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Any time we have a tie-in promotion with another game, we'll send the TF mercs a package with all the new items in it (except Heavy, who lives in some remote log mansion in the Dzhugdzhur Mountains. We just mail it to the nearest Siberian town, and they dogsled it up to him eventually). This gives them a chance to get acquainted with the new weaponry, so they're not surprised when they show up back to work.
But when we sent out our latest promotion--Rift, the upcoming MMO from Trion Worlds--we were puzzled when Scout sent it back, unopened. We gave him a call.
"Hey, man," we said. "We were wondering why you hadn't opened--"
"Are you frickin' kidding me? Another tie-in. My apartment's still filled up with crap from all the last ones."
[Sounds of rummaging.]
"Like this. Ear buds. What the hell am I supposed to do with ear buds? Play Sarah McLachlan at a guy until he gets so sad he dies? Look, alright, I'll open it, but I am done with this crap. Brown hat anna bat, that's my new motto. Simple, clean, eas--oh my GOD what is this beautiful thing?"
"It's called the Sun-on-a-Stick," we said.
"Holy crap, this is so friggin'..." [Sounds of swinging.]
"Did this come from hell? It did, didn't it? Awww, man. It's like what the Devil uses when he plugs up his toilet or somethin'."
[Sounds of burning flesh and screams.]
So that was that. We're hoping Steam customers who pre-order Rift by March 1st will have a similar reaction. You'll get two exclusive melee weapons in Team Fortress 2, the Sharpened Volcano Fragment and the Sun-on-a-Stick. Additionally, we're adding a permanent Team Fortress 2 achievement that grants players a redeemable code for an equally exclusive (and terrifying) headpiece in Rift, the Well Spun Hat.
Team Fortress 2 players will automatically receive the melee weapons beginning today. Players who want to snag a Well Spun Hat need to complete the new Riftwalker achievement. After applying the code on their Trion account page, Rift players will receive the Well Spun Hat in their in-game mailbox, beginning with the game's head-start period on February 24th.
The Sharpened Volcano Fragment and the Sun-on-a-Stick will be obtainable through crafting after the Rift pre-order period ends.
Here's a link to the hi-res version of the Scout/Pyro image.