You’re on your favourite map. It’s full of people, shooting, exploding, taunting, whatever. Everywhere you look, there’s someone. friend or foe, doesn’t matter.
So why am I asking where everyone is?
Well, I’m not talking about players. I’m not talking about our 9 valiant heroes and their 9 scum-sucking worthless doppelgangers. I’m talking about everybody else.
You know, everyone.
Let’s take Well, for example. You are likely familiar with it. Spawn behind a rocket, wander out through a warehouse, fight in the middle while dodging trains. However, what you might not notice as you run off to kill and be killed, is that there are areas of the map that should be full of people. Meeting rooms, offices, computer terminals, that sort of thing.
And yet, those places are empty. Devoid of life. So, where is everyone?
For example, here’s an office visible in an odd corner of the BLU base on Well.
There’s a desk, a clock, even a phone. But there’s nobody in that office. Nobody to answer that phone should it ring. Which it won’t, because there’s nobody to make a call on it.
Or how about this room? It looks like a shipping/receiving office, complete with a keg of beer (the bases on Well are a distillery and a brewery, after all). You can see plenty of empty chairs and a door leading deeper into the base, but you know what’s not in those chairs? People.
This room (or at least the RED version of it) also contains the loneliest lunch in the world.
I think the BLU version has a thermos in it. Which makes it the loneliest thermos in the world. Does it contain soup? Or coffee? Or some unholy combination thereof? Maybe it’s a good thing we’ll never find out.
Now, the easy explanation for why these rooms are empty is probably that the RED and BLU corporations cleared out their non-military personnel for the duration of the armed conflict. But if that’s the case, why is there bulletproof glass everywhere?
Nobody can shoot the distilling equipment. Which I guess is a good thing. Horrible waste of perfectly good booze otherwise.
In theory, these places could be maintaining their operations during the conflict. Maybe with a slight risk, but they look to have enough defences in place to ensure the workers are at least somewhat safe. Otherwise, they’re clearly protecting themselves from themselves. And that only makes sense if friendly fire is on.
It actually makes more sense to maintain at least a light crew of workers. The brewing business is very profitable, and most everybody likes to imbibe now and then. These companies are just taking money out of their own pockets. Rockets, teleporters, and $200 custom-tooled cartridges aren’t cheap, and all of the above get expended in large amounts. I weep for RED and BLU’s accounting departments.
This theory also involves some bouts of reasoning. Were the 9 bloodthirsty warriors brought in specifically to fight? Are they always stationed around the bases, even when production is ongoing? Is that why there’s bulletproof glass, to protect the workers from a bored heavy? And how awkward must the watercooler conversations be for the workers?
“So, good weekend?”
“What’d you do?”
“Pushups. Situps. Beat a man to death with a shovel. You know, regular Saturday afternoon.”
“Oh, um, well. How bout you, big guy?”
“I ate sandvich and cleaned gun. Puny neighbour tried to tell me I park too close to curb, so I introduce him to Sasha. Then cleaned her again.”
“Well, look at the time… Back to work… Later guys.”
Worker turnover must be pretty high if they have to spend their whole shifts wondering if today’s the day they trip over a sticky bomb, or the sentry recognizes them wrong.
Another theory is that the workers are, in fact, our 9 most hated enemies. Have they been pulled away from their regular duties to defend the base against the invading army? Or to take over the other side of the map in a bizarre corporate acquisition gone wrong? Are they just fighting this war so they can get back to work (and had it spiral ridiculously out of control in the process)?
Or, maybe nobody’s there because nobody wants to be there. A war that’s dragged on far too long, with the entire civilian population killed or displaced. Maybe there’s nobody in the office, nobody in the distillery, nobody to eat the lunch or coffee soup, nobody anywhere because there’s nobody left.
At least they enjoyed themselves on their way out.