Despite being released over 10 years ago, Team Fortress 2 still boasts one of the biggest player bases on Steam. Today, the number of players peaked at 54,350 - placing the game at seventh on Steam's leaderboard of most-played games. And behind the player count, there is still a significant esports community organised by a series of leagues unaffiliated with Valve. TF2 players have run a small but passionate competitive community for several years.
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Valve veteran Jay Pinkerton has returned to the developer a year after he left the company.
Valve has stepped up its anti-cheat measures and issued almost 95,000 bans in the last week alone.
Fortnite is currently the game most associated with meme culture, but back in the day, Team Fortress 2 was responsible for some incredible viral creations of its own. One of these memes, a crustacean sensation known as the Spycrab, became a huge part of the Team Fortress 2 community and was immortalised after achieving official recognition from Valve.
Valve shooter Team Fortress 2 is getting a big update this week, 10 years on from its initial launch.
Jungle Inferno is a mix of maps and cosmetic bits made partly by Valve and partly by the game's community.
Today, Valve revealed Mercenary Park - a new map made in-house which looks like a mix of Australian-themes and Jurassic Park.
Sin City is the global capital of gambling. Casinos with colourful chips, well-postured croupiers and automaton pensioners plugged into slot machines. At first glance it might not seem sinister, but strip back the glamour and Las Vegas paints a sad picture - its denizens cogs in a billion-dollar machine fuelled by potentially addictive gaming. The novelty of the place can hide its true intentions.
I've been watching quite a bit of Nigel Slater's Dish of the Day recently, it's very soothing - even if the idea of him bursting into my kitchen and making a meal out of whatever's lying around is mildly alarming. One thing I really admire about Mr Slater is his unapologetic obsession with sandwiches; I love a good sandwich as much as the next person, but Nigel Slater bloody loves them. I wish I loved anything as much as Nigel Slater loves slapping a few ingredients between two pieces of bread.
Former Valve economist Yanis Varoufakis has quit as Greek finance minister just six months after taking the job.
A team of modders have created a makeshift Splatoon mode for Team Fortress 2.
The economist who worked at Valve is now the new finance minister of Greece.
Valve has updated Steam Trading to include Captcha in a bid to prevent unauthorised trades.
The second fully community-created update for Valve's free-to-play first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 has been released alongside an impressive new short film.
A Russian documentary has included a piece of Team Fortress 2 fanart in an investigation into western propaganda from World War 1.
UPDATE: Day two of the Love and War update for free-to-play multiplayer shooter Team Fortress 2 adds new weapons and items to the game.
In a post on the Team Fortress website, Valve outlined the raft of guns and items added to the game, as well as new achievements.
Weapon highlights include the Back Scatter, which minicrits targets when fired at their back and at close range, the B.A.S.E. Jumper parachute and the Air Strike rocket launcher, which increases attack speed while blast jumping.
A recent survey of 10 million mobile gamers claimed only 2.2 per cent of the free-to-play audience spent any money at all. That's worrying - does it mean developers are deliberately designing games to cater for the minuscule minority rather than the vast majority?
The most popular games on dominant PC download platform Steam are Valve's, with Dota 2 revelling in an estimated 25.9 million owners, and Team Fortress 2 an estimated 20.3 million owners.
"In the first week of 2014, $400k was paid out to content creators", noted Valve during the second Steam Day (summarised on Steamdb) - those content creators being people like you or me who belong to the Team Fortress 2 or Dota 2 communities.
Valve will demonstrate its own Virtual Reality hardware early next year, it's announced.
Surgeon Simulator 2013 players can now operate on the Medic and Heavy from Valve's Team Fortress 2.
The update that adds the characters is free to those who already own the game, which is Ł6.99 on Steam.
The Medic and Heavy play Nigel and Bob in the game, and the whole thing came about after developer Bossa Studios was inspired by Valve's Meet The Medic video.
Virtuix's Omni, a treadmill device that converts your footsteps into in-game movement, has been funded on Kickstarter in a matter of hours.
The company behind Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset for 3D games, has hired Valve's former Team Fortress 2 VR specialist.
Is this the future of video games? Footage of Valve shooter Team Fortress 2 being played on an omnidirectional treadmill and using the Oculus Rift VR headset has been posted online.
It appears Valve's first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 is in line for a new "experimental virtual reality mode" which will enable support for the snazzy Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
Valve will discuss a Team Fortress 2 virtual reality goggles port at the Game Developers Conference in March.
