UPDATE 26/10/18: All good things must come to an end, but it seems TF2008's end came particularly quickly, as the mod's newly-approved Steam page has now been removed.
According to an email screenshot shared on the mod's Discord server, it appears Valve has U-turned on its decision to launch the mod on Steam. The reason cited is the modder did not sufficiently prove they were creating "a mod of TF2 and not just repurposing leaked code". The email did not rule out the possibility of the mod returning once the modder had sufficiently demonstrated the code used was not leaked.
It seems modder XYK had other ideas, however, as the TF2008 Discord server has now been deleted. Well, sort of - it's called "Burger" and all the previous comments have been replaced with pictures of food. XYK left the server with a deeply unpleasant parting comment, while footage saved on YouTube shows the mod community go into meltdown following the news the server was to be deleted.
It's not the first time the TF2008 project has been proclaimed "dead" before resurfacing on another server. Equally, the mod had been set back by Valve before for the same reason - leaked source code was not allowed, meaning everything had to be changed. But with a parting comment as grim as the one left by XYK, it seems likely to be dead for good this time. And maybe that's for the best.
XYK did not respond to Eurogamer's request for comment on TF2008's removal from Steam and the future of the project.
ORIGINAL STORY 25/10/18: Times are tough if you're a Team Fortress 2 fan. With updates becoming increasingly rare and smaller in scale with every passing year, sometimes it feels like you just want to go back to TF2's glory days.
Thanks to the work of modder XYK, this dream isn't so distant after all.
Team Fortress 2008 is a SourceMod of TF2 which "reverts the game back to its 2008 version". According to the mod's Steam page description, it's perfect for players who "prefer the game before most of the later updates," and want a decluttered, "simpler old interface".
Despite concerns Valve would not approve the mod, the publisher has given permission for it to be listed on Steam (after apparently requesting a few changes). Although there isn't a huge amount of information currently available about the mod, you can keep an eye on progress via the Steam page and Twitter. There's also a teaser trailer to give you an idea of what Team Fortress 2008 will look like - even if the choice of gameplay is a little odd.
Team Fortress 2 was originally released on PC and Xbox as part of The Orange Box in October 2007, so this mod should bring it fairly close to the vanilla version. As online games now change so frequently, it could be pretty refreshing to see what the game looked like in its early days. It should make for a great nostalgia trip for veteran players - like jumping into a time machine and finding everyone's a cartoon trying to kill you. In any case, it should make for an interesting experience when it launches in January 2019.
Meanwhile, in the current-day version of TF2, the game recently received its annual Scream Fortress Halloween update, which (once again) sees Merasmus terrorise Red and Blu team alike. Scream Fortress X adds a range of new cosmetics, taunts, five new community maps and 22 Halloween contracts, and runs until 14th November. Plenty of time to get your spook on, and collect more of those hat things. As if you didn't already have enough.