Team Fortress 2 ARG Introduces Gray Mann

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Team Fortress 2 ARG Introduces Gray Mann

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Valve's subtle hints led fans to the motherlode of TF2-lore webcomics.

Valve is famous for three things: high-quality games, Valve Time, and advertising campaigns worthy of myth and legend. Whether announcing a new game or quirky character updates, Valve's use of clever alternate-reality games encourage players to find their own clues about the game company's latest releases, and usually rewards them in a spectacular fashion. A new Team Fortress 2-themed ARG that was completed this past weekend is no exception, as a pair of clickable blood spots on the TF2 website took players on a huge quest culminating in the discovery of the mutual enemy of Red and Blu teams, and a war against Saxton Hale himself.

Of the two available links, the first took visitors to the birth notice of Mann brothers, who in TF2's lore founded the Red and Blu teams. What this letter reveals is the existence of a third brother, Gray, who upon being born was "absconded with by that Scourge of London, the Eagle". The second link updates Zephamiah Mann's will with the knowledge that Gray had resurfaced with threats of blackmailing his father for a "miracle gravel cache". It's worth pointing out that these details are probably among the least fantastic that we've seen in Team Fortress 2's advertising campaign so far. But it doesn't stop there.

A simultaneous update to TF2 update allowed players using the high-five taunt while carrying the Capacitor to read joke descriptions listing various in-game items, such as: "Did you hear the story from 1306 where Enormous Haunted Eyeball, Dr. Whoa, Familiar Fez, Dispenser, Private Eye, Direct Hit, Googly Gazer, Kukri, and the Administrator walked into a bar?" This is the point at which it starts going over my head, but as this Google document notes, players were able to extract numbers from these jokes. These numbers revealed a crafting recipe, which in turn revealed a URL to a Team Fortress webcomic finally providing answers.

The webcomic presents Red and Blu Team founders Redmond and Blutarch as they are tricked into a meeting by their estranged brother Gray. Gray announces his intention to put a stop to the senseless battle between Red and Blu over gravel pits to retake "the only thing in this hell-blasted landscape actually worth fighting over": weapons-producer Mann Co, currently run by Saxton Hale, the world's most powerful Austrailian. Once it becomes clear that Redmond and Blutarch are incapable of helping him in this task, they are dispatched, foreshadowing what may be the introduction of an entirely new in-game threat.

In Valve's first Team Fortress 2 comic, the lore introduced a battle between the Soldier and Demoman classes that pitted teams against each other to win class-specific updates. Rumors and speculation on the internet encompasses everything from the introduction of a Gray Team, to the possibility of Red and Blu putting aside their differences to protect Saxton Hale from an army of robots. The discovery of the comic suggests that an official announcement from Valve will soon follow, but whatever the update entails we can agree on one thing ladies and gentlemen: There will be hats.

By God, will there be hats.

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

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Wow. That comic is cool. I wonder whether we can harness the power of ARGs to aid the world. Maybe next time Valve can make an ARG where you have to mow my lawn to get a clue.

Fanghawk:
their estranged brother Gray. Gray ...

Title of post: Grey Mann

WHO DO I BELIEVE? WHAT DO I BELIEVE???

WHY GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD???

Erm, you might want to edit something there.

I hope it's not Saxton Hall, he would be WAY too OP.

Grey Mann...

Remove THREE letters from the first word and we have...

G Mann!

And for additional proof, we can take away ONE letter from the SECOND word to get "G-man", and 1+2=3

Confirmed Half Life 3 announcement imminent.

Calumon: ...Maybe it's just a new hat?

Best. Lore. Ever

Though it would be great if this somehow lead to the convoluted release of Half Life 3

Gray Mann
G. Mann
G-Man

Look at his pose in the revealing site of the comic and the one gesture you see the GMan always perform... Valve keeps trolling.

My mind has been blown....

Also Gray Mann pose, Valve are doing that on purpose aren't they?

What I believe will happen in TF2's Mann vs. Machine Update, based on the knowledge I currently have, goes like this: Gray now owns Red and Blu. He wants to take back Mann Co. because Red, Blu and Mann Co. all belonged to Gray's dad, Zephaniah. Obviously, Saxton Hale, the current owner of Mann Co., won't let that happen. Since Mann Co. Recently developed Giant Robots (According to this: http://www.teamfortress.com/classless/hidden/populace/), you will be playing as both teams fighting Giant Robots. In a way, the maps will be new Doomsday Maps.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUH3JQjcweM

I do believe this applies to the situation, still what lunatic would want to pick a fight with two seemingly cloned teams of literally insane Mercs. Also I wonder how the announcer fits into all this.

I hope it's an official game mode for Vs. Saxton Hale, the mod game mode is SO much fun, and putting an official dev team to work out the kinks would be awesome

kajinking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUH3JQjcweM

I do believe this applies to the situation, still what lunatic would want to pick a fight with two seemingly cloned teams of literally insane Mercs. Also I wonder how the announcer fits into all this.

