One of the most famous companies in the PC gaming world, Valve, is known to keep its fans guessing with extremely elaborate Alternate Reality Games (ARG). One of the most talked about, elaborate and grand ARGs that the studio had done was for the release of the Portal 2 in early 2011. Recently, Valve admitted to starting a new ARG, which it claims to be bigger than anything it has done before.
Valve admitted to the ARG on its blog for the popular team-based multiplayer first person shooter (FPS), Team Fortress 2. The Valve team was worried players would take weeks to figure out the puzzle. According to the blog post, the puzzle was the team's “most fiendishly difficult ARG yet, involving roughly 5000 individual pieces of data that had to be painstakingly collected and decoded by equipping specific items and then performing even more specific actions in-game.” The post states that the puzzle may have been needlessly complex and that some among the Team Fortress team were worried that they might have gone to an extreme with this ARG.
Team Fortress 2 may get a new faction!
However, in only twelve hours, players and ARG enthusiasts put the community’s collective brainpower together to solve the puzzle, which uncovered a mysterious link at 2:46 AM PDT on August 12. “Also, if we're being honest, a little giddy at the possibilities, because if you can apply yourselves this commandingly to a goofy online puzzle for a war-themed hat simulator, next time we'll think big and ask you to construct a manned space shuttle to Mars or something.” The ARG has implications that there could be a new faction to play as, along with a new gamemode named Mann vs. Machine.
Team Fortress 2 is one of the most famous multiplayer FPSs in the world. The game was originally sold as as part of The Orange Box in 2007. The Orange Box had five games: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Since the game went free-to-play in 2011, Team Fortress 2 had taken over Counter-Strike as the most played multiplayer game, according to statistics on Steam, Valve's popular digital distribution service. Valve has supported the game ever since its release in 2007 with regular updates and new additions such as new weapons and new maps. The game also has a robust modding community that can add new weapons and vanity items such as hats in the in-game store where players can buy what they’re interested in.
Team Fortress 2 revolves around two teams, Blu and Red, fighting it out against each other over territory. The game sports a cartoon look with gratuitous violence and a 1950s art aesthetic. Each team has nine classes for players to pick from, each class wildly different from the other in terms of gameplay and weapons. Classes vary greatly, from the slow but powerful Heavy wielding a minigun, to the lightning fast and easy-to-kill Scout, who runs around with a Shotgun.
As part of a promotion for the game, Valve had made a series of trailers in the form of introductions for the character classes, titled Meet the Team. These videos showed off the gameplay of the characters as well as some bizarre personality quirks, such as the Sniper explaining to his father that he is not a sociopath; he’s just an assassin.
Team Fortress 2 is a free-to-play title available on Steam.