For a game notoriously bereft of major updates, Team Fortress 2 sure does seem to be everywhere recently. Or, more specifically, its voice cast is. When they're not scouring suburban America for sandwiches, they're performing adaptations of Europop classics (also for sandwiches). But now they've embarked on their strangest, most avant-garde quest yet: Playing Team Fortress 2.
The video was put together by a TF2 YouTuber named ShorK, and features Dennis Bateman (TF2's Spy and Pyro), Gary Schwartz (The Heavy and Demoman), Robin Atkin Downes (The Medic), John Patrick Lowrie (The Sniper), and Ellen McLain (The Administrator) as they play a few rounds of TF2 as the characters they voice. How good are they? Well, uh… Look, it's their first time playing, alright?
That's right. Apparently, in the 16 years since TF2 released, none of the voice actors featured have actually tried the game for themselves prior to this video. I find that a little hard to believe, but a couple of them do remark that it's their first time playing, and I suppose it's plausible that they've never really played it for more than a few minutes before (and that, busy people that they are, they subsequently forgot everything about it).
It's a treat to watch, even if it's not exactly tournament-level play. The stars of the show have got to be McLain and Lowrie, who are married in real life. McLain derives a lot of glee from watching Lowrie skitter around the map as a Sniper with only the barest conception of what's actually going on, fruitlessly attempting to score headshots without ever discovering the button for his scope.
That doesn't seem to hamper his enjoyment, though: "This is a lot of fun. I should play this game more," he remarks as he fires off a volley of noscope shots in the direction of his own medic. He's had a lot of fun with it over on Twitter, too.
"An unflinching exposé of voice-actor game play!" – The Unflinching Exposé Weekly"These professionals have standards!" – The Sniper Review"To be fair, they're pretty old." – The If You Can't Say Anything Nice Daily Journal https://t.co/Px5VUTTYqRApril 2, 2023
No one else does much better. Schwartz eventually abandons The Heavy's minigun for the bloodrush of pure hand-to-hand combat, stymied only by his inability to actually get close enough to anyone to hit them. Bateman attempts to use The Spy's signature weapon—the butterfly knife—without ever getting behind anyone, leaving him to slash impotently at their chests.
Meanwhile, Atkin Downes simply unites with his fellow Doktors, and tries to protect every medic in the game from violence, including those on the opposite side. It's a beautiful display of class consciousness that eventually costs his team the match.
In fairness, the players on the opposite team seem to know who they're fighting: Most of them present themselves on a silver platter, letting the actors chalk up some easy kills. I suspect they might not have had quite such a good time if they'd been airdropped into a random public server.
I don't get the impression that the prolific weirdness from TF2's voice actors is building up to anything, even if it is getting a "holiday-sized update" soon after much cajoling from the playerbase. Instead, I think it's just a product of the cast rather enjoying both their characters and each other's company. Regardless of what happens to the game itself, I hope there's a lot more yet to come.