The Christmas sale on mothership Steam has begun.
The Steam for Linux beta has been rolled out like mince pie pastry for everyone to enjoy.
Just install and register to use Steam and you're in.
The list of games available to Linux users of Steam is growing, too. Killing Floor is there as is The Book of Unwritten Tales and Amnesia. There are 39 games available there now.
YouTube user lampenpam has created an impressive mod that rejigs Team Fortress 2 to take place within a 3D recreation of Ed McMillen's horror roguelike The Binding of Isaac.
Such is his influence on the world of videogames and computing that it's a wonder Gabe Newell hasn't been inducted into the prestigious Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame already. This coming February at the 2013 D.I.C.E. summit will be his moment.
Imagine the booming voice of Brian Blessed and read: a limited access beta test for Steam on Linux has begun!
The list of games available has grown quickly to 26. Among them Dungeons of Dredmoor, Frozen Synapse, Trine 2. Larger games include Team Fortress 2 and Serious Sam 3: BFE. There's no sign of Left 4 Dead 2, but we know Valve to be working hard adapting it for Linux.
The beta will begin with a fistful - 1000 - of testers but widen as days and weeks roll by. Valve said 60,000 people filled out the survey required for participation.
How do you get a job in the game industry? According to Valve, all you have to do is give yourself one.
Valve's definitely building wearable computer hardware, because a New York Times writer went inside the company's Seattle HQ, put on a pair of prototype gaming goggles and tested them for himself.
The thing about real-world robots is that they suck. I was raised on a diet of Transformers and Terminator, where stomping machines clank around, whirr into supercool jetplanes and goop through helicopter windows. Back in reality, scientists waste their time fannying about with particles they can't even see and lack the basic skills to make a robot walk like a human. Screw that.
The beta to the major Steam Community update is available to the first 50,000 players who earn the "Pillar of the Steam Community" badge, Valve has announced.
Afterwards, beta access will gradually be doled out until the public launch.
For those who don't want to bother earning badges, the first glimpse at a Steam Game Hub is live with Team Fortress 2.
Valve's revealed a new wave-based co-op mode for long-standing and free-to-play multiplayer cartoon shooter Team Fortress 2.
It's Mann vs. Machine.
Valve has also opened a new office in Luxembourg to better serve its European audience with. Nice place, Luxembourg - has a population of half-a-million and a capital city named Luxembourg.
The most significant change to the Steam terms concerns taking Valve to court over a dispute.
More and more people seem to be using Steam on less powerful PCs.
The employee handbook that hit the internet earlier this year pulled the curtain back on Valve, suggesting staff float about the company's Seattle offices working at desks made of gold and sitting on chairs made of clouds.
Valve has explained how it's able to make decisions despite being "bossless".
Steam Greenlight, Valve's new system for allowing the community to vote on what games get released onto its digital platform, will create fandom, the company has said.
Say hello to rainbows, flowers, musical death-instruments and Balloonicorn - Pyroland has landed in Team Fortress 2.
This technicolour world arrives in today's 400MB free and automatic Team Fortress 2 update. Pyroland is the world as the Pyro sees it.
Share his vision, and general bonkers-ness, by equipping one of the new musical-themed instruments of death (Pyro weapon reskins, it seems), or by equipping the Pyrovision Goggles.
The last in Valve's series of Team Fortress 2 Meet the Team shorts has gone live, delving a little deeper into the disturbed psyche of mysterious masked merc Pyro.
Valve profiles the masked merc.
Source Filmmaker, a free program that lets players make their own animated Team Fortress 2 clips, launches later this year, Valve has announced.
Valve has added a number of weapons to Team Fortress 2 as part of the second day of the Pyromania update.
Six weapons in total are added to the free-to-play shooter: two for the scout, two for the sniper, one for the soldier and one for the pyro. Check them out on Valve's City on Fire page for details and statistics.
The pyro weapon is The Scorch Shot, which will be seen in the hotly-anticipated Meet the Pyro short, set for release later today as the three day TF2 update comes to an end. The Scorch Shot is a flare gun that knocks back your target on hit and ignites enemies in a small radius.
Valve has announced a "massive" update for its free-to-play first-person shooter Team Fortress 2, called Pyromania.
The update, to be spread across three days, goes live today with the launch of Doomsday, a new map with a new game mode.
