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!