Taking The Piss? TF2′s Jarate Is Real

By Alec Meer on May 21st, 2009 at 1:37 pm.

The Hivemind keeps muttering to itself “let’s not give each of the TF2 sniper/spy updates its own post, but instead do a round-up of the lot once it’s all been revealed.” No other game gets this kind of treatment from us, after all. Annoyingly, Valve seem to have read our cynical minds, and have ensured that each and every info-drip is too significant or rampantly hilarious to ignore.

Like today’s Jarate reveal, turning a former April Fool’s gag into foul-smelling reality. Perhaps the Sniper being able to throw a tub of wee that temporarily increases the amount of damage his enemies take isn’t all that big a deal in the grand scheme of gaming, bar the initial hilarity/disgust of the concept. But the accompanying comic – oh, now that’s something that deserves a dozen posts all of its own.

Here’s a teeny, compressed version, but you really should go look at the super-sized version on the TF blog for maxi-fun.

Veteran comic readers will quickly spot it’s a frame-for-frame homage to the old Charles Atlas muscle-building ads – inadvertently hilarious at the time, but gutbustingly so now it’s about jars of piss. “Boy! Those Jarate pills tripled the size of my kidneys! And thanks to my Saxton Hale pain tonic, I can barely even feel my organs shutting down!”

We forget, these days, that hyper-zeitgeisty, 21st century Valve were once only the guys behind beardy old Half-Life. It’s been an incredible reinvention, really, and I’m excited for the prospect of their eventually truly inserting their impeccable humour into the core of a videogame. TF2 is pretty funny in and of itself, but most of the best gags happen outside of and around it. Portal and L4D are part way there in some ways, but I can’t help but wonder if a full-on comedy opus is on the distant horizon.

Anyway: Jarate. I wonder which element of it will prove most successful – that 35% damage increase, temporarily breaking Spys’ stealth, dousing enflamed allies, or simply the horrifying humiliation of drenching someone in urine before killing them? The open crassness of Jarate is likely to be divisive, but hey, what’s a little toilet humour between friends?

More details here, including a list of Sniper unlocks.

I imagine we haven’t seen the last of Saxton Hale, either. Someone else for you conspiracy theorists who read far too much into the cameo by the Scout’s mother to run off and make crazy about, perhaps?

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176 Comments »

  1. RiptoR says:

    Who would’ve thought it’d real :o

  2. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    At last I can fulfill my lifelong dream of throwing jars of urine at John Walker’s face!

    And in the game.

  3. Feet says:

    ^_^

    Man that’s awesome.

    Just. Awesome.

  4. LactoseTheIntolerant says:

    Speaking of gags around and outside of the game..

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/91844-Valve-Replies-To-Fake-Order-Form-For-TF2-Items

    Valve, if anyone deserves a lessthanthree, it is surely you.
    <3

  5. Dozer says:

    Setup time is going to get a whole lot smellier.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Bozzley says:

    I’d been keeping an eye out on the TF2 updates to see if anything would entice me back. Alarmingly, the thing that is going to get me back on it tonight is a jar of piss. I’m worried about me.

  7. Lorc says:

    If you download the hires sniper or spy icons you’ll notice that there’s no milestone icons, unlike the other packs. Looks like the mysterious new weapon unlock system is coming into play this update.

  8. TauQuebb says:

    well, it will bring the snipers out, even for just a laugh

  9. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Off the steam forums, here’s a link to the ad it’s a spoof of.

  10. Haroshi says:

    oh by the way Saxton Hale is an anagram of Hot Anal Sex

    or Halo Ant Sex
    or Hat Loan Sex
    or Ah Talon Sex
    or Halt On Sex

  11. Ryan says:

    WE WILL GIVE YOU A TROPHY

  12. Shadowmancer says:

    @VelvetFistIronGlove
    In one of my old Deathlok comics that same ad appears, I just noticed it lol it did look familiar after all (Thought I was paranoid all night).

  13. DarthInsinuate says:

    I can’t wait for the Soldier’s poo-on-a-stick unlock.

    I reckon Valve could make a decent bundle merchandising jars of Jarate.