In Valve's words: "Doomsday pits BLU against RED, with only one team getting the honor of transporting a suitcase nuke full of recalled Mann Co. Australium to American monkeynaut Poopy Joe's rocket, so he can blast off and hunt down Soviet space chimp Vladimir Bananas. It's the same spirit of competitive enterprise that stalled the moon landing by three years when Buzz Aldrin suplexed Neil Armstrong into a pile of folding chairs at Astromania '69! Both teams will attempt to get the necessary fuel up a preposterously slow-moving elevator and into Poopy Joe's Australium-powered rocket to the stars."
Valve's decision to make online shooter Team Fortress 2 free to play was a resounding success, it's said.
Upcoming Valve games Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will support the Razer Hydra PC motion controller.
Valve is selling a virtual ring for use in free-to-play online shooter Team Fortress 2 - for $100.
Valve has teased a secret new Team Fortress 2 project - and it isn't hats.
Valve has announced the second annual Christmas-themed update for free-to-play shooter Team Fortress 2.
The Australian Christmas update part two includes two retro-futuristic "Dr. Grordbort" class packs for the Engineer and Pyro, designed by Weta Workshop's Greg Broadmore.
It adds CP_Foundry, a new five-cap control point map designed by Valve's Team Fortress 2 team and featuring 12 map-specific achievements.
A seasonal Team Fortress 2 PC update, dubbed The Third Annual Scream Fortress Very Scary Halloween Special, is up for download now.
As detailed on the game's official site, it offers a new Halloween-themed map, a boss fight with a giant eyeball called Monoculus, two new achievements, nine costume packs, a heap of new loot and plenty more besides.
It's only available until 6th November, so make haste.
Valve's multiplayer FPS Team Fortress 2 has seen its user base increase by a factor of five since it adopted the free-to-play model earlier this year.
Team Fortress 2 item makers have made over $2 million selling their digital creations, Valve has announced.
Pre-purchasing Football Manager 2012 from Steam gets you a handful of exclusive in-game Team Fortress 2 extras, Valve has announced.
Steam has officially launched its new Trading feature today following last month's open beta.
Quake mod Team Fortress launched 15 years ago today. To celebrate, Valve is giving anyone who plays Team Fortress 2 today a goody bag of TF2 swag.
Valve wants the Xbox Live Arcade version of upcoming shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to feature Steamworks integration.
Gabe Newell sits proudly inside Valve's Gamescom booth knowing his company's latest game, Dota 2, has a fantastic chance of being a huge hit. Outside, hundreds are watching it being played live in a tournament with a huge $1 million grand prize. Online, thousands are poring over every detail. Things are going well.
If you pre-order Deus Ex: Human Revolution on Steam, you'll receive eight new, Deus Ex-themed items in Team Fortress 2.
You can now trade in virtual items for other virtual items through Steam.
Steam Trading Beta lets you do that, and trade Steam gifts: games on Steam you've bought but not yet added to your Games Library.
Currently Team Fortress 2 items and Steam Gifts can be traded.
In the introduction to our very first Game of the Week, I wrote this: "If there's nothing at all we can recommend that week - hey, it might happen - we'll take the opportunity to highlight something from previous weeks that you (or we) might have missed."
This re-review is of the PC and Mac version of Team Fortress 2, now available for free. The console versions, included in The Orange Box, have had comparatively few updates and remain closer to the version tested in our original Team Fortress 2 review from 2007.
Team Fortress 2 has dislodged perennial chart hog Counter-Strike from the top of Steam's most-played list.
Original members now "Premium".
Valve has made its cartoon online shooter Team Fortress 2 free-to-play for PC and Mac.
Multiplayer FPS Team Fortress 2 gets a replay system today via a new PC and Mac update, developer Valve has announced.
Valve has thanked the Team Fortress 2 community for raising an incredible $430,543.65 for the Japanese disaster relief fund.
Last week Valve started offering Team Fortress 2 players three different pieces of limited edition in-game headwear, with all proceeds going to the post-tsunami relief effort in Japan.
On Valve's website sits a profile page, and on that profile page sits an entry for Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek. It reads: "We are all still trying to figure out exactly what it is that Chet does at Valve, but at the very least he occupies office space on the 11th floor as self-proclaimed Mr. Awesome."
Mega developer Valve has launched a public beta for online shooter Team Fortress 2 over three years after its release.
Why? To test "new technologies without the risk of breaking the game", the developer wrote on the Team Fortress 2 blog.
