It was back in 2013 that director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) announced plans to team up with Valve to make movies and games. But not much has come of that announcement since the conversation that led to it on stage at a DICE talk with Gabe Newell.
Last night, though, Abrams' studio, Bad Robot, released an experiment of sorts: a beta for a Team Fortress 2 game mode called PASS Time. The mode, co-developed with Escalation Studios, is essentially rugby with guns (or Halo's Griffball for Team Fortress 2 players).
"As massive fans of all things Valve and TF2, we've been thrilled to work with them, and the deft developers at Escalation Studios, to present this super early look at PASS Time," a Bad Robot spokesperson wrote in the blog post announcing the beta.
The mode adds a ball — or in game parlance a "jack" — and two goals to a Team Fortress 2 map. When a player is carrying the jack it replaces their weapon. When holding the ball, the player gets health regeneration, a moment of invulnerability, a temporary speed boost and the ability to see both teammates and opponents on the map.
Players pass and shoot for a goal with the fire button and steal with melee attacks. The object is to score by throwing the ball into the opposing team's goal, a marked hole in the wall.
Not exactly the Portal movie or ground-breaking game you may have been hoping for from Bad Robot, but it is an interesting experiment for the team with iterative design.
To play the mode now, just launch Team Fortress 2 and select it from the beta maps. Prepare to die a lot.
Don't remember that big announcement from 2013 about Bad Robot and Valve teaming up? Good news! Polygon was there and interviewed Abrams about the news. Read up on his game plans here and movie plans here.