As the 300th Team Fortress 2 update approaches there have been some strange goings-on in Teufort. If you're not up to speed on Team Fortress 2 news, Meet the Pyro, the long-awaited last chapter in the Meet the Team series of videos is due to be released "in 2012" along with the Second Annual Saxxy Awards and a surprise that is not a hat, a map or "some ungodly hat-map hybrid that you can wear on your head while you run around in it."
What is this surprise? Possibly the long rumoured raid mode with robotic opponents. Last year text involving a "raid mode" was leaked to the Steam Translation Server project. Some time later a secret room was found in CP_Foundry that shows what some players believe to be robot versions of the classes. This has left many fans believing a players versus AI mode is to be added to the game, nicknamed Mann vs Machine. Some believe a mysterious Steam Workshop contributor named Hunter-Killer may be involved.
Last week speculation started again when an update introduced a new, but unused, item quality into the game files; tobor_a. That's "a robot" backwards. In the last few days a slew of unusual items were added to the drop system: Goldfish, Pocket Lint, Cheese Wheel, Banana Peel, Barn Door Plank, Secret Diary, and Damaged Capacitor. Some fans noticed that when the Eliminating the Impossible Medic items (a Sherlock Holmes themed set) the in-game descriptions of the items changed.
Putting all the descriptions together gives the sentence "Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser." This is a quote from the Sherlock Holmes short story The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.
What does any of this mean? I have no idea. Valve and the TF2 Team are no strangers to messing with their fans coming up to a big release or update though and all this nonsense indicates that they are getting ready for something. We'll post whatever that is when we know ourselves.
Update: Another update to the game brings strange error messages with number strings that seem to be unique to each user whenever one tries to craft two bananas together. According to the TF2 wiki this is the 299th update so we can possibly look forward to something for tomorrow.