Valve's testing class, item and weapon changes. Mysterious "higher level, game-wide experiments" are going on, too.
Team Fortress 2 players beware! The game's first AI boss beheading your way, clippity-clop, clippity-clop.
He's the Horseless Headless Horsemann, a long lost Mann family member, and he appears randomly on spooky Halloween map Mann Manor. And he wants to kill you - providing the Manor's exploding pumpkins don't get you first.
Those brave enough can face the Horseless Headless Horsemann in battle. Slay him and an achievement awaits. It's called "Sleepy Holl0WND".
In two weeks five modders from the Team Fortress 2 community made between $39,000 and $47,000 selling items through the game's new Mann Co. Store.
A new update for Valve's Team Fortress 2 adds an in-game trading post that lets users purchase new items and upgrades or swap existing gear with other players.
Valve has admitted its "total failure" to update Team Fortress 2 on Xbox 360, but insisted the fault was Microsoft's.
"We thought that there would be something that would emerge," Valve's leader Gabe Newell told PC Gamer.
"We figured it was a sort of untenable... 'Oh yeah, we understand that these are the rules now, but it's such a train wreck that something will have to change.'"
Valve is finally updating the Engineer, the last character class in its multiplayer shooter Team Fortress 2 to get an overhaul.
Valve has announced it is giving away Sam & Max items for use in Team Fortress 2 to people who buy the first episode of the latest Telltale adventure series.
Valve's released the first "bunch" of user-made items and weapons for Team Fortress 2 on Steam.
Valve's evergreen multiplayer shooter (in its PC incarnation anyway), Team Fortress 2, has been patched with a new game mode called Highlander.
The organisers of the Game Developers Conference have announced that Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is to receive the event's Pioneer Award this March.
Valve's unveiled the Team Fortress 2 Contribution Site, where members of the community can make and share weapons and hats and items for use in game.
Valve's been quietly building AI bots for its multiplayer shooter Team Fortress 2 on PC, and it's now ready to let players test them out in beta.
Valve's letting anybody and everybody play Team Fortress 2 this weekend for free.
Valve has put out a patch that addresses a long list of bugs in Left 4 Dead 2, the brilliant co-operative zombie-splatting shooter released earlier this year.
There are changes to hit boxes - the mesh area surrounding a monster that registers hits - and tweaks to the controls of Special Infected. You'll be able to spin the camera when attacked by a Charger or a Smoker, and ghost placement rules have been altered in Scavenge mode.
It's a sum-of-its-parts patch, which is why I've been lazy and pasted the list below.
Publishers and developer are free to drop and raise the price of digitally released games without any penalty to future sales or consumer loyalty, according to Valve's head of Steam, Jason Holtman, as reported on GamesIndustry.biz.
Valve will "cleanse" Team Fortress 2 of all unfairly earned items this week, as part of a new zero tolerance policy towards cheaters.
Valve will introduce a King of the Hill mode to Team Fortress 2 soon, as part of the very first Classless Update.
Valve has updated the Source developer kits to include 10 original Team Fortress 2 maps.
Valve is giving those who've never played Team Fortress 2 the chance to try out the PC version for free this weekend.
Valve plans to release the Sniper update for Team Fortress 2 in "the coming days".
Inside will be three new unlockable weapons, extra Achievements and some maps. Valve will drip-feed specific details on the Team Fortress 2 blog over the next few days.
We do know one of the new weapons will be The Huntsman bow and arrow, which pins prey to walls. Let fly a bolt at someone's head to score an instant critical hit, but beware of the one-second full-power charge and the limited quiver of 18 arrows.
Valve says the Sniper class revamp will arrive in "the largest Team Fortress 2 update yet", which has new maps and gameplay tweaks galore.
Valve has added multicore support to Team Fortress 2, as well as various other nips and tucks that will improve performance in the multiplayer shooter.
Valve founder Gabe Newell opened the DICE summit in Las Vegas yesterday with a talk on his favourite topic: the concept of entertainment as a service, rather than a product.
Valve has said the Scout class for Team Fortress 2 will be revamped next Tuesday 24th February.
Valve's Robin Walker has said on the Team Fortress 2 blog that a new update to the multiplayer shooter is on the way "in the next few days".
The update will bring a couple of extra features for the Spy and Engineer classes. Engineers' teleporters and dispensers will be upgradeable to level 3, while Spies will be able to recharge their cloaking ability by picking up ammo. The update also includes some new user interface features.
