Team Fortress 2 is a team-based first-person shooter (FPS) multiplayer video game developed by Valve Corporation. It is a sequel to the original mod Team Fortress and its GoldSrc engine remake. It was first released as part of the video game compilation The Orange Box on October 10, 2007 for Windows and the Xbox 360. A PlayStation 3 version then followed on November 22, 2007. The game was later released as a standalone package for Windows on April 9, 2008, for OS X two years later, and for Linux on February 14, 2013. Team Fortress 2 is distributed online through the digital retailer Steam, while retail distribution was handled by Electronic Arts. On June 23, 2011, the game became a free-to-play title, supported by microtransaction for unique in-game equipment through Steam. The development of Team Fortress 2 is led by John Cook and Robin Walker, who originally created the Team Fortress modification for Quake in 1996.
The game was announced in 1998, and was first powered by Valve's GoldSrc engine, but this changed as it passed through several different design stages. In 1999, the game appeared to be deviating from its predecessors by pursuing a more realistic and militaristic style of gameplay, but its design metamorphosed over an eventual nine-year development period. The final rendition sports cartoon style visuals influenced by the art of J. C. Leyendecker, Dean Cornwell and Norman Rockwell and is powered by the Source engine. The game itself revolves around two teams, each with access to nine distinct characters, battling in a variety of game modes set in different environments or maps, often with a factory-warehouse theme.
The lack of information or apparent progress for six years of the game's original development caused it to be labeled as vaporware, and it was regularly featured in Wired News annual vaporware list among other ignominies. Upon its release, the game received critical acclaim and several awards, being praised for its graphical style, balanced gameplay, humor and for its use of full character personalities in a dedicated multiplayer-only game.
Like its predecessors, Team Fortress 2 is focused around two opposing teams, Reliable Excavation & Demolition (RED) and Builders League United (BLU) competing for a combat-based principal objective. Players can choose to play as one of nine classes in these teams, each with his own unique strengths, weaknesses and weapons. Although the abilities of a number of classes have changed from earlier Team Fortress incarnations, the basic elements of each class have remained, that being one primary weapon, one secondary weapon, and one melee weapon. The game was released with six official maps, although 44 extra maps, 9 arena maps, 8 king of the hill maps, and various other map types have been included in subsequent updates. In addition, a number of community assembled maps have been released. When players join a level for the first time, an introductory video shows how to complete its objectives. During matches, "The Administrator", a woman voiced by Ellen McLain, announces various game events over loudspeakers. The player limit is 16 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. On the PC, in 2008 Valve updated Team Fortress 2 to include a server variable that allows up to 32 players. Third party modifications have made it possible to host up to 54 players on one server.
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