Team Fortress 2 Gets New Ball Sport PASS Time Mode

Isn’t it nice when companies become friends? Valve and Bad Robot, J. J. Abrams production company responsible for TV shows like Lost and movies like Super 8, have teamed up to produce a new mode for Team Fortress 2 [official site]. It’s called PASS Time and it blends Team Fortress 2 with the “fast-paced sports of soccer, hockey and basketball.”

PASS Time splits players into two teams as normal, but with goals at either end of the map and the ball somewhere in the middle. The player who picks up the ball gets health regeneration, a temporary speedboost, and visibility of every player on the map. If you melee kill the player with the ball, you steal it, whereas if you kill them with projectile weapons the ball is spilled and must be picked up from the ground. Whichever team scores the most goals, wins.

It sounds a little like old Unreal Tournament mode Bombing Run, though I suppose only in as much as they’re both based on ball sports. The post on the TF2 blog about the mode is at least keen to stress the importance of passing and tactics, two things that rarely materalise amid the “run towards the ball” chaos of other similar games.

Development duties on the new mode fell to Escalation Studios, the company started by former Ritual Entertainment co-founder Tom Mustaine, although the design was handled by the bods at Bad Robot. They’re looking to gather feedback on what they describe as an early version of the mode and have set up an email address,, for people to write them with their suggestions, comments and third-act fixes for Star Trek Into Darkness.

PASS Time is out now and, if you’re running Steam, Team Fortress 2 will automatically update.


  1. fug says:

    Remember PUSH?…. anyone?

  2. zxcasdqwecat says:

    *brace yourselves joke*

  3. melnificent says:

    Rocket league = Ball + cars
    PASS = Ball + weapons

    Next will be Ball + Zombies.

  4. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    visibility of every player on the map

    So enemy players are invisible to everyone else, or what?

    • iucounu says:

      I assume the idea is that when you get the ball, they’re visible through walls or something.

  5. TheAngriestHobo says:

    What a weird project. A gaming giant and a TV production company get together to build a free new game mode for TF2. What does Bad Robot get out of this, anyways?

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      I remember Valve made a little thing for Super 8 a few years ago. You were a person on the train just before it crashes I believe. Then after the ‘splosions you could walk around the disaster area.

      It was just a little promotional thing Valve did for the movie, so maybe this is Bad Robot essentially returning the favour.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Oh, God, that thing. It was in the menu on Portal 2, for some reason. It was a playable teaser for…a movie.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        But seriously, my question was what are Bad Robot contributing? A game studio making a game for a movie studio’s movie makes sense, but how would a movie studio help a game studio make a game?

        The Valve post says “a new game mode for Team Fortress 2 dreamed up by Bad Robot and co-developed with the talented folks at Escalation Studios,” which makes me think that this was just Bad Robot saying “Hey, you should make a TF2 ballgame mode” and Valve saying “sure, that sounds fun.”

        (Not that I’m complaining)

  6. Will the wtf says:

    10th class = ball

  7. unraveler says:

    No comic this time? :(

  8. Richard_from_Winnipeg says:

    First post here. Name comes from the fact that I read an American football site where an individual goes by James from London.

    This sounds a lot like Grifball from Halo but with more weapons.

    I think the passing aspect as well as the arenas are a very important aspect that need to be well designed. Are they playing this in already existing TF2 maps? I have no idea how well this would work in the game as I literally have maybe 4 hours in TF2.

    Anyone know how this might compare to the Star Wars The Old Republic Game? I would try to make some enlightening comment but unfortunately I never played that game.

  9. SingularityParadigm says:

    Anyone remember Murderball from Team Fortress Classic?

  10. Distec says:

    So when do I get The Hunted back, Valve.

    Payload does not count.

  11. Jalan says:

    Well, there’s gotta be more of an effort to do something with this than there was the “likely never going to exit beta phase” robot destruction mode, right?

    • Xzi says:

      Yeah, fuck free content!


      • Jalan says:

        I can’t determine if you chose my post to respond to because you genuinely took away from it that I was bemoaning the addition of another free game mode or because you wanted to do so and couldn’t justify posting alone to do it.

        I’ll assume the first scenario and add that my post is the exact opposite – I’m always for the inclusion of a new mode (whether I’ll play it personally or not) of play. I’d appreciate it even more if something comes of it, instead of it sitting virtually stagnant despite the inclination given that more would be developed from/within it (hence the mention of Robot Destruction).

        • liquidsoap89 says:

          Weren’t new maps added to MvM? I’m pretty sure the Manhattan stuff was added later…

          • Cantisque says:

            I’m sure the extra MvM maps were added before the first set of beta maps.
            I haven’t heard anything about those since they first launched, and they had 4 new fully working maps added in the last update.

  12. AliceCalch says:

    I guess, it might be interesting. I’ll try.

  13. AliceCalch says:

    They don’t have problems with creativity I can see, but if smb has, take a look at this article