Last week I got to talk to the king of war-themed hat simulator Team Fortress 2, Robin Walker, about the team's future plans for the game. They've now released an update for each of the game's nine player classes, but that doesn't mean they're done. In fact, the next update will likely be out next month (Valve time), and it's going to add item trading, a brand new game mode, and around twenty new weapons and hats. Here's the intel.
Item trading has been the big, glaring omission from all the interesting stuff Valve have been doing with drops, unlocks and taped-on monocles since the Medic update in 2008. Now, at last, you'll be able to swap your Vintage Merryweather for your friend's Prussian Picklehaube .
The weapons and hats are from the Polycount contest , which we've previously covered. We knew they'd be going into the game sometime, but not when. We also didn't know that they wouldn't be treated like normal community items, which normally only get minor attributes because Valve don't have time to playtest anything more drastic.
"It's a reflection of the amount of time we had to spend on them," Robin says, "and us being very safe. I think the Crit-a-Cola was designed the day before it went out, to be honest, which is terrifying. But sometimes we can think of something that you can make a pretty educated guess on, yeah, this is going to work out. We definitely have lowballed those in the past, in that we've chosen something that's more underpowered than overpowered, because we can just make it a little better later. The Polycount items have had a lot more time on them as a whole, so, we're doing more interesting stuff there than in general we have with the other items."
They'll also be including an extra Polycount pack that wasn't among the announced winners, as a special surprise - "now not a surprise," says Robin.
"Fail." He adds.
No specifics on the new game mode yet - Robin says "We'll probably start talking about that stuff soon once we've figured out how to talk about it." Clearly it's Cthulhu themed, and they're having trouble pronouncing " Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn ". All he could utter with his mortal tongue was "We're going to ship a new game mode, and then we have a couple of other exciting features that we've been working on for a while that should be really really fun."
It's pronounced 'fhtagn'.
Lastly, I couldn't resist asking about the Spy's new knife, as he's never had a new one before Chemical Alia's Saharan Spy pack.
PC Gamer: Have you figured out what the Spy's knife should do yet?
Robin: Yes. Yeah.
PC Gamer: And?
PC Gamer: It's facestabs, isn't it?
Robin: No, we've actually finally hired someone who can write the code to prevent facestabs and that's the feature. It can't do facestabs, that's the negative!
PC Gamer: No-one will use that!
We'll have more on Valve's plans, plus weird tales of fairy games and electric shocks, in our special Valve issue on sale September 1st.