Expiration Date – The longest TF2 short to date

So, it turns out that we are getting an update. It’s called the Love and War Update and it’s a multiday one, the sort of update we haven’t had in a while! Although, to be fair, this is the first big update we’ve had in a while anyway.

The star of the first day of the update though was the 15 minute long (alright, 14 minutes and 59 seconds) Team Fortress short Expiration Date, featuring all our favourite mercenaries and the lovely Miss Pauling. I’ll give you a brief talk over what happened, with some of my own comments, after this spoiler alert announcement.

Go and watch the damn thing now if you haven’t already. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it. Spoilers will follow after this little paragraph. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Seriously, there will be spoilers.

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Alright. Let’s start with a recap. The video starts off with Heavy, Scout and Soldier driving along in a battered old van (a sword van of all things) having successfully captured the intelligence. Miss Pauling, who has a voice and a model and everything, calls them on the speaker, checking that they’ve definitely got the intelligence. As they pull into the RED base, Scout tries to ask Miss Pauling out on a date and she refuses. Insert cracking smart-ass quip from Spy. As they get back, Engineer and Medic make an announcement, using bread as an example. Medic tears open the bread, revealing nasty tumors inside and Engineer explains that they don’t have long to live. Three days, by Medic’s calculations.

While the two egg-heads work, Spy gathers the other ones, asking about the last few things everyone wants to do. Scout pulls a prank and Soldier gets a bucket, leaving Spy sighing and rolling his eyes. As everyone leaves, Soldier walks by Engineer and Medic and snags a loaf of bread that has fallen on the floor. Scout later goes to see Spy, apologising for being a twat and asks Spy to help him seduce ladies. Queue a montage of Spy teaching Scout how to be a gentleman, with various amusing things happening. At the end of it all, Spy tests Scout and he fails miserably, but Scout’s already arranged the date.

As time runs out, Scout sets off the “do not touch” button that sets alarms blaring. Miss Pauling rushes over on a motorbike, to find that there’s not really anything wrong. Meanwhile, Engineer and Medic’s experiments get nasty, with a small bread monster coming to life.

While Spy, Soldier and Demoman watch via video surveillance to see how Scout’s doing, Engineer and Medic burst in and exclaim that everything’s fine and only bread gets these ‘tumors’ when it’s teleported around. Soldier then chirps up and says he’s been teleporting bread for three days, at which point a huge bread monster attacks the building.

So we get a nice fighting sequence, with everyone attacking the giant bread monster. Scout tries to speak to Miss Pauling and try and fix things and Miss Pauling starts wiring up a payload bomb to use to kill the monster. Scout and Miss Pauling push the bomb towards the monster and call for the others to retreat behind the blast doors, but the monster grabs the payload bomb and throws it at the blast doors, trapping Scout and Pauling in there. With nowhere to go, they decide to jump inside the monster just as the bomb detonates, killing it.

Happy endings all round, turns out Miss Pauling enjoyed herself and asks Scout if he wants to accompany her with her jobs occasionally. Yay.

Alright, time for my comments. Yeah, there’ll be other people posting their thoughts too but I’m an editor, I do as I please. Just kidding. First off, the animation was really nice, as always. It’s Meet the Team Quality, coupled with lots of brand new voice lines and a whole new voice actor and model for Miss Pauling. She’s a bit younger than I expected though. Disappointingly, not everyone had voice lines, with Nolan North doing the voice of Engineer (and one Soldier line), but Medic, Spy and Scout were all themselves. Demoman only had a couple of lines and Pyro, Sniper and, incredibly strangely, Heavy, were all silent. I didn’t mind Nolan North as Engineer. Yeah, it’s not exactly the same, but you get the same warm Texan feeling when you hear him speak, so that’s okay.

Plot-wise, it was pretty damn crazy and I don’t think any other video game could pull off such a crazy plot. It’s the sort of thing you’d see on very late night Adult Swim or some obscure Youtube video. Still, very very amusing and it was actually a bit of a surprise. Scout got most of the screen time but Spy was utterly amazing and Engineer and Medic got a┬ánice chunk of screen time too. Soldier of course tried to steal the show but Miss Pauling and Scout kept him in line.

As for pleasing TF2 fans? Couldn’t have been better. There were few inconsistencies that I noticed (like Medic Ubering and only Heavy actually being ubered…) and there were so many throwbacks and small jokes to make people smile. That van at the beginning for example? It was a sword van. People had been mentioning a Deringer for ages, there was one in there. People wanted Miss Pauling, they bloody well got her.

Overall, it was fucking brilliant.

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