Here’s an odd bit o’ news: Two popular Team Fortress 2 mods have suddenly and mysteriously been removed from the internet and can no longer be downloaded. According to the devs, this is due to “arrangments with Valve” but neither team has explained what that means. According to devs for both mods, there’s nothing to be worried about.
Team Fortress 2 is an online class-based competitive FPS developed and published by Valve and first released in 2007. Since then, it has continued to see long-term and sporadic support from Valve. It also has hats. You’ve probably heard about the hats. It also has a fairly large community of diehard players and modders who still play the game regularly. Two popular mods among the community are Open Fortress and TF2 Classic. But, at least for now, those mods are no longer available to download and install.
On September 10, at the exact same time, the Twitter accounts for Open Fortress and TF2 Classic posted oddly similar messages. Both mod teams announced that they were temporarily deactivating all official downloads of their respective TF2 mods. And both explained that this was due to an “arrangement with Valve” but didn’t give any other details and promised fans to “stay tuned” for more information.
Two days later and both mods still can’t be downloaded from either project’s official site.
This being the internet, some players panicked and worried that Valve had stepped in and used some legal means to shut down the mods.
Kotaku has reached out to Valve about the removed mods.
But, as mentioned in the tweets, this deactivation of downloads is only temporary. So it’s unlikely that Valve has issued a DMCA claim on either mod or threatened either team with cease and desists, as those are more permanent ways to remove content. And while it’s true that some companies—Take-Two and Nintendo, for example—are quick to attack community devs for creating mods or fan games, Valve has never been like that. Hell, they’ve let fan games based on Half-Life become full-on retail products that are now sold on Steam.
And both mods are still alive, with people playing them currently. You just can’t download either mod at the moment.
The popular theory is that both mods might be moved officially onto Steam or merged into vanilla TF2 in some capacity. This would explain the calm and relaxed reaction from the devs on Discord, where they assured folks there was no reason to worry or panic. Though they also didn’t have any extra details to share nor did they give a date for when downloads would be available again.
Open Fortress is a mod that is a free and open-source TF2 project that aims to introduce new game modes, characters, stories, and more to the current “TF2 Universe.” TF2 Classic is a mod that tries to recreate the early years of the online shooter for players who miss the simpler, less wild old days.