Welp, it’s been over a year since Expiration Date and the Love and War update in general was released. I know I should be looking at the Gun Mettle update, but I just don’t find it as interesting as the Love and War update. Gun Mettle came with a comic and a bunch of cosmetics and balance changes, Love and War came with a short movie, a bunch of weapons and some minor balance changes. It came with lore. Gun Mettle just had a stupid story involving Miss Pauling and Saxton Hale, and honestly I’m kinda sick of the pair of them, in comic form at least.
Before we begin, there IS something worth mentioning. The two updates do actually have something in common – they both give us some info about how our beloved mercenaries live their lives, or at least how they work. Expiration Date explains what the mercs do in their spare time and what happens between missions and the contracts from Gun Mettle give us an idea of what they actually kill. Turns out they spend more time killing copies of themselves in various ways and getting paid in weapons, which they can either sell on or keep.
But yes, back to Expiration Date. I love that video to bits. I probably watch it every other week, perhaps more. It’s the little things that make me smile. It’s also the little things that make me think. Only today did I notice that the RED team has an arcade machine called Payload Pinball in their base, but I spotted it first time that Scout gets stuck in his chair after he answers Spy’s final question and is told he’s a failure. There are tons of little hints within the whole video, intentional or otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, the comics also give a huge amount of insight to the mercenaries, but they seem a tad… retcon-y? I don’t know. I mean, they DID rewrite Sniper to be from New Zealand and have a parody version of Superman’s backstory, while also randomly killing off his foster parents. Expiration Date has a one-day-in-the-life-of feel about it.
It makes the mercenaries seem more human and shows us how they interact with one another. Demo never stops drinking. Pyro isn’t always trying to burn things and can seem somewhat normal at times. Scout never stops pissing Spy off and Spy just rolls his eyes. Medic and Engineer get on very well, which I never really expected – I always thought they’d heavily disagree with one another and not talk at all, for fear of leaking inventions to one another. Everyone does seem to get on with their own stuff, but they do sit around and probably chat as well. More like an actual workplace than anything else.
It’s interesting to note that all the mercenaries refer to themselves as their class names. Even Spy and Scout. Which I feel puts to rest the notion that Spy is Scout’s father. Plus, if he WAS Scout’s dad, he wouldn’t just roll his eyes at Scout’s vague insults, he’d probably spank Scout’s ass until it was raw or something like that. Chances are, the previous sentence already exists as porn. Scout is Scout, Soldier is Soldier, Demoman is shortened to Demo, so it’s not just us real people who do that.
There’s also a nice look into how the mercenaries fight together. Heavy and Medic tend to lead the frontal assault with Engineer suggesting when they should attack and whatnot. They clearly look out for one another, even just a little, as Sniper saves Scout and Spy cares enough to try and get Scout to finish his date. Other tidbits include the fact that they MAY have a respawn machine of sorts, as Pyro got crushed by rubble then is seen running back in a few seconds later, and that Sniper’s not afraid to try and chop up a giant bread monster with a kukri.
The amount of things you notice though. The intel briefcase was being held in a storage area very similar to that of ctf_Sawmill. Engineer wears that fancy new cosmetic all day. Medic wears his backpack all the time, so does Pyro. Scout looks really good in a turtleneck but looks weird without his hat and headphones on. At the very end, Pyro can be seen chasing around the escaped mini bread monster from earlier. Speaking of that, it seems that the strength of the mercs varies; I didn’t expect Heavy to hold open blast doors on his own, or Medic to be able to lift Soldier up the way he did.
Finally, let’s have a moment of silence for the Spy, who has to put up with all this bullshit.