Behind all the silliness and fun and anger, there are some genuinely sad moments to be found in the Team Fortress 2 universe.
As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
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In Game Voice Clips
- In the regular game modes, Respawn has rendered the classes jaded and blasé about death — though occasionally they will revel in sadistic glee during domination quotes — but in Mann Versus Machine mode, everybody's "[Class] is Dead!" vocalizations sound genuinely upset, like they're coming to terms with the idea that maybe, this time, those teammates might not come back, ever. Medic's lines, in particular, are especially heart-breaking, as each subsequent death makes him more and more hysterical and he has to face his own inevitable demise, alone and surrounded by robots.
Comics and Supplemental Material
- The circumstances behind the War Update are pretty depressing. The Administrator discovers that a BLU Soldier and a RED Demoman befriended each other outside of work. Fearing the men will discover that they work under the same person, she has Ms. Pauling secretly negotiate with the two mercenaries. The deal is simple: if each one agrees to kill the other, they are allowed some fancy new weaponry. At first, both men adamantly refuse; they clearly value their friendship more than what they're offered... at least until they are properly pushed.
- The insights into the Pyro's demented mind in Meet the Pyro may be horrifying, but when one thinks about it, it's also a bit sad. Taking their own perspective into account, the Pyro is perhaps one of the only truly good-natured people in the series. All they want to do is spread rainbows and happiness to their many loving friends, but in reality, they're only spreading death and destruction. Despite their intentions, they inflict so much horror and suffering to the point where even their own team is terrified and/or disgusted with them. They're completely unaware of any of this, and likely never will be.
- There's a small moment during Gray's flashback in Blood Brothers. Bette Mann dies during childbirth; her husband, Zepheniah, doesn't give a damn about her fate. Meanwhile, accompanying him is his aide, Barnabas Hale, who is clearly distraught by Bette's death. Hale's personality is a carbon copy of his grandson's, so seeing this subdued, mourning side of him is pretty impactful.
- In "Ring of Fired," Saxton Hale's distress upon losing his company hits quite hard. At the very least, he wanted to go down fighting his way past Gray's robots, yet he doesn't even get that. To rub salt into the wound, Gray orders his robots to go into nonviolence mode. No matter how much Saxton tries, they never react to his attacks. Even before the order was given, they've made way for him to exit the premises. Denied a climactic exit, Saxton's simply forced to leave, and he does so in uncharacteristic despondence.
"SOMETHING FIGHT ME!"
- Sniper's subplot during "Blood in the Water" is rough. After being fired by Gray, he returns to his parents' house to find them both passed away. While cleaning up their home, he learns they weren't his birth parents. It's rather understated in his first scenes, but he's clearly distraught from the revelation and the deaths as he threatens Ms. Pauling for information — he was even prepared to kill her and the accompanying Demoman. Thankfully, when he's told the team is visiting his birth parents' underwater home city, he agrees to tag along and lets them free. Unfortunately, this inevitably sets him up for disappointment when both Bill-Bel and Lar-Nah leave a lot to be desired. Even so, Sniper remains loyal to them, willing to dive back into the flooding city to save his dad... who has absconded with Team Fortress' sub, leaving the group for dead. He gets his hopes up again one final time when it appears Bill-Bel is coming back for them... but its not him. It's Team Fortress Classic, and the Classic Sniper abruptly shoots the TF2 Sniper dead after the realization sinks in.
- Old Wounds: Classic Heavy demonstrating his lack of respect and patience with Medic by killing Archimedes. Of course, he's only dead for a moment, thanks to Medic, but many people reacted with the same look of shock and horror as Medic did when it happened.◊
- Miss Pauling breaking down in tears as the team is about to be interrogated. And then Spy offers to share his Cyanide Pill...
- The Naked and the Dead contains a number of examples, starting from the cover. It's a shot of the Heavy cradling a dead Medic, and the former is wailing as damn near every character from the comics looks on in hushed sorrow.
