Posted on: Aug 18th 2012 by Agro
Everyone is going crazy for the latest and greatest update from Valve Software. This time it’s a modification to Team Fortress 2. Taking its name from the fictional in-game store Mann Co. August 16th 2012 saw the official launch of Mann vs. Machine.
We’ve seen thirty two major updates (22 content updates, 10 content packs) in TF2 starting with the Gold Rush update in April 2008, interspersed with hundreds of patches, tweaks and fixes. So why is the community going nuts over this one? Simple, it’s a game changer, literally.
Team Fortress 2, as the name suggests, is a team based first person shooter with 12 players on each team. There are no A.I. controlled players by default but bots can be added. Playing the game is only as fun as the competition provided by the people you’re playing against. Mann vs. Machine or MvM is a 6 player co-op against the game-controlled robots. The map progesses through stages as your team completes each “mission”. Sound familiar? It should. If you replace robots with zombies and drop two team members you have Left4Dead.
Characters from TF2 have appeared in other games for a while now either as themselves, as in Poker Night at the Inventory, or as caricatures in cross promotions such as Dungeon Defenders. This is the first time that Valve have completely reused characters, cannon, items, styling and artifacts for a new game. More unusual for any studio they are not launching MvM as a new title (together with a new list price and installation). Instead it comes to current players as a patch, a forced update to their game. Players logged into Steam, downloaded the update and were ready to go looking for a servers to play on. As with Battlefield 3, Starcraft 2, DOTA 2 and other team games you can group together with your friends first before looking for an empty server to play on.
So this is Valve’s new game?
Later this month Valve are launching Counter Strike: Global Offensive, the long awaited sequel to Counter Strike: Source itself a sequel to CS 1.6. Perhaps MvM has more to do with CS:GO than L4D. Valve has always used TF2 as their test bed. Steam Wallet, Trading and Workshop were all ruthlessly tested here first. Some of the current success of these initiatives may be attributed to the very vocal community and the statistics Valve draw from these players. The match-up system on trial in TF2’s MvM may be beneficial for CS:GO’s less hard-core crowd wishing to learn the game without facing off against human foes.
Still, KritzKast for one welcomes our new robot overlords. We shall embrace this quantum shift in the evolution of Team Fortress 2 in much the same way we welcome all updates: with hours of dedicated gaming and lengthy discussions with like minded fans.