Team Fortress 2 celebrates 13th anniversary after up-and-down 2020

"And that is how you do it, men!"

Image via Valve

In pretty much every aspect, 2020 has been a wild year for the world at large. But Team Fortress 2 might be the game that has had the most ups and downs in its 13th year on the market. 

From big updates and hitting an all-time peak player number to losing the voice behind one of the game’s iconic characters, TF2 has gone through a lot and is only just now officially a teenager.

Starting with the older version of the game’s source code leaking in April along with CS:GO’s, it already felt like TF2 was getting more time in the spotlight than it normally does that early in the year. And while that wasn’t a cause for alarm because most of the details were more than two years old, it did set the stage for one of Valve’s oldest games to jump back into the public eye. 

That spotlight came back to the game less than a month later with the passing of Soldier voice actor Rick May following complications related to COVID-19. Valve added statues and other tributes to immortalize the charismatic man in the game’s May update.

Each statue plays one of Soldier’s iconic voicelines and one of the tribute pieces has been permanently added to the Granary map, where the original Meet the Soldier trailer was set. 

The community went back to playing TF2 in chaotic peace for several months, and it wasn’t until October when things got wild again when the game broke its previous all-time peak for active users. 

From the usual 65,000 player average that TF2 has experienced throughout 2020, the game’s October update brought a total of 130,548 users into the fray on Oct. 1. That shattered the previous record of 117,917 set in August 2012, according to Steam Charts

There have been a few several questions raised about the validity of that number since TF2 has had massive problems with bots for years. But it does line up with how the player number spikes during the same period in previous years. 

The Scream Fortress XII update has regular players excited that Valve even put something that big out, while new and returning players get to experience TF2 with four new community maps and numerous other changes that should improve their experience. 

Happy birthday TF2. May your wild antics and growing library of hats and other cosmetics continue for many years to come.