Here’s your bi-annual update on where TF2’s Mann vs Machine mode’s at: it goes on. The menn cannot be reconciled with their better-bolted counterparts, and so one continues to shoot waves of the other until death comes, and all parties are sent back to the start.
So it will go on, but in different neighbourhoods. In the first half of Valve’s Two Cities update, the mercs will be shipped from the familiar brown gravel pits of the Badlands to Mannhattan, where they’ll defend the manufacturing arm of Saxton Hale's boutique Mhankö line.
The robot hordes of the US faux-capital have street smarts beyond those we’ve come to expect - they’ll advance their own spawn points, and introduce new bombs into the map, shaking up a game formerly about very little but brute force.
Mannhattan’s map is named Snakewater - a control point affair built by community creator Toivo Sawen.
“It's been battle-tested in competitive matches around the world,” say Valve. “And it's now an official part of TF2. But one thing it is not is a city, because this is the Two Cities Update and we're announcing a second city tomorrow. So for the record, Snakewater is more of a mill town than a city.”
Yes: Mannhattan is the first of two stops in what’ll be the Two Cities Tour, which will operate in the usual fashion. But the loot gained from completing the Tour will be out of the ordinary. You’ll be automatically granted a Killstreak Kit, for starters, which can be applied liberally to any weapon to transform it into its ‘Killstreak’ variant. You’ll also get a fabricator and spare parts, used to craft rarer Kits and imbue your weapon will new visual effects.
If you’re especially lucky, you might even land an Australium weapon. Gasp.
Elsewhere in this first of two cities, players will find nine new achievements, a comprehensive stats page and the chance of a refund on their entry ticket if their team collects enough in-game dosh. So that’s nice, isn’t it?