Team Fortress 2 easily finds its place as one of the most influential and widely loved FPS titles of all time. Released back in 2007, the game stood as the prime example of what made more casual PC FPS games great for years, remaining popular today despite the encroaching influence of bad actors. Yet, regardless of the games ongoing love, there’s no question that’s starting to show its age.
Understanding this, a group of dedicated fans going by the moniker Amper have taken it upon themselves to rebuild the game in a new engine. Though efforts like these usually fail due to licensing issues, there is a serious chance that this upgrade might succeed, bringing millions of fans back into the fold.
An Engine of Change
When it was first developed, TF2 was utterly unlike the project it would become. Adopting a more realistic style like its predecessors, the original design featured characters similar to the enemies fought in Half-Life, perhaps unsurprising considering they shared the same engine. Eventually, of course, this design would change to focus on a more cartoonishly stylised aesthetic, earning international acclaim for the effort.
This change wasn’t limited to simple visuals either, as the engine behind the game, the GoldSrc engine, would itself undergo significant change. Eventually, TF2 was switched over to the updated Source engine, after which it was continually patched to add new features and flair. Though many engine shifts are typically expensive and difficult to implement, the fact that the Source engine was an update to GoldSrc rather than a complete redesign aided in streamlining the process. As it just so happens, this is the exact path followed by the new unofficial update, as the fans attempt to move TF2 from the Source engine to Source 2.
While redesigns along these lines are rare, they’re not unheard of in the world of interactive entertainment. One of the most common examples of this can be found in the ecosystem of online gambling, like with the many different eCheck casinos. In their current state, these casinos offer a wide range of different features like free spins, deposit matches, and payment systems. They weren’t always this way, however, as casinos evolved massively over time to adapt to new technologies like HTML. This wasn’t just for the websites either, as even the games had to be completely rebuilt when moving from older Macromedia Flash to newer interactive frameworks.
Though fan rebuilds of games typically face the wrath of the games’ original publishers, this is an area where Team Fortress owner Valve has been surprisingly progressive. As was seen with the fan game Hunt Down the Freeman, Valve is very willing to give licenses to unofficial products. Given that Hunt Down the Freeman was notoriously terrible, and the TF2 rebuild appears of much higher quality, our hopes for the new game remain high.
As for when this TF2 rebuild could hit digital shelves, this much remains in question. Still in the early days, it could be years before the first public beta arrives, and that’s if the project is (hopefully) allowed to continue. Even then, the rebuild would still need to address the current issues dragging down the official TF2, namely the reliance on matchmaking over dedicated servers and the ever-present botting concern. If the rebuild does beat the odds, however, you can bet that we’ll be there, and we’ll still hate players who play sniper and spy.