Pets are a fairly new thing in Team Fortress 2. The very early pets were things like the brain slug for Pyro and the Parasite from that free game with aliens that everyone’s forgotten about. You know, that one. With the four players. Not Left 4 Dead, that was zombies… Oh never mind. But these days, we have a HUGE range of animals to follow us around.
The first pet to appear on the scene was the Triboniophorus Tyrannus, more commonly known as the Brain Slug, because that’s what it looks like. The Brain Slug though didn’t do much. It just sat happily on one’s head, often painted in an obnoxious colour, wandering around doing nothing. It was a small start, but the Brain Slug was the beginning of a trend that would ensure everyone had a pet….
Apart from Spy. Spy doesn’t have a little animal to call his own. I doubt that Spy minds though, what with being a master of sneaking. He probably doesn’t want some hideous, smelly beast getting in his way. Also, he probably doesn’t want crap on his suit. Imagine the mess left behind by Archimedes on a hot, scary summer’s day… Don’t worry, Spy, I understand.
So yes, apart from Spy, everyone’s got a pet. Scout as a squirrel, Heavy has a tiny robin who sits on his shoulder happily, Engineer has all sorts of critters hiding in that pouch of his, and Sniper has, not always at once, a koala, a lizard, an owl and a crocodile. And a voodoo doll of Spy. Most of these creatures though are just that, creatures. Or they’re dolls, teddies, voodoo dolls or something similar, alive enough to be identified as a pet of sorts. Lieutenant Bites might be alive, but he just hangs angrily on Soldier’s coat.
Over the years though, the number and quality of pets for mercenaries has exploded. There are not just pets for individual classes that sit plainly in a pocket, some of our beloved virtual pets look around as we move, or, better/worse, are actually LINKED to the expressions on our faces. Yes, you heard me. You see that picture up there? That’s not the bird’s default expression… Actually, it is nonetheless, he’ll turn around and look at whatever that Demoman is looking at. It’s just that he looks ever so smug. Archimedes on the other hand? He is partially linked to his owner’s face, so he’ll try and mimic what a Medic is doing.
But not all pets sit on your shoulder. The Balloonicorn and the Robro 3000 were among the first pets to float behind the player. These floating pets just sit around and can generally fly in some way. While the Balloonicorn just floats idly, some, like the Quoth, actually flap their wings and move in more obvious ways, drifting as the player moves.
After all that, you wonder what they’re going to do next. Maybe we’ll have pets that walk on the ground behind you, or maybe ones that attack you? Wait… Engineer already has sentries for that.