It's easy to forget now, but Team Fortress 2 was once as big a punchline among Valve fans as Half-Life 3 is today.

The game was announced in 1998, and wasn't released until 2007. That was a long time to wait for fans of the original Half-Life multiplayer mod, so to help pass the time a group of modders went and made Fortress Forever, which was basically a fan-driven attempt to make their own Team Fortress sequel.

It was pretty good, but the thing is, it also had a problem. While it was conceived in the long darkness following Team Fortress 2's original announcement, by the time it was finished and ready for release, Valve had got their shit together and unveiled the eventual version of Team Fortress that folks are still playing today.

Fortress Forever was released in September 2007. Team Fortress 2 was released in October 2007. The rest, including the fact most of you will never have heard of Fortress Forever, is history.


But whatever! Because TF2 has changed so much over the years, and because Fortress Forever is based on the original Team Fortress (which was a Quake mod), they're now very different things (FF is much faster, for example), so now's as good a time as any to finally check it out.

Which you can, because it's just been released on Steam. And it's free. Give it a try, and see what Team Fortress was like before all those hats.

(via RPS)