Gaming studio Valve has released a 15-minute film short starring the colorful characters from its popular Team Fortress series, and it's pretty fantastic. The story, "Expiration Date," follows the team of mercenaries on what may be their last 72 hours alive, and it's funny, original, and well-crafted.
The film's debut coincides with the release of new content for the game this week, beginning with the "Love and War" update that will allow players to dance with enemies or challenge them to a game of rock, paper, scissors.
Valve has a flair for animated films; the series of brief Team Fortress character introductions like "Meet the Pyro" and "Meet the Medic" for Team Fortress has had more than 85 million views on YouTube and was widely hailed as a genius marketing campaign.
Back in 2012, there were rumors that Valve would be producing something or Cartoon Network, but a show never materialized. Now, most of Valve's animation is made by fans using the official Source Filmmaker tool, which is what Valve uses to make movies with its game characters. The company also gives out the "Saxxy Awards" to the best films.
There is no indication that "Expiration Date" is part of a series, but there has been an outpouring of fan love. The video is already closing in on a million views on YouTube.