Couldn’t help myself and made this silly thing out of a stray idea today. Dating sims are pretty popular lately, so why not? It’s funny! To me, at least.
Basically, you’d pick male or female Driver and try to find romance with his/her roster of suitors. Some are available for both genders while others are exclusive to either a guy or gal protagonist. And depending on who you befriend and woo, you can observe different interactions between other characters, not just you and your romance target. This is complicated and would almost certainly be a nightmare to program, but that’s fine because this game will never exist.
Female Driver’s suitors:
Male Driver’s suitors:
Different options would have different levels of difficulty. For example, Engie and Heavy would both be extremely easy to get in their respective scenarios because of the way the story is set up. (They’d probably be the ones you end up with on your first couple of playthroughs.) Most are middling, where you need to check off a certain number of requirements for them to be able to play out. Some would be tricky to get, like Sniper, who’s a chronic loner. The hardest to get would be Spy, who has very specific requirements and several unspoken dealbreakers. So like, if you went after Spy and did everything just right, except that you also flirted a bit with Scout, he’d shut you down because ew.
There’d be other characters you could flirt with unexpectedly who wouldn’t actually be romance options. If male or female Driver were to flirt too much with Zhanna or Soldier, respectively, you’d die a gruesomely hilarious death at the hands of your rival. Or Merasmus. Yeah, you could try to make out with Merasmus if that floats your boat, but you’d still die a gruesomely hilarious death, albeit a different one. This could be a thing for tons of side characters, including (but not limited to) Saxton Hale, Balloonicorn, Scout’s ma, a lamp, the Eyelander, a robot, or Lieutenant Bites. Death, death, and more death.
And there’d be an option to not romance anyone at all, which could unlock some interesting things. I’d want to delve into some recursive meta-narrative stuff because I’m a nerd like that.
Anyway, enough from me! Just wanted to put that out there because it made me smile to think about. I hope others either enjoy it, too, or get really annoyed with me. Either way, I’m still amused!
This is a rough idea as to how I’d plan out a new on-going TF2 series if I were given the chance, based on what I know of established plot and my major assumptions about what some of the final developments are likely to be. When (if?) part 7 of the current TF2 comics storyline gets released, a lot of this may get rendered moot. I’m just spit-balling, anyway. It’s fun!
So! Here we go.
Picking back up in the spring of 1974. Everything is different yet also pretty much exactly the same.
Demo gets saddled with Merasmus, first as a roommate, then as a magical mentor. Merasmus knows he must eventually train a successor to carry his arcane knowledge into the future, and while this guy may be drunk half the time, he actually has a lot of potential. And besides, he did Merasmus a solid when he took him in. So Demo embarks on a wondrous-yet-annoying quest to unlock his magical potential and claim his alchemical heritage. Merasmus and Mrs. DeGroot get along like they’ve been friends their whole lives, of course. Demo’s home life becomes a wacky supernatural sitcom starring himself, Merasmus, his mum, and his three familiars Eyelander, Bombnomicon, and Mini Monoculous. (Those three have their own weird dynamic. None of them actually like each other very much.) And hey, magic powers!!!!
Zhanna and Soldier have the biggest, stupidest, most elaborate Hawaiian wedding ever because it’s the furthest thing from that frozen Siberian hellscape she could imagine. (Soldier grumbles a bit that it’s barely even America, but finally relents.) Literally everyone is invited, including any and all NPCs, old enemies, the ghost of Tom Jones, a clan of raccoons, and close family of the mercs. We get to meet Soldier’s weirdly normal family and catch up with Zhanna’s family. Soldier turns into a drama-bomb groomzilla while Zhanna is just overwhelmed with happiness. She falls into a coma from the mental shock and is roused out of it when magical intervention annoys her into returning to reality. Once married, they immediately begin furiously attempting to conceive a child. Like, more than they were before.
Heavy himself is adjusting to his new family situation and being a little overbearing (unintentionally.) His mother is happy to be taken care of, so he moves her to America and builds her a beautiful cottage not too far from where he lives. It has all the amenities, including a high-powered laser mounted on the roof. Zhanna is starting her own family, and he’s secretly giddy at the idea of being an uncle. Yana and Bronislava are both off on their own world-trotting adventures, but they don’t write him as often as he would like. He’s collecting the selfies they mail him from all the exotic locations they visit into a photo album, which he likes to flip through and feel that big brother combination of pride and worry.
