Chaos Erupts As Team Fortress 2 Jacks Player Count Up To 100

Team Fortress 2 has now been with us for over 15 years, and for some reason, developer Valve just decided to jack the maximum number of players who can join a server at once up to 100. Valve doesn’t actually recommend you play with that many people, and warns that the game doesn’t properly support that many players, but that hasn’t stopped the community from creating chaotic 100-player TF2 servers.

Valve’s online class-based FPS, Team Fortress 2, isn’t a spring chicken by any definition, having first been released back in 2007 for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. And while the console versions have been long since abandoned, the PC version on Steam has continued to receive hundreds of tiny, medium-sized, and significantly large updates, all of which have been free. The latest update to the classic shooter has provided gamers with an option to set the world on fire and invite 99 other TF2 players into a single server.

On July 25, Valve released an update for Team Fortress 2. The patch notes reveal a pretty lengthy list of tweaks and changes, but the one change that caught the attention of many was the quiet announcement that the game’s maximum player count had increased from 32 to 100.

Valve: Don’t make 100-player servers, Gamers: LOL

Also in the patch notes? A warning from Valve letting players know that this new max player count is totally “unsupported” and “not recommended.” In other words, Valve isn’t going to spend time fixing bugs introduced by playing with 99 other folks. If shit breaks, that’s just how it goes. You were warned, after all.

Freddy210hill / Valve

As you can probably guess, even with that warning, many players have already fired up servers with the new max player count, and the chaos that followed was incredible. Watching people play on 100-player servers feels like looking into an alternate dimension in which Valve teamed up with Sega to put out a Total War: Team Fortress 2 spin-off.

Unsurprisingly, playing Team Fortress 2 with this many players causes some issues. Players are reporting lots of lag, poor framerates, broken models, collision problems, and even some instances when the game just crashes completely. That’s not surprising considering this is a 16-year-old game that was never designed to handle 75 people, let alone 100.

But also, I love this so much. Good for you TF2! There is something very impressive about 100 people in a single TF2 match. It’s like an old car making a long road trip after years without a tune-up. It might stall a few times, overheat, or even lock up, but it gets the job done. Brings a tear to your eye, really. It’s also a perfect time to let people create high-player-count servers, as Team Fortress 2 is setting player count records on Steam following the last big update.


GTA Online Publisher Execs Get $72M Thanks To Player Spending

According to new documents, GTA, Borderlands, and NBA 2K publisher Take-Two Interactive is paying two of its top execs over $70 million this year, over twice what it paid the same executives last year. And that number could increase next year, as players continue to spend more and more on in-game purchases.

It’s no secret that some video game publishers pay their top executives a lot of money. But in the horrible world of corporate capitalism, numbers can always go up. For example, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick and President Karl Slatoff were paid a combined $30,040,000 last year. A very large number, sure! But as previously reported, their new contracts were designed to reward them for how well the company performed. A large chunk of that performance-based payout is directly connected to how much money the company is bringing in from “recurrent consumer spending,” aka microtransactions and battle passes. And it turns out, over the last year, a lot of people have spent a lot of money buying shit in various Take-Two-owned video games.

The revelation came about as Take-Two Interactive just released its annual proxy filing to stock owners. And disclosed in the publicly accessible SEC filing (h/t Axios) was the confirmation that over the past year Zelnick and Slatoff were paid a combined (and hard-to-fathom) $72,350,718 via a mix of cash and stock. The top execs are part of their own management company, ZMC. Take-Two pays ZMC that large sum of money and it is split between the two in a contract that Axios points out gives Slatoff no more than 40 percent.

Dig a bit deeper into that massive number and you’ll see that a sizable piece of ZMC’s payday, around $44 million, is directly influenced by Take-Two’s performance. Specifically, nearly 25 percent of that is based on Take-Two expecting an increase in people buying up microtransactions in popular games like NBA 2K23 and GTA Online, as well as Take-Two’s mobile games.

What does this mean? Well, if the two execs lead the company in a way that sees MTX spending increase, their next payday could skyrocket beyond a combined $70 million. But if in-app purchases decrease or fail to grow, they could see a decrease in compensation.

So, with all that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that practically every Take-Two published game and franchise is filled to the brim with extra ways to buy digital stuff. The people in charge can’t buy more fancy cars and big yachts otherwise, which might explain the slot machines in NBA 2K.


FIFA 23 Introduces The First Hijab-Wearing Player

Nouhaila Benzina stares out at a blurry field during a game.

Photo: Maddie Meyer / FIFA (Getty Images)

A recent FIFA 23 update adds 25-year-old Moroccan footballer Nouhaila Benzina’s hijab to her in-game character model, signifying the first time EA’s soccer simulator has ever included a head covering on a player.

