Working on a successor to Team Fortress 2 could be a solution to misunderstandings about the 2007 game, a key Valve employee has said.
Robin Walker has helped Team Fortress 2 benefit from a significant array of enhancements since its initial release four years ago.
The game, widely acclaimed upon release, has benefited from over 200 Steam updates to keep it fresh for its fans. Updates have included an in-game microtransaction market and, most recently, a video replay feature.
And yet that striking transformation – one that embodies Valve’s ‘entertainment as a service’ credo – has become tricky to communicate to the wider games market.
“The choice is that work on Team Fortress 3 would solve some problems but create other ones,” Robin Walker told Develop in a newly published interview.
He appeared to suggest that work on the project has not commenced.
“Maybe the shift to that new project could be in a few years. Maybe it could be tomorrow. Maybe it was six months ago and we should have made the decision to shift to a new project, and we missed it,” he said.
“TF2 has changed significantly since it was first shipped. Customers who consumed its marketing message three years ago might not have been interested in playing but might be really interested today, because the game has changed so much.”
Walker was one of three pioneers of the original Team Fortress mod for Quake. In March 1998, Valve asked him to build a similar mod for the first Half-Life game. He has worked at the company ever since, and has dedicated much of his time on the Team Fortress franchise.
He told Develop “maybe there is a value in having a fully updated version called TF3, to again communicate to those fans that the series has moved on.
“Maybe, I don’t know. Doing so would create problems of its own.”
The Team Fortress 2 development philosophy of consistent updates, and releasing related entertainment media, will be carried to numerous Valve projects.
Studio president Gabe Newell told Develop that the episodic development philosophy has been replaced wholesale by the ‘games as a service’ model.
“We went through the episodes phase, and now we’re going towards shorter and even shorter cycles,” he said.
“If you look at Team Fortress 2, that’s what we now think is the best model for what we’ve been doing,” Newell said.
“Our updates and release model on [Team Fortress 2] keeps on getting shorter and shorter.”
THE VALVE MANIFESTO
Valve’s comments are drawn from a new six-page feature in Develop magazine issue 116.
The feature draws from interviews with ten key staff at the company. It is available online now, and throughout the rest of the week Develop will publish five separate Q&As with key studio staff.