One countdown ends, and another begins - such is life in the company of Valve. A timer heralding a mystery Team Fortress 2 update ticked its last during the night, but no patch is yet forthcoming. Instead we have a name - the Love and War update - and a glorious, 15 minute short in the style we’ve become accustomed to.
Valve point out that Expiration Date is their, er, longest short to date - a “relatively epic” quarter of an hour. As such, it takes pointers not from its predecessors, but from the plots of the TF2 comics. It could be said that Expiration Date has a story arc.
We won’t reveal too much: but it begins with a disconcerting discovery made by RED team’s resident “eggheads”, Engineer and Medic, leads naturally enough through a date-training montage, and culminates in an encounter with sentient bread.
TF2’s engine may be beginning to show its age, but Valve’s characterful direction certainly isn’t - recalling Brad Bird’s work on The Incredibles. Please do a feature film, Valve.
Most pertinently, the short teases some brand new taunts coming to TF2 in the Love and War update: conga dancing, square dancing, flipping, “hand-based games of chance”, and “the ultimate expression of affection, administering traumatic brain injury directly to a teammate’s skull”. Did you spot them all?