Video: Valve Software, "Meet the Engineer"
Along with an announcement yesterday of a pre-order price for the upcoming "Orange Box" collection of games from Valve software—perhaps one of the best gaming deals of recent memory, including Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, Portal, and a 10-level version of Peggle, as well as access to the original Half-Life 2 and HL2: Episode 1 for just $45 when pre-ordered over the digital download service Steam—Valve also released the third in their "Meet the" trailer series for the multiplayer online team shooter, Team Fortress 2.
Even if you aren't convinced that Valve makes some of the most subtle, thoughtful, and well-polished games in the industry—and they do—the trailers they've been releasing describing the character classes in Team Fortress 2 have been top shelf. The art direction, revealed last year, was already shockingly tasteful, inspired heavily by The Incredibles, with more style than any given hyper-realistic "gritty" titles out there. (And if you're going to crib a style, you could do much worse than The Incredibles, which has some of the greatest art direction in cinema, animated or not.) But once we saw that art in motion, it was clear that Valve was continuing to do what so few other game makers can manage, making avatars that are collections of attributes and weapons into full-fledged characters with memorable, accessible personalities.
And remember, these are characters for a multiplayer shooter. Team Fortress 2 doesn't even have a plot.
Even if you don't play games at all, I have no qualms at all about showing you the trailers for this game. Even my non-gamer friends, once I've shown them the first, have been excited when I told them there was a new short to be shared.
(If you'd like to pre-purchase the Orange Box, you can buy it online from Steam, or just wait until it's in the store for a retail copy. It'll also be available for Xbox 360, should your gaming PC rig be sluggish. You can also download HD-quality versions of the clips via Steam.)
Video: "Meet the Heavy"
Video: "Meet the Soldier"