Before there was Fortnite, before there was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (i.e. PUBG), before there was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, there was Team Fortress 2. Released by Valve Corporation in 2007, Team Fortress 2 quickly became one of the most popular first person shooters of the time. Today, it continues to be regarded as one of the greatest video games ever made. This popularity and acclaim has resulted in the game continuing to be supported by Valve, even after all these years. Though it receives minor seasonal updates, Valve has a massive Team Fortress 2 update coming soon.
This won’t be like one of those other, smaller updates Team Fortress 2 users are used to. Sure, Valve will release some new items here and bring back some older items there, but that’s not a true update. At least, not in comparison to what Valve has planned for this summer’s Team Fortress 2 update. What’s coming down the pipeline for Team Fortress 2? What can players expect to see, and when exactly can they expect to see it? Let’s go over the latest information straight from Valve Corporation headquarters.
5 Must-Know Facts About Team Fortress 2
- Though Team Fortress 2 cost money upon release in 2007, it later became free to play in 2011. With that being said, players could still make microtransactions to purchase new skins and other exclusive cosmetic upgrades in the game.
- Originally, when first teased in 1999, Team Fortress 2 resembled the realistic look and feel of other Valve titles. However, when it was finally released in 2007, Team Fortress 2‘s entire aesthetic had changed drastically. It practically went in the opposite direction.
- Valve has described Team Fortress 2‘s unique visual style as a blend of 20th century American artists Norman Rockwell, J. C. Leyendecker, and Dean Cornwell, in addition to a 1960s James Bond movie aesthetic.
- There are five core game modes for Team Fortress 2: Attack/Defend (or AD), Capture the Flag (or CtF), Control Points (or CP), King of the Kill (or KOTH), and Payload (or PL). There have been more than a dozen other game modes to come and go throughout the game’s 15+ year history, including Arena, Mannpower, Medieval Mode, and more.
- Beyond these five game modes, Team Fortress 2 has nine distinct playable classes. These nine are evenly split into three groups of three: Offense (Scout, Soldier, and Pyro), Defense (Demoman, Heavy Weapons Guy, and Engineer) and Support (Medic, Sniper, and Spy).
What to Expect in the Next Team Fortress 2 Update
Team Fortress 2 updates pretty regularly, especially for a game more than 15 years old now. Typically, there’s a new update about once a month. However, these are primarily concerning bug fixes. Seasonal item drops happen semi-regularly, of course, but even these can feel underwhelming at times. Longtime fans of the franchise have been clamoring for something bigger and better for some time now. Things like new and improved maps and items, additional features, and so on. At last, it seems that Valve is planning to drop the biggest Team Fortress 2 update in years this summer.
This is no rumor. The news comes straight from the official Team Fortress 2 website’s blog. Previously, the blog had not been updated since July of 2020. However, on February 9th of 2023, a new post appeared titled “Attention, Steam Workshop Creators!” In the post, Valve developers wrote that they’re planning on releasing a full-fledged update on par with their annual holiday releases. What exactly does that entail? According to the post, there will be new maps, items, effects, taunts, cosmetics, and various other community-sourced game fixes. Talk about a major update, for sure.
The post goes on to acknowledge that the last several seasonal updates haven’t been very significant in terms of new content. Sure, Valve continues to support the game — that’s a great thing. However, it’s not wrong for fans to feel like they deserve a little more than just item updates. It seems Valve has heard the cries from fans. Plus, it seems like they’re looking to pay them back for their patience by including user-generated Steam Workshop content in the update. This is a very cool and exciting part of an already great announcement for Team Fortress 2 fanatics. Now, we just wait until the summer drop.
Past Team Fortress 2 Updates
Looking back on other Team Fortress 2 updates from recent years, this summer’s massive drop is looking like the biggest players have seen since Christmas of 2019. At the time, Valve put out a number of new cosmetics and effects under the oft-used banner of “Merry Smissmas.” Before that, the other most significant drop in recent memory was probably the “Merry Smissmas” drop of 2018. Clearly, it’s been years since Team Fortress 2 has treated players to the kind of significant update they deserve for being such loyal enthusiasts of the game.
