I have to give the blog and update writers for Team Fortress 2 a lot of credit. Whoever these people are, they are amazing. They rarely fail to amuse, except when they joke that an already very late comic was actually early and the next one won’t be until next year. It’s always full of amusing jokes and all sorts of strange references. The Saxxy Awards for example mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier. And of course, when Scream Fortress comes around, the poor writers try their best to make it all seem spooky.
Except it’s not.
Let’s face it. Scream Fortress is never spooky. It’s funny, yes. It’s zany, yes. It’s a huge amount of fun for a couple of weeks, yes. Scream Fortress is a long list of things, but ‘scary’ is not on that list. The scariest thing that can happen is being caught by surprise by the Headless Horseless Headmann or a mini-sentry or a crocket or one of those exploding pumpkins, but that’s not true fear, that’s just surprise. It’s a fleeting moment.
To be fair, Scream Fortress has always been more of an amusement than an actual scary thing. It and the TF2 team try their best. The update posts ooze with desperation, trying their hardest to make at least one person piss their pants (rather than in a jar) out of fear. I doubt they have ever managed it. I bet they’d love to though. They’d love to have an update that is legitimately scary. So why haven’t they done it yet?
We know Valve can somewhat do scary things and good jumpy moments and stuff like that. There are times where you’re wandering around in Half-Life and something unexpected happens, like a horde of antlions charging towards you or a zombie jumping out of a rubbish tip to try and scratch you to death. Left 4 Dead can be really scary, especially when playing on anything other than easy and hearing the cries of a Witch or the pounding sounds of an incoming horde or Tank. Left 4 Dead 2 had its scary moments too, especially with Hard Rain, but because a lot of it is set during daylight, it has less of an impact.
We also know that Valve has already implemented zombie AI in TF2. I’ve gone on about the tf_zombie commands a lot, but the thing is, they are there and they don’t stop. They act in a very similar way to L4D zombies and they spawn just out of sight. On top of that, they’re not limited by the 33 player limit.
It doesn’t even need to be zombies. It could be robots. Or bread monsters. Or Xenomorphs. Or zombie bread alien monsters. Or just one giant hideous monster.
You may be wondering why. The thing is, why not? With Team Fortress 2, you can do literally anything. It will fit in there somewhere. Heck, Valve released a 15 minute video involving Spy teaching Scout how to date women and giant mutated bread. What other video game can get away with that insanity and still be a perfectly gory shooter? Not many. You don’t see this stuff happening in Counter-Strike. And Call of Duty with their zombie Nazis is really just laughable, considering how far away it is from the rest of the game.
Plus, it’s an opportunity to push TF2 in yet another direction. It’s rare to have the opportunity to do so much with a game, to experiment on it and then have the ability to apply the best parts to other games. TF2 gives you that chance.
Valve has the power. They can do it. But will they?