TF2's Meet the Pyro and Pyromania: A Writer's Perspective

Before finishing this, I was watching a series of tutorials.

Instead of having the usually scheduled yMusic, I'm going to dip into one of the few video games I play, even on a monthly basis: Team Fortress 2.

Specifically,  the Meet the Pyro video, the Pyromania update, and how this event affects the future of the game.

Don't worry if you don't know anything about TF2, even though this post is mostly aimed at players of the game. I have something for you writers and bookworms too.

Because TF2 shines with its out-of-game material.

Meet the Pyro

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

Meet the Pyro is the last installment of a series of videos highlighting each of the nine player characters. Considering this is video game writing, Valve does a great job with making every character memorable, even though their radically distinctive appearances already do their part.

Heavy names his weapons and has a thing for Sandviches. Scout is full of it and is not afraid to go on and on about it. Medic is more of a mad scientist than a honest doctor, although Engineer takes the role of an affable yet coldly friendly Texan who doesn't mind a few bodies piling up.

And Pyro? Let me show you:

Watched it? Now what's your reaction?

Well...Pyro is the most insane of them all. The Soldier might talk to disembodied heads and cardboard cut-outs, but at least he has some grasp of reality.

Pyro, on the other hand, is sadly and scarily in a Sugarbowl world. The video has you hanging your jaw open, laughing nervously, and overall going "wut". 

Pyro might be the flattest of the core cast (Pyro's mask obscures all lines and indication of gender or being), but this new development is a nice way to end the Meet the Team series, even if Medic's video is the closest to the climax.

However, Meet the Pyro isn't the most important development in the TF2 verse.

Rather, it's the Doomsday map--and Poopy Joe.

The "Tragedy" of Poopy Joe

Poopy Joe the Monkeynaunt. It might be a silly name (and it's amusing hearing The Administrator saying it), but this one character, who isn't even seen in-game, has a huge impact on Team Fortress 2's mythos.

He popped up years earlier during the WAR Update, where he had died on liftoff. Along with this little piece of denial:

Our lawyers will tell you where we were: nowhere near the launch site, and have nothing whatsoever to do with the tragic explosion that happened moments later.

Mann Co, the company that made this statement, is known to be shady. Really shady.

The owner of Mann Co, Saxon Hale, is the most un-business-manly CEO possible. Being an over-the-top ham, he's an...interesting character. I'll show this later.

In fact, the Doomsday map proves this statement wrong, but in a large exercise of subtext.

"Gentlemen, This Never Happened"

Poopy Joe, taken too soon.
I fail at making macros.
To the non-TF2 player, here's a summary of the Doomsday map.

It's two teams fighting to deliver one "flag" (a briefcase of Australium that acts as fuel) to one objective (the rocket that Poopy Joe will ride to the stars!). 

Except, it's implied that it isn't Australium.

So it's no surprise when, on liftoff, the rocket barely reaches fifty feet from the ground before failing, and crashing horizontal onto the opposite team's base.

As the smoke trails out, one of the lines of dialogue the Administrator could say is: "Poopy Joe, taken too soon."

It's grimly hilarious.

Yet, it's important to TF2's storyline.

Fire in the Courtroom!

As I said earlier, TF2 excels in its out-of-game story, which is a core part of the experience. 

One of the most recent pieces that is probably the most noteworthy are The Poopy Joe Files, a court room manuscript with testimonies from Saxon Hale and The Administrator concerning about the rocket crash--which the players have a part in.

Saxon's part is hilarious, as he answers the questions the senator sends his way by not pretending he's not lying--yet he isn't lying. He's just avoiding it. But it's clear that he's clearly guilty of Poopy Joe's death.

When one of the senators accused him of what Saxon most likely did, the marking (fight) and a picture of Saxon Hale pounces off the the table.

And then the Administrator delivers her part of the story--and sets what will be the next major arc in the TF2 universe.

Four elements set a "you can only imagine" tone:

  1. The black-bar censoring hiding her surname and one whole paragraph that "reveals" what is her real plan.
  2. A picture of three senators looking utterly horrified. 
  3. The senator's reactions within the manuscript, and them concluding it after one shocking statement.
  4. A red stamp saying "Incinerate".

Yep. Despite the Meet the Pyro video and a new game mode, this one document hints at what is to come.

YOUR TURN: Are you familiar with Team Fortress 2?

Also, even if you do play it, I suggest looking through some of the later updates. The text and comics are hilarious.