Like a pesky head cold that never quite clears, Left 4 Dead 3 rumours returned to clog the internet airways again this week. After all, Valve are making games again. Between the surprise announcement of Half-Life: Alyx and another wave of leaked concept art for an infectious Left 4 Dead threequel, there was fleeting hope that the fantastic co-op shooter was, perhaps, ready to make its return.
But Valve's gone and nipped down to the pharmacy for some quick pain relief. They've confirmed that Left 4 Dead 3 isn't in the cards right now - and hasn't been for some time.
Ground zero for the latest round of rumours was HTC China president Alvin Wang Graylin, taking to Twitter this week with slides from a recent talk on VR's future. Tucked away among staggering claims about "super-intelligent" VR-powered humans and postponing retirement with plastic headsets, Graylin speculated that Half-Life: Alyx and "LFD3" would be VR's break-out hits this year.
A few slides from my talk tonight... pic.twitter.com/bHegijjZW1
— Alvin Wang Graylin (汪丛青) (@AGraylin) January 17, 2020
A head honcho at Valve's former VR partner (the two firms worked together on Valve's first headset, the HTC Vive), slipping in mention of Left 4 Dead 3? That couldn't just be blind speculation, right?
Turns out, even the president of a global tech firm isn't above dipping into the ol' Valve News Network rumour-mill. Digging into older tweets, Graylin's belief appears to stem from from a VNN-sourced article about small pieces of L4D-related code buried in Dota 2 and Underlords back in December.
In an uncharacteristically rapid response, Valve confirmed that news of Left 4 Dead's return had been greatly exaggerated via a statement to IGN.
“We’ve seen rumours to this effect for the last couple of months. We did briefly explore some Left 4 Dead next-gen opportunities a few years ago. But we are absolutely not working on anything L4D related now, and haven’t for years.
“It’s clear some people are having fun creating misinformation to spin up the community and other outlets. Unfortunately, for now, a new L4D game is not something we’re working on.”
Valve frequently salvage assets from one game to the next, and if a Left 4 Dead 3 (or something similar) did exist at some point, it would explain why snippets of code keep cropping up elsewhere. Graylin, for his part, did later clarify that any mention of L4D3 was "personal speculation" and apologised to fans "who may have mistook this as confirmation."
Ah, well. Valve might not be interested in filling Left 4 Dead's rotting boots anytime soon, but they might not even need to. Series creators Turtle Rock Studios are announced their own follow-up, Back 4 Blood.