Team Fortress 2, one of the most popular and influential FPS games of all time, has been neglected by its developer Valve for years. The game has been plagued by bots, hackers, and a lack of updates, while Valve focuses on other projects like Dota 2 and Half-Life Alyx. However, some fans have not given up on the game and have tried to create their own versions using Valve’s Source 2 engine, the latest and most advanced platform for game development. Unfortunately, Valve has not been supportive of these fan efforts and has issued DMCA takedown notices to stop them. This has sparked a backlash from the TF2 community, who have launched a campaign to “save TF2” and urge Valve to show some love to their beloved game.
Team Fortress 2 is a team-based multiplayer shooter game that was released in 2007 as part of The Orange Box, a collection of games that also included Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Portal. The game features nine distinct classes, each with their own weapons, abilities, and personalities, and various game modes, such as capture the flag, payload, and king of the hill. The game is known for its colorful and cartoonish graphics, its humorous and witty dialogue, and its extensive customization options, such as hats, cosmetics, and weapons.
Team Fortress 2 is widely regarded as one of the best and most influential games of its genre, and has inspired many other games, such as Overwatch, Paladins, and Fortnite. The game has also spawned a vibrant and creative community, who have produced fan-made content, such as comics, animations, mods, and maps. The game has also been used as a platform for machinima, a form of filmmaking that uses video game engines, such as the popular web series Red vs. Blue.
Team Fortress 2 is also one of the most successful and profitable games for Valve, as it became free-to-play in 2011 and introduced a microtransaction system that allows players to buy and sell items using real money. The game has consistently ranked among the top 10 most played games on Steam, with an average of over 75,000 concurrent players and a peak of over 150,000 players in the past month. The game has also won several awards and accolades, such as the BAFTA Games Award for Multiplayer in 2008 and the Golden Joystick Award for Best Free-to-Play Game in 2012.
Why is Team Fortress 2 in trouble and what are fans doing about it?
Despite its popularity and success, Team Fortress 2 has been largely ignored by Valve for the past few years. The game has not received any major updates since 2017, when the Jungle Inferno update added four new maps, five new weapons, and a new game mode. Since then, the game has only received minor patches and bug fixes, and no new content or features. The game has also been infested by bots, who use cheats and hacks to ruin the gameplay experience for other players. The bots can spam chat messages, fill up servers, and aimbot players with perfect accuracy. The bots have been a problem since 2020, when the source code of the game was leaked online, allowing hackers to exploit the game’s vulnerabilities.
Many fans have been frustrated and disappointed by Valve’s lack of attention and support for the game, and have tried to take matters into their own hands. Some fans have created their own servers and communities, where they can play the game without bots and with custom rules and mods. Some fans have also attempted to create their own versions of the game using Source 2, the engine that powers games like Dota 2 and Half-Life Alyx. Source 2 is more advanced and optimized than the original Source engine that runs Team Fortress 2, and offers better graphics, performance, and modding capabilities.
One of these fan projects was Team Fortress Source 2, a remake of Team Fortress 2 using Source 2, developed by Amper Software, an independent team of TF2 players. The project aimed to recreate the game with improved visuals, physics, and gameplay, while preserving the original style and feel of the game. The project was in development for over a year, and had released several screenshots and videos showcasing its progress. However, the project was abruptly canceled on January 11, 2024, when Amper Software announced that they had received a DMCA takedown notice from Valve, ordering them to stop working on the project and remove all the related content from the internet.
This news sparked a wave of outrage and sadness among the TF2 community, who saw the project as a sign of hope and passion for the game. Many fans expressed their anger and disappointment at Valve for shutting down a fan project that was trying to improve and revive the game, while doing nothing to fix the game’s issues or provide new content. Many fans also felt that Valve was being hypocritical and unfair, as they had previously allowed and even encouraged fan projects based on their other games, such as Black Mesa, a remake of Half-Life using Source, and Portal Reloaded, a mod that adds a new campaign and mechanics to Portal 2.
To protest against Valve’s actions and to demand their attention and support, many fans started a campaign to “save TF2” on social media, using the hashtag #SaveTF2. The campaign was initiated by WeezyTF2, a TF2 content creator, who posted a video on YouTube on January 12, 2024, urging fans to tweet using the hashtag and to share their stories and memories of the game. The campaign quickly gained traction and became a trending topic on Twitter, with thousands of fans joining the movement and expressing their love and appreciation for the game, as well as their frustration and dissatisfaction with Valve. Some fans also posted negative reviews on the game’s Steam page, citing the bot problem and the lack of updates as reasons for their dissatisfaction.
How has Valve responded and what is the future of Team Fortress 2?
Valve has not been completely silent or indifferent to the situation, as they have issued a statement on the official Team Fortress 2 Twitter account on January 13, 2024, after almost two years of inactivity. The statement reads:
“TF2 community, we hear you! We love this game and know you do, too. We see how large this issue has become and are working to improve things.”
The statement is vague and does not specify what issue they are referring to, or what they are doing to improve things, but it is a sign of recognition and acknowledgement from Valve, and a possible indication that they are aware of the game’s problems and the fans’ demands. The statement has received mixed reactions from the fans, with some being hopeful and optimistic that Valve will finally take action and deliver some updates and fixes for the game, and others being skeptical and cynical that Valve will not do anything meaningful or substantial, and that the statement is just a PR move to appease the fans.
The future of Team Fortress 2 is uncertain and depends on Valve’s actions and decisions. The game still has a loyal and passionate fan base, who are willing to support and play the game, despite its flaws and challenges. The game also has a lot of potential and room for improvement, as it could benefit from the Source 2 engine, new content and features, and better anti-cheat measures. However, the game also faces a lot of competition and threats, as newer and more modern games, such as Overwatch, Apex Legends, and Valorant, offer similar or better experiences and attract more players and attention. The game also risks losing its identity and charm, as it becomes outdated and irrelevant in the gaming industry.
The fate of Team Fortress 2 lies in Valve’s hands, and the fans can only hope that Valve will listen to their voices and show some love and respect to their beloved game. The fans can also continue to enjoy and celebrate the game, and create their own content and communities, as they have done for over a decade. Team Fortress 2 is more than just a game, it is a phenomenon and a culture, and it deserves to be saved and preserved.