"These are just to work on some class balance and depth issues that we've seen in the wild with these two classes, but aren't meant to replace their entire class packs," said Walker. "They will be getting more attention further down the road."
Valve has bundled a whopping Complete Pack of games together on Steam for a quite ridiculous discount price.
Valve has announced that Steam Cloud will launch this week.
Steam Cloud, announced at the end of May, centralises configuration data online so that you can access your controller and multiplayer settings (like spraypaint images for Counter-Strike) from any computer.
In future, Valve intends to centralise save-game data - the idea being that you could delete a Steam game and all its files and still be able to pick it up from the same spot, on any computer, years later.
Valve and EA have no plans to offer downloadable classes or content for Team Fortress 2 on PS3.
Valve has no PlayStation developers, which was why EA had to internally develop The Orange Box for PS3. And that seems to be as far as the enormous publisher wants to go.
"They're not doing ongoing development on The Orange Box for the PS3," Gabe Newell, Valve boss, told 1UP.
Valve has unveiled Natascha, a brand new minigun for the Heavy in Team Fortress 2.
Valve has confirmed the Heavy update for Team Fortress 2 will be released on PC on Tuesday 19th August.
Three new unlockable weapons will be added to the TF2 class, as well as more maps and a brand new gameplay mode. Valve calls this "the largest" update made to the game since launch.
Specific details on alterations and additions will be staggered to appear on the Heavy website between now and next Tuesday.
The next Team Fortress 2 class to be given some new toys will be the Heavy, and Valve wants your help to dream up ideas.
Valve has given more details of what will be in the Pyro update coming to Team Fortress 2 PC this Thursday.
For starters, you can expect a "significant improvement" for the bog-standard flamethrower. Pressing the alternate fire button now produces a gust of compressed air that sends enemies flying and even redirects hostile projectiles.
So yes, you will be able to turn rockets back on their launchers, get blazing victims away from you pronto, and keep enemy medics away from their patients.
Valve has prepared a fresh dish of Pyro updates for Team Fortress 2, which will be served to you this Thursday.
Wafting their aroma up your nostrils will be three unlockable weapons as well as 35 new Steam achievements for the class - you must earn a certain amount of these to extend your arsenal.
The Pyro is the second class to be given a seeing to, after the medic got some fancy new guns earlier in the year.
EA has sneakily released a beefy patch to address problems with The Orange Box on PS3.
The 1.10 update is 128 MB, and unhelpfully has no associated documentation to outline the changes.
Early reports suggest friends not appearing on lists and certain accounts not connecting to the EA servers should no longer be a problem.
Valve has said it will be releasing the separate components of The Orange Box in shops from 11th April.
Valve has patched The Orange Box on Xbox 360 to fix and tweak a few bits and bobs in Team Fortress 2.
The awaited-since-they-announced-it Team Fortress 2 free update introducing the Badlands map is due to hit today at 11am PST, which is 7pm in old money.
On a recent trip to Germany to see Left 4 Dead, of which more soon, we sat down with Valve's VP of marketing Doug Lombardi to talk about things. Things like Portal, and whether we'll see an Orange Box 2. Like everyone at Valve, Doug's job title is a bit misleading; he does a broad range of things across the company, and has even - as he points out here - dabbled in development to some extent. He also plays Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead with us when we fly over to see Valve, which is nice of him (it's nice of him to let us win all the time, too). Anyway, enough being nice about Doug - here are a few selected excerpts from our discussion, with more to come when we're allowed to talk about what the developer was actually in Germany to show off...
Valve has confirmed that new Team Fortress 2 map Goldrush will be available "within the month".
Electronic Arts has announced it plans to make the components of The Orange Box available separately.
Valve has popped out a fresh update for the PC version of Team Fortress 2.
Valve has leaked details of its bulging content package for Team Fortress 2, which will be stuffed with unlockable weapons and a fresh game mode.
Valve is planning to release two more maps for Team Fortress 2 "within the next two months", according to TF2 superhero Robin Walker.
German PC gamers are being invited to try Team Fortress 2 out for free this weekend.
Google "Valve's Gabe Newell and PS3" and you'll see why I approached this review with some trepidation.
Valve's Gabe Newell comes down hard on PS3
Valve: PS3 a "total disaster on so many levels"
Valve has revealed that it will be adding more Achievements to games on Steam, starting with extra rewards for Team Fortress 2 in the coming weeks.
