Super Team-Up! The Left 4 Dead / Payday Crossover

Man, it seems like half a decade ago that we were getting all scared by the Witch. Oh wait, it was. I AM SO OLD

Seems a trifle odd to be saying this given 2009’s foremost angry internet man-generator was the perceived too-soon release of a sequel to Left 4 Dead, but Valve’s zombathons seem to me to have been left a little fallow of late. Team Fortress 2’s ongoing transformation into QVC, Portal 2’s awards-hogging and fever-pitch speculation about Half Life has been the order of the day for the last couple of years. You could – aheh- say that Left 4 Dead has been – aheh – left for dead. Aheh-heh-heh. Just my little joke, there.

Something is suddenly stirring, however (editor’s note – I really need more elegant alternatives to ‘however’ and ‘though’, which I know full well are often seen to be cludgy writing. Suggestions?), and it comes not from Valve, but from Payday: The Heist devs and recent Starbreeze acquisition Overkill.

What that something is seems opaque and vague at best. Rather than making you endure my pointless paraphrasing, here’s a public statement from Overkill game director Ulf Andersson:

“As perceptive gamers will have noticed, several hints have recently been dropped into PAYDAY The Heist, which has led to various rumors. We are excited to be able to confirm that an in-depth collaboration between OVERKILL and Valve is currently in production.

We are working on a very cool blend of PAYDAY and Left 4 Dead. I am sure it is so exciting that it will have some players check into the hospital before we are done.”

I’ve read between the lines, and found a clear and startling picture of the truth:

“We are excited to be able to confirm that…Valve is currently… working on… hospital.”

If you were as sharp and fearsomely intelligent as I am, you’d have observed that there appears to be a word missing from this expertly decrypted-phrase. I’m going to take a guess as to what it is, and because I’m so amazing I’ll definitely be right. It’s ‘Theme.

I.e. ‘Valve is currently working on Theme Hospital.’ Now that’s journalism.

The less superhuman of intellect might merely have deduced that some manner of Payday and Left 4 Dead crossover is inbound, observe that both games are after all co-op FPSes, question whether this means an official mod for one or the other game, a whole new title or just in-game promotional content as we’ve so often seen in Team Fortress 2 of late, and point out the unusual reference to hospitals as being a possible clue to the collaboration’s nature. But to say that would be simply stupid. Theme Hospital, people!


  1. TheApologist says:

    Theme Hospital is amazing, but does it really need another sequel so soon?

    Instead they should just mod it to add zombie infections to the disease list: ‘Boomer to general diagnosis’ etc

    • byteCrunch says:

      I would pay much money for good remake, such a great game.

      “The hospital administrator is cheating!”

  2. TariqOne says:

    What’s wrong with “but?” “But something is suddenly stirring ….”

    • cunningmunki says:

      But you can’t start a sentence with ‘But…’ Not ever.

    • ancienttoaster says:

      In this sentence, you could just drop “however” entirely: Something is suddenly stirring, and it comes not from Valve, but from Payday: The Heist devs and recent Starbreeze acquisition Overkill.

    • Cooper says:

      The trick is not to replace it, but to just not use such words if the counterpoint / deviation / other meaning is explicit (or very clearly implicit) in the sentence already.
      The sentence with “however” in it above works fine without it:

      Something is suddenly stirring, and it comes not from Valve, but from Payday: The Heist devs

      It is often read as ‘cludgy’ when it is used when, given the context, such words (moreover, however, yet, but, even so etc.) are extraneous to the meaning.

      “Something suddenly is stirring, not from X but from Y” conveys everything that “however” would already. The sentence already starts by clearly producing a counterpoint / comparison in a more writerly manner, making “however” extraneous to the meaning / emphasis.

      I read and write vast amounts of academic material and my dear god do we overuse such things like “therefore” and “moreover”. I’m guilty of it myself and have got into the habit of just simply removing them if, given what I have written, it is very clearly a counterpoint / deviation. If it is not clearly a countrerpoint and deviation, then I re-write it to be clearly so.

      • Morlock says:

        “While” constructions can also help. “While something is stirring, it comes not from..” etc.

      • Grape says:

        People sincerely give a shit about this stuff?


        • Morlock says:

          If you work in academia, where the language is full of “howevers”, you start thinking about alternatives just to not go crazy.

  3. GetUpKidAK says:

    I’m just going to assume that they’re swapping special enemies. L4D may get slightly less interesting, but pulling off a bank robbery while being attacked by a Smoker or a Boomer would definitely liven things up a little.

  4. westyfield says:

    Payday mission where you steal from a laboratory, only to have some of your team get infected.

  5. Oak says:


    • Text_Fish says:


    • Milos says:

      Left4ADay. A story about 4 children being left home alone while a band of ruthless mercenaries are trying to infiltrate their kitchen.

  6. pipman3000 says:

    valve’s working with overkill to make a game about zombie juggalos. also gabe’s getting space marine surgery done. the missing word in hospital is “space hospital”.