History necessitated it: Benzina, whose team is reshaping global expectations by killing this year’s Women’s World Cup, is also the first senior-level World Cup player to wear a hijab during a game. FIFA completely lifted its head coverings ban (which existed, strangely, out of fear of coverings impacting player “safety”) in 2014 (when it discovered that a tied strip of cloth is not exactly a safety hazard).

It’s taken nearly a decade for a player like Benzina to take full advantage of the altered policy, though, no doubt in part because of the unfair and conflicting cultural roles placed specifically on Muslim women. These stringencies include those placed on women by countries like France, which defies FIFA rules and bans French soccer players from wearing headscarves.

But the Moroccan team has been pushing forward. “We are honored to be the first Arab country to take part in the Women’s World Cup,” said Morocco team captain Ghizlane Chebbak ahead of its win against South Korea on July 30. “We feel that we have to shoulder a big responsibility to give a good image, to show the achievements the Moroccan team has made.” Benzina wearing her hijab on the field that day, and every day, was a simple act of self-determination, one that sends pride rippling through the world.

“I have no doubt that more and more women and Muslim girls will look at Benzina and just really be inspired—not just the players, but I think decision makers, coaches, other sports as well,” said Muslim Women in Sports Network co-founder Assmaah Helal told the Associated Press earlier this summer.

Other updates from FIFA 23’s Title Update 16 include fixed stadium graphics, bug fixes for injured players, and an “added ability to switch between Online and Offline status” on EA Social.


Destiny 2 Ditching Seasonal Model Amid Player Burnout

A Destiny 2 Guardian wields a void axe.

Image: Bungie

For years now, Destiny 2 has followed a similar pattern: release a big annual expansion followed by four individual seasons with familiar loot grinds and a predictable pace of narrative beats. No longer. After The Final Shape drops in early 2024, Bungie revealed the game will move to a new structure with bigger but fewer updates throughout the year.

The announcement came during today’s 2023 Destiny 2 showcase and it’s still not entirely clear how the new system will work. Here’s what we do know. Instead of four seasons a year, players will get three episodes. Each episode will span 18 weeks and consist of three acts. New story missions, quests, and gear will then be introduced throughout the episode. The first three for 2024 are called Echoes, Revenant, and Heresy.

Read More: Destiny 2: The Final Shape Takes Players Inside The Traveler For A Fight 10 Years In The Making

Bungie is also promising that players can jump into episodes in any order they want, making them sound more self-contained than current seasons, which often build off the events in the prior one. Will episodes only last through the year before their content is wiped away like Bungie does with the current seasonal structure? Is this the same amont of content spread out through the year more evenly, or fewer updates (three instead of four) in favor of bigger, more impactful ones?

Destiny 2's new act structure is displayed as a roadmap.

Screenshot: Bungie / Kotaku

The massive shift in the weekly life of Destiny 2 players will arrive after The Final Shape expansion wraps up the in-game events of the past decade. The first three episodes will deal with the fallout from that showdown, and almost sound like an epilogue as the Destiny universe figures out the core conflicts that will define the future of its universe. They’ll also be arriving as players debate the health and sustainability of Destiny 2 as a live service following a dissapointing Lightfall expansion and major criticisms of the sci-fi MMO’s pricey microtransctions.

Game Director Joe Blackburn tried to win back some goodwill from the Destiny community in a very brief but perseonal video released a week prior to the showcase. Among other things, he mentioend Bungie would be putting together a strike team to focus on improving PvP, once a core pillar of the game. He also promised fans a free set of Eververse armor in Season 22, which went live today.

Notably, he said nothing in the 2023 showcase was a direct response to recent community backlashes. Episodes may be exactly what Destiny 2 needs to find a better balance between drip-feeding out new content and leaving players bored and hungry between each big new update. In the meantime, the bigger conversation around what the future of Destiny can and should be will continue.


Super Smash Bros. Melee Player Takes Selfie Mid-Match, Owns

Gif: Nintendo / VGBootCamp / Kotaku

Every now and then I get a reminder that the kids are alright. Sure, they’re gonna be facing some of the worst economic hardships in memory after AI replaces our jobs and capitalism finishes ruining everything else, but apparently they’ll be straight-up vibing as the world burns. The latest reminder of this comes from RJ “OG Kid” Dodd, a 15-year-old competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee player who took a selfie in the middle of a match. Iconic, honestly.

Dodd plays Jigglypuff on the GameCube crossover brawler, and competed in a tournament at Super Smash Con in Chantilly, Virginia on August 11. The event gathered players from around the world to play every iteration of Nintendo’s crossover fighter, from the original Nintendo 64 game to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Switch. There are plenty of VODs from the show online, but I want to draw your attention to this one, in which Dodd’s Jigglypuff went up against Sushi’s Peach.

