The highly anticipated Meet the Pyro video has finally been released today, the third day of Pyromania. So does it reveal the identity of the Pyro? Does that highly elusive and mysterious ninth mercenary of Team Red finally remove the gas mask and expose him or her or itself? Is this what we’ve all been waiting for, an end to five years of speculation? Well, the two and a half minute video does reveal something… Hit the break to find out what it is!!
It reveals… that Valve likes to both torture and tease their fans. The Pyro’s identity or gender aren’t revealed, or even overtly hinted at (we’ll stay away from obsessive compulsively analyzing every single frame of the video for symbolism or hints), much to the chagrin of hundreds of fanboys. “This is Meet the Pyro!” they shout, pitchforks in hand. “We’re not meeting anybody!! It’s just a My Little Pony fan video!” That’s me paraphrasing a number of comments I’ve seen on the video today, and not my actual opinion. In my opinion, it is not My Little Pony anything (believe it or not, rainbows, unicorns, and lollipops all existed before My Little Pony).
In case you haven’t seen the video and are a little confused, the video shows a few witness-protection-shadow interviews with other members of the Red Team, talking about how frightening and insane the Pyro is. Interspersed are some shots of the Pyro setting fire to a town, the Blu Team panicking and scrambling to escape. The Red Spy then says, “One shudders to imagine what inhuman thoughts lie behind that mask, what dreams of chronic and sustained cruelty…” The camera then zooms into the Pyro’s “eyes”, and we are brought to his (I’m going to say “his” because the Red Team refers to him with the male pronoun) point of view: a land of colorful flowers, rolling hills, rainbows, kittens, floating sheep, lollipops, and happiness, with the Lovin’ Spoonful’s song “Do You Believe in Magic.” His flamethrower shoots rainbows and stars, his axe is a lollipop, and his flare gun is a bubble wand. Sprinkled throughout this montage of happiness and fun are shots of the true destruction the Pyro is causing: axing the heavy in the head, locking the medic in a barn before setting fire to it, and blasting the Sniper in the face with his flamethrower. There’s even a little pink unicorn that a baby Blu Engineer and Blu Spy ride (entire team is babies), and is now available in inflatable form at the Valve Store. The Pyro himself doesn’t say anything at all, he just laughs and laughs, and then whistles as he walks away from the Blu Team and the town’s funeral pyre.
The idea that the Pyro is a delusional maniac believing that he’s really doing the world a favor isn’t original. In fact, it originated on 4chan years ago, through this now-canon copypasta:
“Look how happy they all are when I point my happy gun at them! They dance around and yell, having the time of their life! Oh, how I love making people happy!
It’s been six years now since they let me out of that scary place. I lived there all my life until the nice doctor and general let me out. They said I could help people. Make them happy and make them stop fighting.
The general gave me a happy gun that shoot magical red dust that makes people dance and sing. He put me in my sane suit though, so I couldn’t make myself happy with the dust. He says I have a mission to make everyone wearing the other color happy.
I love it so much I can’t help laughing with them! They are so tired from the dancing that they fall over and go to sleep. I wish I could do that. Because of the sane mask, I can’t ask them to wake up or talk to the other happy soldiers on my team. They look at me like am crazy or something when I talk to them.
Maybe they aren’t as happy as I thought. When all the other color is happy, I’ll have to make my friends happy as well.”
Valve has been known to take what fans say to heart—when talking about the success behind TF2, Joe Ludwig revealed that when they release update trailers, they check forums to see what people are most interested in. He stated:
“We found people in the forums talking about how cool it would be if the Pyro could light the sniper’s arrows on fire. To be honest, we hadn’t considered it, but we were able to implement it by the time the update shipped… [The players] didn’t realize it, but they were indirectly voting on the content of the update.”
It’s therefore not a stretch to think that Valve noticed how popular that copypasta was, and decided to integrate it into the Pyro’s backstory. Users create the content for much of what Valve does as much as the developers at Valve themselves—which is why they implement things like the Steam Workshop and the brand new Source Filmmaker.
And thus concludes the Meet the Team shorts. At least for Red Team—it’s possible Valve might try to make Meet the (Blu) Team, or Meet the Announcer, or they’ll wait to see what users end up making in Source Filmmaker to gauge interest in certain areas.