In 1999, Team Fortress Classic (also known as Team Fortress 1.5) was released as a free additional game for people who bought Half-Life. The game was a remake of a Quake mod known simply as “Team Fortress,” made by John Cook and Robin Walker, before joining Valve.
Several changes in Valve’s version included total revisions of the character and level designs, as well as the game modes, in order to emphasize teamwork as a gameplay mechanic.
Being a mod for Half-Life, the game ties into many of the settings in it, including military bunkers and lab facilities similar to the ones explored in Black Mesa, along with similar weapons, such as grenades and the signature crownbar. The lambda symbol shows up frequently, including on the box art, suggesting that the game has some connection to the Half-Life universe, other than being a mod.
Team Fortress Classic was later released as a stand-alone game, with updated models for the characters, but the lambda symbols remained.
When Team Fortress 2 was finally released in 2007, it was filled with numerous bugs and misplaced files that were later cleaned up. Up until about two months after it’s release, it was possible to find a “data” folder in the hl2 resource section of TF2’s files.
The file held a large portion of discarded content, such as unused textures and scripts that can still probably be found in other locations, except for the ones labled “mtp.” For example: mtp_room.ain, mtp_civ.vtx, etc. Amongst them was a movie file simply titled “MTP.AVI.”
Upon opening it, a very strange video would start playing.
The video opens up to marketing data text, as seen in the beginning of TF2’s “Meet The Heavy” video, only the “cleared for public release” line was labeled “no.” In the backdrop is a dark, fuzzy image of a ruined town, similar to the ones found in Half-Life 2.
The screen then cuts to a seated figure in a chair, wearing a green hood, a leather apron, and a gas mask. The figure is shown seated in a burning kitchen, at a table with four seated (or slouched) burnt corpses. Two of the corpses seem to have animation/clipping errors, as their heads do a weird flail every 4 seconds. On the table in front of the figure is a low-res flamethrower, which the figure nervously grips at. This scene is shown at several angles while a muffled voice, similar to that of HL2’s Combine, but with a much more depressed/human tone to it, mutters something.
“It never ends. The air is… hey, put some sort of gas in it. With the mask, I’m fine. A lot of these people should be dead. That’s how you know they’re not real. Or bad. Only bad people breathe gas. Fire gets rid of the gas. Gets rid of the bad. I’m okay, I’m okay. The gas burns away.”
This narration can only be heard clearly after playing with the pitch and eliminating some of the static from the sound file. It can be assumed that the masked person is doing the narrating, but it is not certain.
The scene then abruptly cuts to a black screen, where the following string of binary shows up:
(Upon translation, it reads, “Daisy did it. He’s gone now.”)
It stays up for several seconds while a badly-recorded line of Dr. Breen’s (from HL2) plays, “-cide, if you will. Did the lungfish refuse to breathe air? It did not. It crept forth boldly while its brethren remained in the blackest ocean abyss, with lidless eyes forever staring at the dark, ignorant and doomed despite their eternal vi-”
Another cut is made to a live-action scene this time. The camera is going through someone’s kitchen seemingly burnt out from the inside. It stops at a shot of an oven, where the charred body of someone is laying head-first into the oven.
And then the video ends.
Indeed, it’s a very strange thing to watch, and difficult to understand, but here’s what I’ve come to make of it.
Among the cut content for Half-Life 2 was a location called “AirEx,” a tower that pumped some sort of toxin into City 17’s air. It was supposed to be safe for the Combine, but bad for humans, forcing the citizens in the city to wear gas masks and protective suits identical to the figure in the video when going outside.
My guess is that given the similarities of the gas mask and flamethrower between the TF2 Pyro character, and the person that appears in this video, that this is an unfinished prototype of what Meet The Pyro would have been if TF2 had maintained it’s connection to the Half-Life universe. The Pyro character may have, at one point, been an escaped citizen of City 17 that became paranoid of the toxicity of the air no matter where he (for the sake of argument, as the combine voice did sound masculine) was.
However, due to the fact that AirEx was cut from Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 severed its ties with the Half-Life universe, this obviously never happened.
It is said that one of the few people who came across this video emailed Robin Walker about it, but in his response, he claims that no such video was ever made.
It has been rumored, however, that one of the guys on TF2’s development team let a cousin of theirs, who was a huge fan of Half-Life, volunteer there for a short time in 2002. He is said to have grown a very creepy obsession with the game as more material for hypothetical storylines, such as AirEx, began to appear in development. He later died in “some sort of accident,” but it was never explained what happened, though it is theorized that it was suicide, as he suffered from severe depression.
The City 17 Pyro was dubbed as “Daisy” by an anonymous irc channel, after the bizarre binary message in the video.
After the removal of the mtp files from TF2’s resource folder, it seems that this video was never saved, as it seems to have been all but forgotten and can no longer be found anywhere.
Flamethrower and gas mask aside, TF2’s actual Pyro seems to have no relation to “Daisy.” The flower-printed purse found amongst Pyro’s things in TF2 may or may not, however, be a hint.