Nintendo / VGBootCamp

Dodd’s Jigglypuff is a menace, and his counterplay against Peach is fun to watch. But I gotta give the kid props for not only winning the fight, but popping off on stream both by glaring into the camera multiple times and by snapping a selfie midmatch while Peach was between spawns. Competitive play is a fun viewing experience, but I also find it delightful to watch it unfold with some swagger and theatrics. The commentators called the move “content-pilled,” but I call it “a serve.”

According to, Dodd ultimately placed 129 in the 860-person tournament, but I hope to see him show up with more antics in future tournaments, as he’s been doing work in the scene for the past two years and has placed in the top 10 at several tournaments. The commentators here even say in the match that this kid could be the future of Melee, so I’m rooting for you, king.

[Update, 8/26/23: This article has been updated to correct a spelling error in Dodd’s name. We regret the error]

Baldur’s Gate 3 Player Spent The Month Murdering 583 NPCs

For the past few weeks, Reddit user and Baldur’s Gate 3 player u/caufenkamp has been using the BG3 sub to catalogue their guilty pleasure: genociding NPCs. They hit a new milestone on August 26, having murdered and left to rot 583 NPCs from the D&D role-playing game’s Act 1 and Act 2.

Blame it, at least partially, on the Dark Urge, an opaque origin story that inflicts your character with sadistic thoughts, many of which players feel a dark urge to execute.

While some Dark Urge prompts, which appear during dialogue options, can be suppressed or ignored, other roads are paved in blood no matter what. Though, none of those inescapable Dark Urge paths wind toward an NPC mass murder event. That was something caufenkamp, who plays a Dark Urge character anyway, discovered a knack for all on their own.

A screenshot shows a huge amount of dead Baldur's Gate 3 NPCs piled up at a camp site.

Screenshot: Reddit / caufenkamp / Larian Studios / Kotaku

To add more Law & Order spice to the situation, and with help from a carry weight mod, caufenkamp has also been dragging to and systematically categorizing their dead NPCs in a camp site, keeping the corpses accounted for by assigning them to a teddy bear container. They “[j]ust always thought it would be cool to see a visualization of all those you fight in a game,” they said on their first BG3 genocide post, originally spotted by Dexerto.

Read More: Baldur’s Gate 3’s First Big Patch Covers ‘Over 1000’ Problems

“Jeffrey Dahmer simulator,” observed someone in a popular comment.

By August 26, caufenkamp’s murder pile reached extraordinary new heights. You can barely even tell they took the time to sort the NPCs by type, like goblin, because many lifeless bodies overlap each other like flesh pasta.

“Kind of messy,” caufenkamp said about the assortment on Reddit. “Still lose some corpses, monsters, and animals randomly,” but they let them go—“I’m not necessarily going out of my way to murder people,” they continued.

Tell it to the judge. In any case, this serial killer seems destined for performance jail. Caufenkamp’s most recent Reddit update indicates their skeleton closet is causing “some performance problems outside of the camp map” as they work their way through Act 3.


Armored Core 6 Player Beats Every Boss With Just His Fists

Armored Core VI is hard enough if you’re playing it the right way, but have you considered trying to beat every boss without guns, laser swords, or rocket launchers? That’s what Twitch streamer ZeroLenny just did in what he’s billed as one of his least-fun stunt runs ever: He managed to beat the game using mech fisticuffs and nothing else.

If you’ve ever run out of ammo for one of your guns while playing Armored Core VI, you’ve probably noticed that you’ll automatically ditch the weapon and just start punching instead. You can in fact go into battle without any weapons at all and just punch enemies until they explode.

In some instances, punching can even be a little OP, as user Dynoexe demonstrated in a clip that blew up on the Armored Core subreddit yesterday. Punching does decent damage, has a quick cooldown, pulls you toward the enemy, and can even stunlock them for a bit if you get the right flow down. While not recommended against human opponents online, it can completely throw AI enemies off their game.

Enter ZeroLenny (via Eurogamer) who decided to try and take down every boss this way and document it in a video. Using only the assault charge kick and weapon-less arms, he managed to eventually beat the game, though it was clearly a slog. The tutorial helicopter boss was a pain because he couldn’t manually ditch his guns and had to rely solely on his charge kick. But after that, ZeroLenny quickly settled on a quad-leg build to maximize the kick effectiveness and aerial maneuverability.

Infamously tough boss Balteus wasn’t even that big of a chore. It was actually the Cleaner, a giant lava spewing street sweeper, that presented more of a nuisance due to the awkwardly placed weak spot and dangerous short-range swipes. Unsurprisingly, CEL 240 ended up being the toughest encounter simply because of its mobility and second-phase health bar. Even on multiple playthroughs that fight is still a pain, and I can’t imagine it without long-range, high-impact missiles to easily stagger it.