  7. lordcooper says:


  8. Aemony says:

    Finally a new Theme Hospital. It’s about time!

  9. bear912 says:

    I am so confused.

  10. povu says:

    Robbing banks while running from zombie cops?

  11. Tretiak says:

    Mercy Hospital heist!

  12. Lemming says:

    Is Payday that good then? Because an article stating that Valve are somehow involved is the only reason this game has even appeared on my radar, tbh.

    • Yargh says:

      Once you get over the concept of mass cop murder in the name of stealing stuff, yes. Payday is a lot of fun as a 4 player coop experience.

    • theSAiNT says:

      I found Payday unplayable. Bunch of friends got the 4 pack and thought it would be as easy to jump into as L4D. Severely mistaken. The game would randomly glitch, where one person would desync from the server while the others continued around him. Bots would spawn (not spawn) when they weren’t (were) supposed to. Escort bots would run ahead (loiter behind) to be slaughtered by enemies in front (behind). It was all very tedious.

  13. afarrell says:

    alternative to ‘though’ and ‘however’ = trust your audience to spot that you’ve changed tack.

  14. Player1 says:

    First, the guys at Overkill should really get those DLC missions for Payday out the door beofre starting on a new game… really…

  15. Ergates_Antius says:

    How about: Nevertheless, still, anyhow, albeit,

    There’s probably a reason I work with computers rather than writing for a living…

  16. roryok says:

    Something is suddenly stirring, [ however | evidently | apparently | seemingly | patently | it seems | it would appear | ], and it comes not from Valve

  17. Premium User Badge

    theleif says:

    I’d consider using baby instead of however.

  18. MiniMatt says:

    A tireless survey of popular intertubes culture leads one to believe that any given word, punctuation, or even entire paragraph can be replaced by a video of a cat.

  19. RobF says:

    I really wanted to like Payday but the constant cop spam just got so incredibly boring and the persistent rewards as tedious as can be. Life’s too short to slog through a game.

    If they can bring some of the L4D magic to it, I’d be well happy. I dunno though, I kinda fear it’s structurally too screwed and grindy for my taste and they won’t be able to avoid that.

    Still, cautiously hopeful and I look forward to giving it a go anyway. You never know.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I had the same problem with the game — the cop spam and the chokepoint sections really bugged me. Apparently the devs did some major work on the game though, and the last patch seems to have added quite a bit of variety to it. My last playthrough wasn’t quite so sloggy as usual.

  20. sonofsanta says:

    Any word you use in place of “however” or “though” would be more jarring and call more attention to itself, like a 14 year old writing fan fiction and studiously avoiding repetition of the word “said”. I’d rather you stick with them than anything else; underlying issues with the rhythm of the sentence will only be fixed by reconfiguring the sentence, not using whatever word a thesaurus suggests.

    I’m buggered if I can think of a way of rewriting those opening paragraphs, though. That’s why you lot are the professional writers and I’m just another pedant on the internet, wittering on about a novel I’ll never write.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Maybe so, but you can’t deny that most articles would be improved by the occasional “forsooth”.

    • Soon says:

      “Lo, something stirs asudden. Not from the vaults of Valve but from the offices of Overkill.”

  21. Sparkasaurusmex says:


  22. gingerpembers says:

    Hmm, I’m going to go with the Payday characters made playable in L4D1’s No Mercy campaign!

  23. MeestaNob says:


    • Morlock says:

      I am afraid that not enough people intersted in HL3 have unplugged their desks and moved them together.

  24. Jabberslops says:

    I’ve said this before, but how about a Left 4 Dead mod that features a 4 person StarGate SG1/Atlantis Squad fighting the enemies of those series? Make some maps that feature locations and stories from those TV series and add the enemies and such that are featured in them. The concept seems so simple. How has it not been made yet?

  25. says:

    Theme Hospital FPS remake confirmed?

    Those inflated heads are going to be messy…

  26. fallingmagpie says:

    Even so, nonetheless, notwithstanding.


  27. Hendar23 says:

    I went and tried Theme Hospital a couple of years ago and found it shallow and repetitive. Is it just me? I guess so. I’ll stick to Dungeon Keeper.

  28. neolith says:

    “Team Fortress 2′s ongoing transformation into QVC” – That made me spill my coffee, thanks. :D

  29. Jackablade says:

    Is the level structure of Payday similar to Left 4 Dead? It sounds as though they’re looking to port Mercy Hospital to Payday. Are the levels likely to be fairly interchangeable once they’ve got necessary spawns for weapons, items etc? More importantly, are we likely to get whatever passes for Payday’s most iconic map/campaign back for L4D2?

  30. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    Psh, it hasn’t even been four years since l4d was released. WE AREN’T OLD YET WE CAN’T BE AAAAAAAA

  31. GameDreamer says:

    I love how this game is growing up very fast. Can’t wait to see what will happen.

    Free CD Key