The Orange Box on Xbox 360 is definitely amazing, but Team Fortress 2 players have also been complaining of amazing lag, so Valve has released an update that it reckons fixes it.
Chief amongst the TF2 enhancements in the new patch are reductions in network bandwidth usage, improvements to overall game performance, and adjustments to the search facility so ranked games are found with greater ease and results are set to favour preferred host conditions.
You should find yourself downloading it next time you fire up the game, thanks to Xbox Live's mum-when-you're-ill ability to know exactly what you need.
Gamers based in the USA who bought Orange Box product keys from an online retailer in Thailand are having their copies of the game deactivated, and they're not happy about it.
You might imagine they fancy a night off after ten years making it, but the boys and girls at Valve are actually quite happy playing Team Fortress 2 - and now they want to take you on.
The Demoman is the latest Team Fortress 2 character to get his own special little video, so we've popped it in our own special little video place, Eurogamer TV.
Valve has finally released The Orange Box on Steam!
Yesterday Eurogamer TV showed you what playing Team Fortress 2 as an Engineer would feel like: building turrets, fixing and upgrading machines, or shooting people in their silly faces with your shotgun.
Tom's already heaped praise on Valve's long-awaited Team Fortress 2, due to arrived with other delights in the ridiculously generous Orange Box later this month. But with the beta already up-and-running, today EGTV brings you the first of our exclusive character class gameplay showcases: the Engineer.
Those of you pre-ordering The Orange Box on Steam will now be able to play the Team Fortress 2 beta.
It will give you a chance to try out Valve's new cartoon-style multiplayer masterpiece, the same one we just today called, well, lots of things - all variations on "fantastic".
The Orange Box costs USD 49.95 on the digital distribution service, and pre-purchasers will be given a 10 per cent discount as well as a free copy of Peggle Extreme.
Thanks to failing eyesight (thanks, Suicide Girls) and this newfangled obsession with making everything look gritty, online FPS games are harder for me than ever. Half the time I can't pick people out from the environment until it's too late. Even in Counter-Strike, which is clearer than most, I often get popped in the head by a distant Colt and then have to cycle the chase-cameras to work out who killed me and from where.
So it's important to start this review by jumping up and down waving excitedly about Team Fortress 2's brilliant graphics: not only is everything extremely clear and intuitive, with character classes that you can easily distinguish at distance, but when you get killed the game crash-zooms to and freeze-frames your killer, so you can immediately identify who, why, how and where. Other FPS developers: copy this immediately.
Making a complicated team-based online FPS like Team Fortress into an accessible experience was obviously one of Valve's objectives. Each map comes with a short video that tells you about the game-type and goals; all the level architecture is distinct when you move between sections, with big sign-posts telling you which capture-point or area you're heading to; and all the weapons and abilities are really intuitive, like the Medic's healing gun, which fires health into your target and illustrates this by pumping little red crosses along the stream.
If news of next week's Team Fortress 2 beta has got you excited, you'll want to check out today's Meet the Engineer video to ride that high a bit further.
Valve has made The Orange Box available to pre-order on Steam ahead of what is now a 10th October activation date - and those who pre-order will be able to play the Team Fortress 2 beta from 17th September.
Orange Box will sell for USD 49.95 on Steam, and pre-purchases will get a 10 percent discount on that price, as well as a free copy of Peggle Extreme.
The compilation release - which consists of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal - is also being produced for Xbox 360 and PS3. The 360 version will launch at the same time (at European retail 12th October) while the PS3 version is due a few weeks later.
In light of recent chatter about Stranglehold having cost USD 30 million to make, we thought we'd ask Valve's Gabe Newell how much Orange Box ran to. "I don't know," he told us at Games Convention. "We don't track that."
Gosh! It seems like only 3 months and 8 days ago that we last sat down for half an hour with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, which is probably because that was when we last sat down with him. He said lots of things back then, so for our Games Convention chat this past week we were able to skip some of the pleasantries and talk in more depth about Orange Box, Steam, Wii controls and which is better PlayStations or Xboxes. Only kidding. Sort of. Plus we talked about those excellent TF2 movie shorts - have you watched the Soldier one yet? Read on also for Gabe using a swearword, which we think is an exclusive. Enjoy.
Do you remember the Heavy Weapons Guy video that Valve did to promote Team Fortress 2? Of course you do, because it was ace. Well, they're doing another one.
Word on the vine of grapes is that Valve has narrowed down Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal's cluster-release to 9th October.