The Announcer was meant to prolong the war against Red and Blu Teams. Odds are, if Gray now owns both Red and Blu, she won't be paid. I believe that she will jump ships and join Saxton Hale and Mann Co., because Saxton and the Announcer do actually have a past together (At least a hidden one).

Furioso:
I hope it's an official game mode for Vs. Saxton Hale, the mod game mode is SO much fun, and putting an official dev team to work out the kinks would be awesome

Well, Saxton Hale is in charge of Mann Co, and Mann Co. are the ones who own the robots. There could be an official/updated version of Vs. Saxton with a Real Saxton character (Not a re-skin of the Soldier), though I don't know if it would be a part of Mann vs. Machine.

*Sigh* It's times like these I wish I still enjoyed tf2.

Why is it that every time Valve does something cool, I start hoping it somehow turns out to be a reveal of HL3.

.....please turn out to be the reveal of HL3.......

Jack and Calumon:
Grey Mann...

Remove THREE letters from the first word and we have...

G Mann!

And for additional proof, we can take away ONE letter from the SECOND word to get "G-man", and 1+2=3

Confirmed Half Life 3 announcement imminent.

Calumon: ...Maybe it's just a new hat?

God damn it, I hate any news regarding Valve.

Calumon, disconnect the Jack's keyboard.

Wait.... WHAT? G-Man? You've got to be fucking kidding me... no seriously... pulling my leg. Disconnecting it entirely from my hip even.
Valve... My head hurts. Just... plain... fucking... hurts.
Wow.

Grey-Mann... G-Man...

Oh Valve, you trolls.

Whelp, interested to see what they do with this update since they were hyping it up for two years.

I don't know what to say in situations like this so, VAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLVVVVVVVVVE!!!

This will be the lead into how tf2 characters are in HL3...
I mean comeon we already have the explanation on how the portal gun is in it...
The green flu will be trickier to explain though.

Sounds like there making some kind of horde mode. where you have to fend of ever increasing waves of robots for a set period of time.

Team Fortress 2 playtime will probably increase by another 1000 hours.

Just to show you guys how long valve has been planning this:

I am very curious though how this will go, combine RED and BLU team into Purple team vs Grey team in a game mode.

therandombear:
Just to show you guys how long valve has been planning this:

I am very curious though how this will go, combine RED and BLU team into Purple team vs Grey team in a game mode.

Frickin door conspiracy. You can't tell me there isn't one.

Sometimes i feel like these guys have too much free time on their hand. Valve time that is.

This does raise a lot of questions; will blue and red be putting aside differences to fight Gray Mann? Where does the Administrator stand on all this? Would she take Gray's side if he made her a good enough offer? Would perhaps either red or blue side with Mann Co. while the other side got hired by Gray? What kind of new hat will they come out with THIS time? Will there be new weapons? If there are, how many milliseconds after release will it take for players to start whining about them being OP?

I feel like this is going to culminate in a release of a Horde mode gametype. Think about it; Holding off against robots? That sounds pretty real and possible. And I do hope their are more hats.

Mike Fang:
This does raise a lot of questions; will blue and red be putting aside differences to fight Gray Mann? Where does the Administrator stand on all this? Would she take Gray's side if he made her a good enough offer? Would perhaps either red or blue side with Mann Co. while the other side got hired by Gray? What kind of new hat will they come out with THIS time? Will there be new weapons? If there are, how many milliseconds after release will it take for players to start whining about them being OP?

Actually, the comic answers your first question:

Sometimes, at moments like this, I look back and want to give my past self a high five for coming onto steam all those years ago and purchasing the orange box.

:')

"When suddenly...." *EAGLE ATTACK!*

This should be a part of every story, ever.

For a moment, I thought they were talking about this guy.

image

Whew... I'm glad that's not the case. Screw The Gray Man.

Well that is pretty damn awesome, shame I'm not really invested in the TF2 lore.
...Or play TF2 for that matter.

dessertmonkeyjk:
For a moment, I thought they were talking about this guy.

image

Whew... I'm glad that's not the case. Screw The Gray Man.

I know that reference...
LSD Dream Emulator.

This guy wll buy the hats. Screw you Valve and your sexy mirco transactions!

I'm not sure what's more impressive, that Valve's fans are this friggen' amazing, or that Valve actively expects their fans to be this friggen' amazing.

Whoa...I think in this situation, only one thing can be said.

"Most powerful Austrailian?" That doesn't sound right...

Anyway, this looks to be something impressive, can't wait to see more!

Something big is happening to TF2.

REALLY BIG.

And I can't fucking wait.

Only one thing is certain. There Will Be Blood Hats.

And they will be fantastic.

Also G-Mann... Really Valve? JUST SHUT UP WITH THE TEASING AND TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY DAMMIT!

Ah well I feel like indulging in epileptic trees right now so:
The TF2 universe will be revealed as the past of the Combine's homeworld.

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