When we first heard that legendary game demaker Eric Ruth would be turning his pixelated genius towards Team Fortress 2, we had a lot of questions. Sure, Team Fortress Arcade looked like a spectacular reimagining of Valve’s shooter as a retro side-scroller, but would it be able to satisfy our nostalgia pangs for ‘90s arcade games and our love of TF2? Would all nine classes be just as fun to play in 2D? More importantly, when would it be released?
The answers to those questions are: yes, hell yes, and today.
That’s right, you can download Team Fortress Arcade right now. Just click that giant link right up there.
If you’re still not convinced, head past the jump and take a look our earlier hands on preview vid and an exclusive new interview with Eric Ruth himself. You’ll get to see three of the game’s ten levels, six of the the nine characters, and, of course, the local co-op that makes TFA a blast to play with your friends.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Eric and get him to answer a few questions about TFA to commemorate its release.
Piki Geek:Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Eric.
Eric Ruth:No problem, man. Glad to be of service.
PG:So, what made you decide to make TFA a retro side-scroller? It’s not exactly the first genre I think of when I hear TF2.
ER:Well, anyone who knows my work understands that I’m a big fan of a simpler time when games were a little easier to just pick up and play. I kind of miss games that have a limited number of buttons and functions. This usually means that the SKILL is what separates players from each other and not just unlocks, downloaded items, key binding, etc.
One of my favorite genres of the by-gone arcade era is the side-scrolling beat-‘em-up that used to inhabit the retro arcade scene. I’m a BIG fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, Final Fight, Streets Of Rage, X-Men Arcade and the mostly forgotten DJ Boy. So, naturally, I tried combining two things I love together (this is how they invented peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) and in the end, came up with the concept that you can now play on your computer for free.
PG:What’s your favorite class in TF2? In TFA?
ER:In Team Fortress 2, my best class is Soldier, but I’m also decent with an offensive Engineer and a vanilla-loadout Demoman. In team Fortress Arcade, I like to use Sniper and Pyro. Although, all classes are fairly easy to just run through in TFA, I still have my favorites.
PG:Why BLU team? Got a problem with RED?
ER: Not at all. In Team Fortress 2, when you’re in a mission that specifically has an offense/defense structure, BLU is always the attacking team. RED is always defending. This was the information I utilized behind the choice of which color you were going to play as. It’s simply to keep accuracies to the source material.
PG:I have to say, it’s a bold move to release anything TF2 related without hats. What are the odds you’ll be adding some in at a later date?
ER: I would LOVE to keep the hat stuff intact, but because this game is a sprite based 2D game, that means that I would have to draw hats directly on to sprites, which means that there would be a LOT of room and A LOT of extra programming just to add a functioning hat system that ultimately has no place in a side-scroller anyways. Its not that I don’t care or I don’t love hat collecting, but its just not realistic for this title. There isa nod to some in-game hats in TFA though, so keep your eyes peeled!
PG:How much money will I have to give you to get an online multiplayer update?
ER:I actually intend on updating the game in a couple months with some new modes, difficulty challenges, a player VS player match-up and yes, online co-op. For now, I needed to get the game out the door, but just like the real Team Fortress 2 that we know and love, there will be updates later to add things you will most definitely want. So, you won’t have to pay me anything, I assure you (although donations go a long way) to get online co-op involved in the project.
I was just talking with KritzKast about this last week when Agro wanted to know the same thing. We wound up chatting about a bunch of stuff involved in the Team Fortress universe and how some of it relates to my game. You can catch the interview here.
There you have it. Online multiplayer’s on the way, hats aren’t, and you officially have no excuse not to download the game ASAP.