The date comes courtesy of Shacknews, who spoke to Valve about it yesterday. When we popped over last month they were saying October, so it would seem to tally with that.
If the games do emerge on 9th October on Steam and at US retail though, we'd anticipate a wait of a few days before they emerge in UK shops, which traditionally toss out new games on Fridays.
Valve has told Eurogamer that it has no intention of charging customers who download additional content for games like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2, despite the widely spread increase of paid-for updates in the PC and console world.
Team Fortress 2 is shaping up to be one of the multiplayer PC games of the year (providing it comes out in this one, obviously). In and around our recent playtest, we were able to ask designer Robin Walker a bunch of questions about the decisions behind it, and the plan going forward beyond release. What follows is a selection of topics raised during the hours we spent in Robin's company, all knitted together fancily so it looks neat and tidy and you can read through it easily. You wouldn't want the raw transcript - it's epic, and we said a lot of stupid things. We're not very clever really. Enjoy.
In Team Fortress 2, Valve's fort-versus-fort multiplayer FPS, the devs have tried to apply the lessons they learned about iterative design to a multiplayer game. It is, in designer Robin Walker's words, "the first time we've got our shit together enough to do this" (and they've had a few goes - TF2 was originally announced in 1998). One of the words we hear a lot is "pacing". "We've always thought of pacing as a crafted thing in single-player," says Walker. "We spent a lot of time in Half-Life 2 crafting the highs and lows." Now TF2 has them - instead of standing around defending the base ("a flat experience"), you're forced to deal with rapidly evolving situations, like a Medic and Heavy Weapons Guy combining to capitalise on the former's temporary burst of invulnerability. When an enemy moves your flag, it will take 30 seconds to return to its home even if you touch it, forcing you to adjust your area of defensive focus. Similarly, get halfway through capturing a control point before death and your partial control will gradually diminish, giving the next wave the chance to resume the attack, and forcing the defending team to keep more of an eye on it. The dynamic changes minute to minute.
Originally published on GamesIndustry.biz, today's wide-ranging interview with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell touches on everything from the decision to extend Half-Life 2 episodically and introduce advertising to online multiplayer game Counter-Strike, to the future of the Steam business and what to expect from the next five years of gaming hardware. It also offers an insight into how Valve is structured, and why the developer believes listening to its customers is paramount to its success.
Valve's legion of fans can start drawing whacking great circles around October, according to marketing director Doug Lombardi.
Valve says there is no technical reason why Team Fortress 2 players on the PC running Windows Vista couldn't play with and against Team Fortress 2 players on the Xbox 360.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Team Fortress 2 will both support the advanced functions introduced in Windows Vista's DirectX 10 API.
Valve says that Team Fortress 2 is "really moving along in development", adding that daily playtests are an office highlight.
Half-Life 2: Episode 2 today moved one step closer to completion as EA announced a winter (2007/2008) release date for the retail version of the game (last we heard it was summer).
GC: Valve opens up in Leipzig
Valve's trio of new titles - Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal - will be shown in real-time at the Leipzig Games Convention.
"We'll have a real-time demo of the games behind closed doors," Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi told Eurogamer last night.
"It will not be playable, but will be new, never-before-seen items."
Valve Software is planning to show off Half-Life 2: Episode Two along with bonus add-ons Team Fortress 2 and Portal at the Leipzig Games Convention.
Just last week, you may recall, Valve announced that Half-Life 2: Episode 2 will ship with the long-awaited sequel to Team Fortress.
They also presented a rather spanky trailer showcasing TF2's new cartoon-style graphics and character classes - and now it's yours to view over on Eurogamer TV.
Team Fortress 2 is due to ship alongside Ep 2 at the end of this year on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, if everything goes to plan. Here's hoping it does.
In a really rather exciting presentation at EA's Studio Showcase in San Francisco, Valve has announced that Half-Life 2: Episode 2 will launch on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC simultaneously - and that's only the start of it.
Studio founder Gabe Newell was on hand to deliver the news, and to inform the audience that the console version will come complete with the original HL2 and Ep 1 for "the entire Half-Life experience."
Newell also revealed that Ep 2 will ship with a brand new FPS game called Portal. Set in the Half-Life universe, it sees you armed with some kind of crazy gun which allows you to create, well, portals. You can use them to transport yourself across rooms, or to teleport an object from one place to another - perhaps so that it falls out of the portal you've created to land smack bang on an enemy's head, for example.