Team Fortress 2, the colorful, free-to-play shooter from Half-Life creator Valve, is getting a brand new game mode from an unexpected place: Bad Robot.
Yes, the film and TV production company Bad Robot, formed by J.J. Abrams and currently working on Star Wars Episode VII. The mode is called PASS Time, and it is being developed by Escalation Studios with direction from Bad Robot.
"A while back we ran into some of the guys at Bad Robot," says the Team Fortress 2 blog. "We liked the stuff they were making, they liked the stuff we were up to, and we hit it off almost instantly.
"After we'd given them a tour, one of the things they found the most fascinating was TF2's ongoing update schedule. Traditionally a film and TV studio, they typically don't get to show their community anything until it's already finished. So the idea of shipping a beta version of something, then working with a community of gamers to make it better over time, was a wholly new and exciting concept to them."
The rest, as they say, is history. Now the two companies are working together for PASS Time, which is a combination of TF2's traditional gun-based mayhem and actual sports. Picking up the ball (called the Jack) grants players increased health regeneration and replaces their usual weapons. It allows the ball carrier to see teammates and enemy locations on the map, and it also grants a brief speed boost upon first taking possession. Players can melee an opponent carrying the Jack to steal, and upon doing so will be given a brief moment of invulnerability.
The goal is simple. Get the ball into the enemy's goal to score. You can pass the ball to teammates, run it there yourself or shoot from a distance to score. Just keep in mind that people are going to be hitting you with rockets, bullets and jars of pee.
PASS Time is still in early beta and Bad Robot is looking for plenty of feedback on the mode.
"PASS Time marks Bad Robot's first foray into rapidly iterative content, and they're really excited to get feedback on their beta so they can work with the TF community to evolve the game," the TF2 blog reads. "This is a new way of doing things for them, and they're looking forward to working with you to see how it grows over time.
This isn't the first time Valve and Bad Robot have teamed up either. J.J. Abrams appeared alongside Valve founder Gabe Newell at GDC in 2013, teasing future collaborations between the two companies. While this new TF2 mode is far from a Half-Life or Portal film, it's still cool to see a company from outside the traditional gaming world try their hand at a new type of creative process. Valve also released an interactive teaser for Abrams' film Super 8 back in 2010. If PASS Time is a success, perhaps we will see more collaborations between the two companies in the future.