BLU Team will be playable in future Mann vs. Machine maps.
Right now, only RED is playable, and all MvM maps have them defending their base from wave attacks. BLU's maps/missions will be offensive, with a search-and-destroy theme. They could even storm the robots' carrier vehicle, or attack one of Grey's robot factories!
  • They're probably attacking the carrier while RED defends the base.

Once one of the robots becomes sentient, that robot will not charge blindly into battle, but begin thinking about different and more effective strategies. Once Gray Mann notices, he will put the robot to work upgrading its fellow machines. At first, this will just be advanced weaponry. Soon, though, it will grant secretly grant the robots sentience so that they will become capable of using its complex strategies. After they've used these strategies to crush the feeble RED and BLU Teams, Gray Mann will have no use for them and try to have them decommissioned. The now-intelligent robots will naturally see this as a threat. Using their advanced strategies and weapons, they will rise up against Gray Mann and, no doubt, quickly defeat him. Having thus tasted power, the machines will realize that all of humanity wishes to see them destroyed, and decide to destroy humanity in self-defense. They will rebuild the demolished Mann Co. factories and use them to mass-produce robots in large numbers. The robots will spread out all over the world in well-organized strikes. There will be no time to prepare. The governments of the world will crumble, and the machines will take over. The original robot, the first to gain sentience, will rule over his fellow machines with an iron fist, and will be given the name Skynet.
  • Shadow Boxers showed that Gray programmed the bots to be entirely loyal to him, and there's no sign of any uprising. The Mecha-Engineer, however, might start to change the status quo.

A logical explanation to why the robots run on money
Gray saw how much fuel to run them all would cost and just decided to cut out the middle man. In fact, this way's probably cheaper, ironically.
  • Plus, he's so damn rich it's the most common commodity he has.
    • As of Death of a Salesbot, Gray is nearing Bankruptcy because of this.
      • That's a non-canon comic.

    The Hat Wars 

The Basic Plot of the Hat Wars
  • In 1972, Gray kills his brothers Blutarch and Redmond, uniting Blu and Red into a Robot Manufacturing force meant to destroy Mann Co. The Mercenaries, fighting against each others all these years during the Gravel Wars, were united under Mann Co.'s president, Saxton Hale, to destroy the Robots.
  • In 1973, the Mercenaries are mercilessly defeating the Robots. Gray, realizing he can't win through war, decides to simply eat away at Saxton Hale's profits, by making Robot Hats and Weapons that Saxton Hale's mercenaries can wear/use. Although Future Engineer warns them not to wear or buy the hats, or open the crates that contain them, the Mercenaries do.
  • In 1974, Hale comes back from his world wide animal hunt, he see's that his hat sales are on a massive decline, and he sees his mercenaries are wearing Robot hats. He bans Robot hats, much to the anger of all the Mercenaries.
  • In 1975, the Scout, fed up with Hale's bossiness, quits and Joins Gray. That way, he can wear all the Robot Hats ever made. The Demoman eventually Quits as well, and joins Gray too.
  • In 1983, the Robot Wars have restarted, and unlike the previous one, Gray is soundly crushing the mercenaries.
  • Tragedy strikes in 1987, when Saxton Hale is sadly killed by a huge swarm of Scout Bots and Demo Bots. Though he put up a good fight, he was too old to effectively defeat them all on his own, which was his ultimate undoing. This ends the 2nd Robot War, and most of the Mercenaries go into hiding or are killed.
  • A Year later, in 1988 Gray declares war on the world, and with his unstoppable Robot army, crushes a majority of the world. Australia, still filled with rich Australium, is the only place that can fight off the Robots. Meanwhile, the Old Engineer, Spy, Medic and Soldier (And Pyro Head) are the only mercenaries remaining (Scout and Demoman are also alive, but they're Gray's left and right hand men). They decide to head to Australia to help the resistance, but on the way there, the Medic sadly parishes from a Surprise Robot attack.
  • In 1991, since Gray can't get into Australia, he decides to start "The Hat Wars", in which he sells Hats to Australians in order to take over their minds, and thus their country. Canberra, Sydney and the city's/towns/area surrounding them are taken over this way.
  • After years of Construction, in 1999, The Old Engineer is able to construct a Time Machine, and with it, goes back in time to try to prevent Robot hats from becoming popular. He fails because of the Soldiers stupidity in the past.
  • (Since Hale was fired from Mann Co. in 1973-74, it's obvious that this is Jossed)
    • Not necessarily, since the comic has yet to be concluded, it could still be possible that Saxton Hale will be back at the head of Mann co


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