Apart from the annual Halloween revamp, the last time Team Fortress 2 players saw any sort of new map was 2017 with the release of the “Jungle Inferno” campaign. This 2017 release brought with it new Pyro weapons, new War Paints, new item cases, and new taunts. Alas, “Jungle Inferno” was later suspended in February of 2018. It’s unclear whether or not this upcoming summer 2023 update will be themed around a central concept like “Jungle Inferno” or the annual Halloween releases. As the summer approaches, hopefully more information will be released accordingly.
Team Fortress 2 Specifications
|Series||Team Fortress (1996- )|
|Follows||Team Fortress Classic (1999)|
Mac OS X
|Designer(s)||Robin Walker, John Cook|
|Release Date||October 10, 2007 (Windows, Xbox 360)|
December 11, 2007 (PlayStation 3)
June 10, 2010 (Mac OS X)
February 14, 2013 (Linux)
|Genre||First person shooter|
|Mode||Single player, multiplayer|
|ESRB Rating||Mature 17+ (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence)|
The History of Team Fortress 2
Truth be told, the original Team Fortress wasn’t technically a PC game in its own right. As a matter of fact, it more closely resembled a mod for an existing game: Quake (1996), a first person shooter from id Software and GT Interactive. This viral Quake mod was created by John Cook and Robin Walker, two game designers at TF Software. Two years later, the sheer success of the online Quake mod (casually dubbed Team Fortress) earned both Robin and John jobs at burgeoning video game studio Valve Corporation.
With only one game to their name — Half-Life, a now-iconic first person shooter — Walker and Cook took a risk joining the Valve team. However, it was a risk that paid off majorly for all involved. Along with the Valve team, the two got right to work on Team Fortress 2. The goal was to include the game in an upcoming Half-Life expansion pack set to be released by the end of 1998. Then, nothing. Not a word about Team Fortress 2 from Valve as the new year came and went. To hold fans over, Valve released Team Fortress Classic (1999): an official port of the original game.
Valve teased audiences with a glimpse of Team Fortress 2 at E3 in the spring of 1999. Based on their presentation, the game appeared to feature realistic visuals and a modern feel. (Anyone who’s played Team Fortress 2 knows this is about as far from the final form of the game as can be.) Based the teaser alone, those in attendance were ready to throw awards and honors at the upcoming release. Some even went as far as to crown it Best Online Game at 1999’s Game Critics Awards. Shockingly, it would be another eight years before the game was officially released.
The Long-Awaited Release of Team Fortress 2
In a move that now seems standard for Valve but was certainly unexpected at the time, the company went completely silent on Team Fortress 2 after the 1999 E3 demonstration. They quietly pushed the release indefinitely in 2000 after announcing a switch in engines, then… nothing. On the down-low, Robin Walker moved to a new venture under the Valve umbrella. He was project lead for Half-Life 2: Episode One over the next several years. Half-Life 2: Episode One officially released in 2006. Alternatively, John Cook went to work on Steam, Valve’s in-house video game distribution platform.
By the mid-2000s, pretty much anyone who was once excited for Team Fortress 2 had now given up hope. Likewise, outlet after outlet changed their tune compared to their reactions in 1999. While they once labeled it the game of the year, they now called Team Fortress 2 good old fashioned vaporware. The assumption was that it would never be officially released, but also never be officially canceled. Most chalked it up to video game purgatory and simply left it at that. Then, in 2006, a miracle happened: Valve officially (re)announced Team Fortress 2.
Imagine the confusion in the room when Valve displayed a cartoon-like game with a distinctly 20th-century aesthetic brandishing the Team Fortress 2 logo. Long gone was that grounded, realistic game teased seven years earlier. It didn’t even look like other Valve games such as Half-Life or the upcoming Portal (2007). Nevertheless, Team Fortress 2 was officially official once more. At the event, Valve announced Team Fortress 2 would be included in their upcoming Orange Box pack. A beta hit Steam on September 17th of 2007, with an official release on October 10th.
It has been 15 years since the official release of Team Fortress 2, and news of a major update to this long-running game is a welcome surprise. Now we just have to wait until summer to find out if the promised update lives up to expectations.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Pryimak Anastasiia/Shutterstock.com.