Team Fortress 2 fans are going NUTS for the Summer Update's blubbery, adorable seals

Team Fortress 2
(Image credit: @SoundSmithTF2 on Twitter)

What you need to know

  • Team Fortress 2's 2023 Summer Update is finally here, and it adds 14 brand new community-made maps to the beloved class-based shooter along with an official version of the VS Saxton Hale mode.
  • One map in particular, Selbyen, features adorable seals that waddle towards the sea while players battle around them. Players can feed the seals fish to make them move faster.
  • The community has fallen in love with these seals, with hilarious clips and memes about them flooding social media. Whenever they spawn, many players on both teams form a truce so everyone can cheer the blubbery critters on together.
  • TF2, along with all of the gameplay content in the Summer Update, is available to play for free on Windows PC via Steam.

In case you haven't heard, Valve has finally pushed the first major Team Fortress 2 release since 2017's Jungle Inferno live: the Summer 2023 Update. Originally teased earlier this year, the massive patch adds tons of community-created content, including a Valve-supported implementation of the beloved VS Saxton Hale custom mode and 14 brand new maps. For many, though, the ultimate highlight of the update are the absolutely adorable seals that appear in Selbyen, one of the new maps created by well-known TF2 mapmakers Rhamkin and Zythe_.

Periodically, players will hear a fisherman (voiced by MegaPieManPHD) proclaim "release the seals!" as a van located in the back of the Norwegian fishing village opens, revealing a blubbery, plump seal (modelled by FGD5, textured by Blaholtzen, and animated by Nanoco1000) that hops out and begins shuffling towards the sea. It moves at a pretty leisurely pace on its own, though players can speed it up by collecting mackerels around the map and feeding them to the critter.

The seals don't have names officially, though Selbyen's creators seem to have settled on Silvia. Community members on the r/TF2 subreddit have made several suggestions of their own, including Clubsy Sr. (named after the Clubsy the Seal cosmetic for the Engineer), Clubby, Badger, Sir Payload, Big Slappy, and Bobby T. Efteu.

SEAL from r/tf2
We love seals from r/tf2

Though the typical chaos of TF2 battle ensues whenever there aren't any seals around, players on both teams are frequently agreeing to ceasefires whenever one spawns. Why kill each other when you can collectively fawn over cute animals, am I right? Unsurprisingly, there are several hilarious clips and memes about the seals on the TF2 subreddit and Twitter — the best of which we've embedded above — along with plenty of comments from enamored fans.

"Give a man a seal and he’ll forget the last 6 years without major updates," wrote u/IHateDeepStuff. "I love this map. Every time the seal crawls out everybody cease-fires just to admire him. The second the seal disappears it’s immediately back to war," says u/Memegamer3_Animated. At least the precious little blubbo's arrivals offer a brief respite from the bloodshed.

Notably, the Seal Summer Update has propelled TF2's concurrent player count to record highs, with the population peaking at 253,225 this morning according to SteamCharts data. At the moment, it's soared past PUBG and Apex Legends to become the third most-played game on Steam.

Team Fortress 2 is completely free-to-play on Steam, and is undoubtedly one of the best PC games available on Valve's distribution platform.


Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2's amazing gameplay, charm, and community make it one of the best games ever made, even after 16 years. It's available now on Steam for free, as is all of the amazing gameplay content added in the 2023 Summer Update.

Play for free: Steam

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.