We're off to meet the Pyro, the wonderful Pyro of 2Fort.
To those that are interested in the goings on of the Team Fortress 2 universe it's no big surprise that this week marks the release of the Meet the Pyro video which consequently is also the last of the "Meet the Team" videos that is set to be released. There's the usual Easter Egg hunting, and the update promises to be a huge mess of fun (and other things), but stopping to reflect (much like a Pyro reflects a rocket), a thought of great magnitude occurs to me.
Team Fortress 2 has been updating and staying relevant for nearly six years now.
The first "Meet the Team" video, which was "Meet the Heavy" was released in 2007, a little over five years ago by the time I'm typing this. Many games would kill to get enough longevity to be able to have people actually care that they've released something five or six years after the game first launched.
Not to mention that this update should be roughly, if not the, 300th update that the game has received since launch. It might not be too far off to venture that Team Fortress 2 is more popular now then it was during any point in the past, since it's still receiving a lot of players thanks to being free to play, and getting some bigger names in the form of various Youtube personalities.
I think that again, it's the mindset that Valve has taken with this game that has made the difference. Of all the things that have been speculated at different points, I don't think I've ever heard anyone musing that a Team Fortress 3 is on the horizon anytime soon (if you want to make a joke about Valve being triskaphobic then feel free), but you can't say there hasn't been a lot of work put into the current game. They've constantly been releasing new weapons, maps, the occasional gamemode, and stuff like going free to play and the in-game microtransactions.
There's nothing to really stop any other game like a Call of Duty or Battlefield title from doing the same thing, but it honestly seems like they're more content to get the sequel lined up then spend a lot of effort into improving the multiplayer aspect of the game once it actually goes live. There's patches and some sporadic updates, but nothing to this level.
Most people would chalk it up to "duh, Valve" and think nothing more of it, but really I think it's because Team Fortress 2 has been a game that has never taken itself too seriously, even from the outset. There's a lot of diversity, and although one could argue about the overall friendliness of the environment, I think that on the whole the community is pretty okay. People got used to being in it for the long haul, and by adopting that mindset the game as a whole has gained a longevity that I can't see fading away anytime soon.
After this, who's to say what's next. Whatever it is, I'm sure that it'll be just as insane.