Valve doesn't generally believe in previewing what they're working on. They prefer to just surprise people with things, whether those things are industry shifting moves or neat side features for their aging client. So it should come as no surprise that Valve launched a brand new gametype for Team Fortress 2 with little fanfare yesterday. What is a surprise is who is working on it, because it isn't the normal TF2 team. In their post, Valve states that the mode was conceptualized by J.J. Abrams' production house Bad Robot and actually developed by Escalation Studios.
As for the mode itself, PASS Time is a cross between a typical soccer match and Bombing Run from Unreal Tournament 2004. A ball spawns in the center of Warehouse, the one new map that currently supports the mode, and then your team has to deliver it into your opponent's goal. To help with the movement focus of this mode, there are speed boost power-ups scattered around the area as well as a few jump pads, which brings it closer to games like UT and Quake than standard Team Fortress has been for a long while.
The game is currently up and running right alongside Valve's other open betas, which include the Robot Destruction mode, the MannPower mode, and a single Payload map. There is no indication as to when any of those modes or maps will launch into the full game. It's worth noting that Robot Destruction has been in beta for more than a year now and the Asteroid map it is played on is still missing textures.
Sadly, another tradition with Valve and TF2 is to abandon new gametypes with very little support. Even before the "Beta" program was launched, Special Delivery and Medieval Mode were put into the game with one map a piece and then never touched again officially. Community support can only go so far, and considering how much Valve has on their plate at any given time, it's probably a surprise that they're still updating Team Fortress 2 at all. The hunt for hats has lost its luster as far as this fan is concerned. I still enjoy the game, but I certainly don't feel the desire to play as much as I used to.
What do you think of TF2's newest update? How much input do you think Bad Robot really had in development? How much are you selling Stout Shakos for? Answer these questions in the comments below!