  14. Dave says:

    I still wonder if they’re not pulling all our legs with the Jarate thing. I half expected the web page to have been replaced with a kukri sidegrade or something this morning.

  15. CMaster says:

    I’m really not sure how well Valve’s humour would translate to a full comedy singleplayer game.
    Left 4 Dead played it quieter, subtler and that worked. Portal played it again less in your face and more surreal and that worked.
    But a lot of how TF2′s totally outrageous humour work is by making the classes not characters but charicatures. Heavy is comedy slow and stupid. Soldier is bombastic and stupid. Scout is arrogant and stupid. Spy is poncy and smooth. Engineer is singleminded. Etc. They wouldn’t make good characters to actually have a story going on around them and about them – there isn’t really much to them, other than a love of destruction. They are however great fun as the side show to a simply superb multiplayer game.

  16. Anthony says:

    Fucking beautiful.

    @ Cmaster: You’re seeing the OMM effect here. Since they hired those guys the humour level of everything Valve has increased exponentially.

  17. Yfel says:

    Saxton Hale is obviously the Sniper’s father, even though Sniper’s unaware of his father’s occupation. Since Saxton Hale’s MANN CO. is the chief spy-utilities vendor, this is why the father’s so disappointed in the Sniper’s career choice: he’s killing his clientelle.

  18. Anthony says:

    Also worth noting: most Australians do not, in fact, look like Saxton Hale.

  19. Rei Onryou says:

    Yes, yes and yes. How long until the RPS server breaks down into mass piss-throwing?

  20. Newt Pulsifer says:

    Also, there was a jarate hint on day 6… (just like the spy sappin’ mah sniper update)
    http://i43.tinypic.com/245gbgh.jpg

  21. cyrenic says:

    I look forward to dousing teammates with wee when they’re on fire and having them thank me. Only in TF2 will you have a sniper chasing around flaming teammates to douse them with urine.

  22. Arca says:

    Is it just me, or does Saxton Hale’s chest hair have the same shape as the Superman logo?

  23. Lack_26 says:

    I can’t wait till they get those smello-vision monitors released and Valve updates TF 2 to use them.

    Oh wait, perhaps I can.

  24. wyrmsine says:

    Saxton Hale seems like a very important person.

  25. cullnean says:

    Piss? In a jar?

    Never thought id be grateful to have that added to a game

  26. mgl says:

    The Steam forums are LARGELY UNHAPPY with Jarate, on account of it being “GROSS AND IMMATURE” or some such. This is the STEAM FORUMS speaking, mind you.

    Me, I laughed. It is the PERFECT update.

    “Jarate reveals its TRUE POWER: forcing your enemies to accept a terrifying new existence, where people do awful things to them ALL THE TIME for NO REASON and DIGNITY DOES NOT EXIST.”

  27. Calabi says:

    I really hate the spy when I’m a sniper, I cant wait to try his gear out so I can finally get some revenge on the spy.

  28. A Dead Eldar Guardian says:

    It’s supposed to be due out today and yet I’ve heard no mention of either hats or the new unlock system, I wonder if they scrapped it.

  29. pkt-zer0 says:

    durr hurr piss lol

    It’s not humourous, it’s just stupid. I was really hoping it’d be just an April Fool’s joke, nothing more.

  30. CMaster says:

    A Dead – Thursday for Valve though. What we are talking about right now is the Wed update – so they still have time to provide some more details and launch it their evening/afternoon.

    Also, TF2 is getting a free weekend this weekend apparently.

    @ Anthony – my key point though was that while TF2 is reguarly hilarious, I don’t think it would be funny an hour into a singleplayer game.

  31. Basil says:

    For once I agree with the steam forums. I had expected more class from valve.

  32. Anthony says:

    pkt-zer0 – too mature for them there internets, demands you get off his lawn.

    @CMaster – Oh, I agree, part of it is that it’s so zany, etc, that it just wouldn’t work single player. But I wouldn’t discount a bit of Old Man Murray influence on the advertising, at the very least. The humour of the actual releases (at least, recently) has been more (dare I say it) meta than the game will ever be.

