CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF TEAM FORTRESS 2: WHY IS IT STILL SO POPULAR? 

Logo of the game currently used.

Team Fortress 2 (TF2) is a multiplayer, team-based, first-person shooter game which has long dominated the genre. The consistent support and popularity the game has received can largely be credited to the devoted fanbase that’s been there since the game’s release in October 2007. The game still ranks in the top 10 most played games on video game distributor Steam and 93% of its reviews are positive out of nearly 900,000.  

The game has of course, had some ups and downs. The recent bot crisis, in which bot accounts en-masse invaded the game and were blatantly cheating, seriously put the game at risk until the creators (Valve), intervened after a massive campaign from popular TF2 Youtubers and creators to save the game with the now infamous hashtag used being #SaveTF2.  

Source #SAVETF2 by

Despite this, the game continues, sheltering yet another threat to its existence. Since becoming free-to-play in 2011, the attraction for the game can also be attributed to its accessibility. Spending money in the game does not affect the way you play. This is extremely attractive to many gamers who wish to hone their skills on a game without having to rely on their bank card. Valve knows this and it’s why they have kept the same marketing idea since then and have made it an extremely profitable title to their long list of games. 

Turning attention back to its fanbase, the people who play TF2 have practically grown up with it, so there’s almost a fanatical devotion to the game even when it has its bad moments. A prime example of this is when the voice actor, Rick May who voices one of the playable characters in the game Soldier, sadly died in 2020 due to Covid-19. Players in the game were devastated by the news and turned out in tribute to pay respects by filling up servers with only his character.  

Player’s line up as Soldiers on the bridge of the popular map, 2Fort to pay their respects to Rick May.
Credit: Kyle O’Hara 

The other attractive factor that keeps the game afloat is the unique personalities of the characters. TF2 has a total of nine characters, referred to as ‘classes’ in the game. Each class has their own play style, weapons and yes, even an origin story. The simplicity of the names given to each class is clearly designed for both remembrance and to show what each one does in one or two words.  

Medic, is quite simply that, he is the German healer of the team and everyone loves you for it. Scout is fast and energetic and with a thick Boston accent as well as a bloated ego. Heavy is the slowest but arguably the deadliest as his machine gun cuts through the team and speaks with a Russian accent. Demoman is the stereotypical Scottish drunk with one eye who lobs bombs at the opposing team. Engineer is the soft-spoken Texan and the brains of the team as he constructs automated sentry guns. Spy is the deceitful Frenchman who can disguise himself as your own team member. Soldier is a patriotic American who can do great damage at close range with his rocket launcher. The Sniper, an Aussie with a crack shot at range with his sniper rifle and less helpful at close quarters. And finally, Pyro is a psychopathic maniac who lights everything on fire and we aren’t really sure where he’s from as we never hear him speak, just muffles.  

From left to right from the top: Sniper, Spy, Engineer, Demoman, Soldier, Pyro, Medic, Heavy and Scout.
Credit: GameBanana 

After 15 years of development and somewhat frequent updates, TF2 is certainly worth a play, it’s free after all. As its 16th anniversary approaches, TF2 is sure to enjoy many more with the love and care it receives from its dedicated player base.

Published by Kyle O'Hara

Aspiring journalist and writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. Enjoys history and politics and currently an editor of entertainment at City Live, City of Glasgow College news website.

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