“Is this run hard?” ZeroLenny said near the end of his video. “Yes oh fucking god yes it is.” While the Ice Worm and CEL 240 were the biggest challenges, he noted that Core vs. Core fights are actually very straightforward thanks in large part to being able to pin similarly-sized opponents into corners like they’re in a boxing ring. So if you’re struggling against the late-game Cinder Carla fight, for example, maybe give it a try. The beauty of Armored Core VI is all about experimentation, after all.


Tears Of The Kingdom Player Beats Game Without Touching Surface

Link is shown falling through the sky toward a sky island.

Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

So much of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is spent jumping between Hyrule’s landscape and the floating islands above it that I can’t fathom somehow beating the game without traversing both the sky regions and Hyrule proper. But that’s exactly what one player miraculously managed to pull off.

TotK subreddit user Black_Hand_Gotthard shared a post (h/t Polygon) with a screenshot of both the ending cutscene and a map of the game’s sky layer filled out with all of the airborne fast-travel points, proving that they did indeed complete the game without visiting the surface of Hyrule. They responded to questions about how they pulled this off, and it sounds like they used a lot of the Zonai tech that gives you navigation tools like gliders to move through the air or rockets that propel you up higher. But it also sounds like the game’s highly popular makeshift hoverbike came in handy as well.

A screenshot of a Reddit post shows the map of Hyrule's sky islands.

So yeah, in theory, you could get around in Tears of the Kingdom without touching the ground for several hours. However, beating the game does require you to go down to the surface…but not necessarily touching down on Hyrule’s ground.

Spoilers for Tears of the Kingdom follow.

The final boss fight against Ganondorf takes place underneath the floating Hyrule Castle. Reaching this area would usually require something like the paraglider, which you have to go to the surface to get, but Black_Hand_Gotthard says they were able to survive by using fairies, which will revive Link should he lose all his health. Barreling from the sky islands to the core of Hyrule—bypassing the surface entirely—is nothing when you’ve got a little magical person stashed in a bottle in your pocket.

All of this is made possible by Tears of the Kingdom’s open structure, which doesn’t really require you to do anything specific at any time after you pass the prologue. That freedom means you can easily miss things like the paraglider that are ostensibly on the main path because you can simply fuck off and do other things.

Tears of the Kingdom has been out since May, and I’m still fascinated at how people are finding new ways to play it. It’s a shame we’re not getting DLC, because adding new toys and tools would no doubt give the community yet more oft-strange, definitely fascinating new ideas.

Buy The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop


Starfield Player Followed Across The Galaxy By An Entire City

Although early reviews claimed Starfield was Bethesda Game Studios’ most polished game to date, the open-space RPG still suffers from some of the strange, sometimes amusing, occasionally very helpful sorts of bugs and glitches the studio’s work is often known for. Maybe the most mind-boggling bug yet, however, is one that sees players being followed across space, not just by asteroids and other such objects, but even by forests and whole-ass cities.

Read More: Starfield Settings For A More Immersive Experience

Out now for Windows PC and Xbox consoles, Starfield is a game about exploring the farthest reaches of the black sea above us. You’ll join a troupe of space surveyors—as well as several other major and minor factions—to scour the cosmos looking for knowledge, loot, and power. Some helpful if annoying companions can accompany you on the voyage, which is nice. Traveling space can be lonely sometimes. But depending on how busted Starfield decides to be during your playthrough, you may find yourself yearning for that loneliness.

Stalkers are lurking in Starfield’s space

Across the game’s subreddit are posts from folks claiming that the most random of space objects are stalking them throughout the galaxy. On September 15, for example, redditor ReverendRoo posted nine images of an asteroid that had followed them “for the past 30 hours” like a pet. Similarly, on September 20, user Ultimastar shared four images on r/Starfield of an asteroid that “randomly attended my wedding” after 100 hours of gameplay. User Royal_Schedule4209 took to Reddit on September 22 to share an image of “a whole forest” that’s somehow been trailing their spaceship. Probably the wildest example of the bug, however, was shared on September 21 by redditor Punidue, who posted an image of “the whole New Atlantis” city creeping on them in space. Yikes.

That’s not all the things that’ve been breathing down the fuel tanks of Starfield players. One redditor claimed to have been followed by a part of a cave, while a separate commenter on user Xthekilr0y’s post about the asteroid following bug said they’re being chased by four pet rocks after mining asteroids. According to a few comments I’ve seen across multiple posts, the bug is seemingly permanent even if you reboot the game. The only way to get rid of them, at least for right now, is to either use console commands on PC or load a previous save. Regardless, this might be the most difficult dogfight you’ll ever find yourself in.

Kotaku reached out to Bethesda Games Studios for comment.

Read More: All Of Our Starfield Tips, Guides, News, And Reviews
Buy Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

The world is big, but space is bigger. It’s nice having friends to help the years spent gravjumping from system to system speed by. I’m just not sure these space objects are the besties we want hopping galaxies with us. They’re all sus.

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