I've got no interest in playing Valve's rumored Deadlock game, but I'll definitely be here for all the funny 'Meet the Team' movies they'll probably make about the characters

 The scout, soldier, and heavy from TF2.
The scout, soldier, and heavy from TF2.

Valve hasn't confirmed or denied it yet, but all signs point to its next game being a hero shooter called Deadlock. Allegedly. I've seen some screenshots and a short video of a tutorial, and I've gotten a look at some of the game's characters. My thoughts rest somewhere between "huh" and "meh." I guess in the Year Of Our Gabe 2024, a third-person 6v6 shooter with MOBA lanes just doesn't excite me.

I'm not saying it looks bad—though the art style honestly doesn't do much for me, nor does its BioShock Infinite-ass ziplines. A third-person shooter coming from Valve after a couple decades of FPS games feels kinda weird, too. I'm curious about Deadlock and I'm sure I'll watch people stream it when (if) it comes out, but something tells me I won't pick it up myself.

I am interested in one thing about Deadlock, though: movies. If Valve makes little animated features for all those new characters like it did for Team Fortress 2, I'll be there with popcorn.

It was 15 years ago when we got our first Meet the… movie, an animated short introducing us to TF2's Heavy, or "Heavy Weapons Guy" as he calls himself. The short video filled us in on details the game itself couldn't: his minigun was called Sascha, she costs $400,000 to fire it for 12 seconds, and he gets enraged when other people touch her. As a character the Heavy was already packed with personality just from his bellows and shouts during the game, but this 90 second video added way more to his mythos and gave us a glimpse into the world outside the maps.

More shorts followed, letting us get to know the nine characters beyond the carnage and control points of TF2. We saw the gentle philosophizing and guitar playing of the Engineer, the psychedelic hallucinations of the Pyro, and the Spy's shocking relationship with the Scout's mom. We even met the Sandvich. Little by little, Valve crafted backstories and built a world for TF2, something tough to do in a multiplayer game without a campaign.

Valve's TF2 movies were so good that when Blizzard made its own version of TF2 it also made its own version of TF2's movies, and now that Valve looks like it's making its own version of Overwatch, I expect the tradition to continue. With 19 characters shown so far in the leak, there's plenty of fodder for some new short films. I'm ready. Bring 'em on.

The pyro, heavy, and scout from TF2 in a childish dreamworld
The pyro, heavy, and scout from TF2 in a childish dreamworld

There's that big bulky robot with a tiny head from the gameplay video, a tiny winged gargoyle, and a 1920s gangster with a tommy gun and fedora (who can also teleport). So the world is part fantasy, part-sci-fi, and part Prohibition-era? That's gonna need some explaining, and let me be clear: I am not interested in reading a digital comic book about it. I don't want a developer blog about it either. I want a short animated feature. Otherwise I am not buying this game that I probably won't buy anyway.

There are also some interesting hybrid characters, like a fella named Infernus who sounds like a cross between TF2's Scout (speed) and Pyro (flames). I'd watch a little movie about him. There's also some sort ice-power-but-also-healer dude. I'll tune in for that backstory. And there's an archer… okay, Valve can skip that one. I'm pretty bored with archers at this point.

She had better be voiced by Ellen McLain.

How about Lady Geist? She carries a revolver, looks like a wealthy heiress, and has the power to drain the life from her enemies. I'd watch a fun, short, animated video explaining her life and history, especially if she's voiced by Ellen McLain. She had better be voiced by Ellen McLain. Why does Seven's head look like a manhole cover? A film about him would help explain it, I'm sure. The creepy blue sniper doesn't look all that interesting, but Warden does because he looks like TF2's soldier as an old-timey British copper. I will watch his little movie, too.

Maybe I shouldn't be scheduling my little Deadlock film festival just yet, considering we don't even know with 100% certainty if it's real or if it'll ever be released. But it's been too darn long since we got those first 9 "Meet the Team" videos. It's high time we got 19 more.