Medic has to deal with his past, such as his parents. He’s finally gotten around to going through the box of keepsakes and documents left to him by his mother, where he makes some interesting discoveries, and his elderly father comes sniffing around, presumably to take advantage of his estranged son’s advances in rejuvenatory medicine. Meanwhile, occasional bids from Mephisto, Perdition Representative and current minority shareholder of his souls, to tempt him into trading for more favors are casually swatted away. (I mean, until he actually wants something he can’t accomplish himself.) Medic really shouldn’t underestimate a sufficiently pissed-off devil, though. They have ways.
Throughout every story, hints are occasionally dropped that Pyro is an alien. Some are subtle, some… less so. Someone important apparently takes notice when Pyro begins to be followed around by 70s-era X-Files style FBI agents. Balloonicorn delights in terrorizing them, but Pyro is looking forward to making real good friends! Ultimately, nothing is ever revealed one way or another about Pyro’s nature, so everyone just ends up kind of confused.
Saxton Hale has stepped down as the big boss of Mann Co (handed over to Miss Pauling, who will sometimes call for advice) but remains an investor. He and Mags are now a power couple, but he’s going through a mid-life crisis in which he’s seeking out and wrestling the most legendary, dangerous monsters in the world, which is getting dangerous even for him. Mags has her own complicated feelings about the rekindled relationship, including the baggage from her past marriages, brief as they were. Eventually Saxton must face the fact that the most challenging foe he must wrestle into submission is… HIS DUTY TO MANKIND (and Mags.) They return to Australia to help rebuild after the loss of all the world’s Australium and oppose Charles Darling’s growing post-apocalyptic Thunderdome-esque zoo-based empire.
Sniper has manned a disastrous submarine expedition to the sunken ruins of New Zealand (because he built it himself and refused to ask for help) and barely survived. He reluctantly asks his fellow mercs and Miss Pauling for help in a second expedition, recovering artifacts of his lost heritage in return for sharing it with Mann Co. He also gets roped into Mad Max-esque adventures with Saxton Hale and Mags. And of course, his birth parents are still at-large, which he doesn’t know how to deal with AT ALL.
Miss Pauling is juggling several explosives at once. First, she’s just getting the hang of being Mann Co. boss (including having people do things FOR HER, her assistants Bidwell and Reddy), dealing with the terrorist cult Rise & Shine that’s out to ruin the company, hiring new staff (Driver to help with the cult situation and a new merc liaison to fill her old role, Chicken Girl), forging her vision for the future of Mann Co., and deciding how to deal with the company’s inconvenient ward Olivia Mann. She has her fair share of frazzled moments and sudden urges to dump all her responsibilities and run far, far away, but she never does. That’s not who she is. Oh, and she gets a girlfriend, so that’s nice.
The new liaison Chicken Girl (as everyone insists on calling her after Scout recognizes her) doesn’t actually remember Scout and finds him very aggravating, but not enough to quit her new super-legit job, which she’s actually very good at, once she gets the hang of it. She just wishes they’d stop calling her Chicken Girl. Just “Chick” isn’t an acceptable substitute.
Engie is increasingly called on by Miss Pauling to consult on developing exciting new tech for Mann Co, which is especially important in a world without Australium to fuel effortless scientific discovery. The McMANN is his first such success, and he’s so excited and proud! He collaborated with Driver, the new blood, on its final design, but it was 95% his project. (He’s pretty sure that goes without saying.) Engie spends a lot of his time quietly tinkering away at ideas to make the McMANN even better, but he cooking up some other stuff that he knows Miss Pauling will be interested in. Even though some of it’s a little… weird.
Scout, Spy, and Scout’s ma are awkwardly trying to form a conventional family unit. This is extremely complicated because Scout is still convinced his father is Tom Jones and there are all those older brothers to deal with. The most successful moments happen when Scout’s ma tricks the two of them into spending time with her for a nice outing like a picnic at an outdoor concert, a baseball game, a demolition derby, etc. (Of course, there are shenanigans.) We also learn about the history behind Scout’s parentage.
The Mann brothers are all still hanging around as increasingly irrelevant ghosts, doing silly ghost stuff. Since they’re triplets, none of them can move on unless they all do, and it’s a constant source of arguments. Redmond & Blutarch just want to pull spooky pranks on people, but Gray takes as much time as he can to try to influence and even possess his daughter Olivia, which she eventually starts fighting.
I would include Driver in this new set-up, as previously mentioned. As the new recruit, she’d be the one to ask questions about stuff the audience might want answers to, which is a useful function in fiction where a bunch of crazy shit happens all the time. She’d have her own little character arcs, too, but I’ve gone on enough about all that.
And do keep an eye on that weird new cult that has it out for Mann Co. Rise & Shine? Yeah, I’ve mentioned them a few times. To the public, they seem so cute and harmless, with their chubby smiling mascot of a guru, talk show coverage, novelty songs, and funny comic book series. But we know better.