  33. FunkyB says:

    Yeah I don’t think it is funny either. Toilet humour is boring and a bit dull.

    I like the idea of what it actually does though.

  34. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Wee? Teehee!

  35. Anthony says:

    Ok, so, the joke here being that the sniper doesn’t go outside to piss, but stores it in jars instead. As in, it relates directly to his character. You know, the one sorta-kinda shown in that little-known video “Meet the Sniper”?

    So it relates, and it involves throwing piss on people which is likely some sort of statement about Australians and our propensity to drink. Or something.

    Luckily, it’s a fucking video game. Which means nobody actually need think it’s stupid, because the whole fucking thing is stupid generally. Especially so when you’ve got cartoon characters blowing each other up constantly with all manner of crazy weapons.

    Or am I intruding on some sort of Steam forum hate that spilled into these here respectable parts?

  36. abhishek says:

    How can someone’s sensibilities be offended (with the Jarate) in a cartoon game where it is common to blow someone’s head off, or set them on fire, or riddle them with holes, or gib them, or….

    It’s also a brilliant display of marketing how Valve have managed to make a simple software update into an entertaining, hilarious community event for the past week. This is especially true in the case of the ‘leaked’ spy video and how they have handled the situation, especially with the blog updates in the past few days.

  37. Fazer says:

    Saxton Hale is actually an anagram for Hot Anal Sex.

    And you spelled his name wrong in the article ;-)

  38. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    As if I needed reminding, but its things like this that make me love Valve.

  39. Das Blau Medik says:

    Still waiting on MEET THE STAVROS.

  40. shon says:

    For most TF2 fans, it’s okay to set someone on fire, shoot them through the head, nail them with four different shotguns, stab them on the back, shoot them with syringes and blow them up seven ways from Sunday, but throwing non-lethal urine at people is crossing the line.

  41. FunkyB says:

    @Anthony, shon and abhishek:
    I’m not offended and I wouldn’t think that anyone else is *really*, despite the frothing rage that builds up on the Steam forums. Many just think the idea is a bit puerile, that’s all. The unlockable itself I think sounds really good though and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays.

  42. phil says:

    The spy is lucky it’s not James Bond’s piss, a face full of that stuff is enough to kill Wrestlers.

  43. Bulalo says:

    You know what makes this all even funnier? Jarate is having the same exact effect on the people crying about immaturity as it does in the game; “forcing your enemies to accept a terrifying new existence, where people do awful things to them ALL THE TIME for NO REASON and DIGNITY DOES NOT EXIST.”

    I can’t wait to throw jars of piss at those players, if they haven’t gone through their threats of uninstalling their games already.

  44. Captain Haplo says:

    The people who are reacting with disgust to this weapon?

    You have just proven its effectiveness. There are bullets racing towards you, prepared to do 35% more damage to your uncloaked, urine-covered behinds.

  45. passingtramp says:

    Luckily I’m British, so genetically obliged to love toilet humour. Toilet humour, hooray!

  46. Premium User Badge

    Seniath says:

    I wonder what significance can be taken from the Scout’s desire for tacos?

    Or rather, I wonder what significance those crazy nuts over on the forums will see.

    Fuck. Now I want tacos.

  47. Xocrates says:

    I have to agree with FunkyB, while what the item does is great, I wish it felt a bit less demeaning.

    True, probably by day 2 of the update I will already be used to the idea and be throwing jars of piss left and right.

  48. Robyrt says:

    Chalk me up with the “disgusted” crowd. There’s really no reason to go with the toilet humor here. Violence, yes – the entire game is about cartoon violence, so I expect plenty of that, but I didn’t sign up to have any of my OTHER sensibilities offended. I just thought the Sniper had more class than a Bart Simpson line.

    Just because it’s funny as a parody doesn’t mean it’ll be any easier to explain to your girlfriend what that poison grenade really is.

  49. Alex Hopkinson says:

    I wonder whether Saxton Hale can use his almighty jars to change the shape of the Pentagon into a circle…

  50. Stoffig says:

    Wonder what the emote will be with the pissjar