- Medic's death in the comic proper isn't much better. It comes soon after the Classic Heavy challenges his successor, who arrives just in time to defend the Modern Medic, to a one-on-one, close combat duel. After Modern Heavy tosses his minigun aside, CH suddenly draws a pistol. It looks like Classic Heavy's about to shoot Modern Heavy like a gutless coward. Instead, he suddenly empties two rounds into the doctor's chest as Heavy looks on, cowed. It's very sudden and just as cruel, but it does lead to a a delightful moment where the Modern Heavy has the mother of all retaliations against his counterpart.
- A little while after they reunite, Sniper and Spy find a dying Scout. The Scout is lying against a wall, having taken down a small sea of robots by himself, and it's clear he's running out of time. Sniper looks to Spy in understanding, urging the Spy to do... something. It's not clear exactly what it is, but soon after, Tom Jones, of all people, appears before the Scout. At first, he seems to be part of the Scout's Dying Dream, and Jones has nothing but praise for him:
You're stronger than you'll ever know, Jeremy
. I'm proud of you. I've always
been proud of you... son
- With this reveal, Scout finally passes on in Tom Jones' arms. Suddenly, in a puff of smoke, the Spy removes his disguise. He decided to give Scout the closure about his missing father that he would have wanted, knowing that Scout would never accept the truth. It puts the mercenaries' interactions up to that point — and even Spy's very reasons behind joining Team Fortress — under a new light. Through it all, the Spy just wanted to protect his son and ensure he'd come out on top... and he failed.
- Looking closely at Scout's eyes as he dies reveals he was tearing up at Tom's reveal. Whether tears of joy because he thought he found his real father, or tears of sadness because he knows he's fading fast and can't do anything about it, it's still sad to see.
- Of course, when Scout suddenly comes back to life after a very goofy trip to heaven, Spy responds with vocal frustration. In contrast, his face shows he's clearly fighting back tears.
Community-related and Other
- This adaptation of the war update's comic is heartbreaking.
- While it's non-canon, Heavy and Medic's sub-plot in "End of The Line" results in this. Heavy accidentally shoots one of Medic's doves, then irritates him because he doesn't know how to play chess. When Medic and Spy are discussing battle plans, and the discussion becomes heated, Heavy tries to calm Medic down, but Medic turns him away. With the train soon to arrive, Heavy braces himself to stop it on his own. Medic, concerned and scared, Übers Heavy just in time... but it looks like Heavy didn't make it. Thankfully, he not only survives but ends up saving Medic's life later on.
- After seeing this, you'll never look at a sentry-sapper the same way ever again.
- This is the tale of a Sniper and a Spy with a shocking twist.
- Sometimes we cannot gain back what we lost... This story tells the tragic tale of harsh reality.
- This story, telling of a dying player's legacy.For those who can't access the link or in case the post disappears
- Bad Medicine. It's a sad story about Medic losing Archimedes.
- It didn't take a day for the passing of Colin Wyckoff (Kitty0706), a well-known animator of TF2 fan content, to spread through the community. As a result, a tribute for Colin became widespread and many fellow animators expressed their condolences to his family. Many of those animators would go on to reanimate Team Fabulous 2 as a further tribute to him, and it's a testament to how tightly-knit the community is.
- The death of Rick May, voice actor for The Soldier, from COVID-19 complications in 2020 lead to an outpouring of tributes from the TF2 community. Valve even put up a blog post and in-game memorials for Rick, and John Patrick Lowrie, voice of the Sniper, eulogized Rick on his Facebook page.
Valve: Rick May, the inimitable voice of the Soldier for thirteen years, many shorts and countless updates, passed away this April at age 79. We were lucky enough to work with Rick many times in the studio over the past decade. A quick-witted and kind-hearted collaborator, Rick endowed the character with a trademark bellow and bootfuls of idiotic charm. The Soldier wouldnt be the Soldier without him.