Considering the number of cowboy-themed cosmetics and the Bucking Bronco taunt, I suppose I can safely say that the Engineer is pretty well associated with cowboys. However, while the Demoman gets a ton of knight-themed cosmetics and a few swords, Engineer never got the revolver that a lot of people wanted him to have. So why is that?
Well, I don’t work at Valve, so I can’t really give a definite answer. but I can give a guess as to why that’s the case. First question one might ask: why not just give the Engineer one of Spy’s revolvers?
Looking at all of Spy’s revolvers, one can see why. The Spy’s guns are almost all elegant six-shooters, the dueling sabers of firearms. Most weapons of TF2 follow the character of the class wielding it quite closely. It is rather separate from the rough, powerful Wild West taming handcannons one will expect Engineer to wield. Even the Festive Ambassador defies the usual trend of Festive weapons of being flashy and obnoxious and is a sleek, black gun, the only acknowledgement to it being a Festive is the sole team-coloured light at the front. And the Festive Revolver decided to mess that up by having its barrel covered with lights. The Diamondback and the Big Kill don’t have the same air of elegance, with the Big Kill being quite close to what one will imagine the Engineer to wield – loud, menacing and powerful. But then, promotional items almost never fit with the class wielding it character-wise.
Aside from that, the Engineer’s hands are much larger than the Spy’s. For the first picture, I need to increase the size of the Revolver by 30% just to get it to fit nicely into Engineer’s hand. Valve will most likely need to make a new, larger model to go with the new stats.
“So then, why not do that?”
First up, look at the picture below:
Do you notice something about all of these? They all have the same sized handles. Even when not all the classes can wield a particular unlock, the rough dimensions are kept about the same across all of them. It adds an element of visual consistency, which is nice since they’re all similar weapons (as in they’re all shotguns/pistols, the Rescue Ranger and Reserve Shooter have very little in common). Looking back at the third picture, a Revolver made for the Engineer will break this rule of having visual consistency across weapons of the same weapon type.
Even if we disregard all these visual factors, what does a Revolver add to the Engineer? If we were to compare the stats for the Spy’s Revolver and the Engineer’s Pistol, the Revolver essentially is a six-shot Pistol with a lower firing rate and higher damage per shot, as well as an overall lower DPS. Now to see what a Revolver can do for Engie gameplay-wise, we need to consider who will he be slinging lead towards in the game.
So what are the people that an Engineer usually fights when not hiding behind a Sentry? Ubered enemies, Spies, solo Demomen or Soldiers being cheeky buggers trying to blow your buildings up, and if you’re a Combat Engineer like how I normally play, almost everyone. The Engineer can do as much to Ubered enemies as a lone stock Scout can do to a Level 3 Sentry, so we can ignore them. As for fighting Spies, the larger amount of shots per clip allows one to spam about to find a cloaked Spy. The larger amounts of shots also allow one to quickly destroy any stickybombs a crafty Demoman planted beside your Sentry. It could be nice for a Combat Engineer if you favour the burst damage, but otherwise it doesn’t really offer anything the Pistol can’t do and just seems like a downgrade overall, gameplay-wise.
Sure, we can just do a Pistol reskin instead and let Engineer dual-wield Revolvers, but we will run into consistency issues again. Conventional video game logic states that a revolver packs more punch per shot than a pistol, which TF2 follows as well. One suspects that was the easiest way to get a regular player to use a gun with a lower firing rate and smaller clip: make each shot hurt more. And that rule just sticks with us until now. Besides, since when does TF2 allows dual-wielding of any kind in the game?
Anyways, giving the Engineer a revolver (or two) just breaks some of the unspoken guidelines the game seems to follow, and really does not offer much in return gameplay-wise. So I suppose I can see why Valve never gave Engineer a revolver.
Well, I knew I said all that, but you can bet if Valve ever made revolvers for Engineer I’ll grab them ASAP. Because it’ll be awesome.