Valve managing director Gabe Newell once said, “The community generates about 10 times more content for Team Fortress 2 as Valve does.”
Now that user-generated content gets its moment to shine. Valve just announced the Robotic Boogaloo Update, a completely community-created update to the popular class-based shooter. That doesn’t just include the 57-item loot drops joining the lineup…it’s also the update hub website, the animated short accompanying the announcement, a web comic, and the splash images advertising it in the Steam store.
That’s a vastly different proposition from any other game updates seen before. Rather than submitted art or code being adopted, the TF2 community has just become deeply involved in the state of their game, the look and feel of it, and even in the marketing of its microtransacted goods. From beginning to end, it’s a crowdsourced campaign.
Robotic Boogaloo items will drop in the form of RoboCrates (destined to become rare items after a two-week promotional period) which must be unlocked using a $2.49 RoboCrate Key, similar to the game’s standard Supply Crates.
In another first, the people involved in creating both the Boogaloo content and its marketing collateral agreed to share in the revenue generated from RoboCrate Key sales.
Valve insists this doesn’t mark the end of their own, internally-created updates for Team Fortress 2, but it does mark a new chapter in user-generated content and what it can be. It will be interesting to see if and how other developers leverage their communities’ creativity to build on the games themselves, both in terms of in-game and consumer facing material.
After all, nobody knows what fans want to see from their games better than the fans themselves.