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They're Baaack: TeamL4D Meets TeamL4D2

Crivens - and here were we all thinking the first L4D2 DLC would involve fictional hoary old rockers the Midnight Riders. In fact, Valve are doing something gosh-wow-what? different.

First DLC The Passing arrives in Spring. It features four very familiar faces. Clue: it's not Zippy, George, Bungle and Geoffrey.

There will be much rejoicing. Except by people who don't do that sort of thing.

Throwing this up quickly because BREAKING NEWS, but official details are copypastaed a little further below if you want to hop straight to them.

Obviously, though, it's going to raise further (and perhaps biggest-ever) hackles amongst the boycotters and folk who own only L4D1. If it turns out to be paid DLC (all we have in that regard is "Pricing will be announced closer to launch") that'll only get worse. Which does make it a bit of a mysterious move, as it could generate a rhino-weight of bad press in an instant.

An idea occurs to me, however. Perhaps there'll be associated DLC for L4D1 too, with the new chaps sticking their heads into a coda for L4D1 - the title 'The Passing' somewhat hints at this, in a way. The Southerners go North and the Northerners go South. That'd be lovely, and would defuse the brewing storm. There's an equal chance Valve are just flexing sadistic muscle, of course - but they are prone to smoke and mirrors, so let's wait it out a bit. It's not hard to imagine them sitting back and laughing as the internet turns bright red and blows steam out of its ears, knowing they're about to make it look rather silly.

But for now, let's try to thrill to the concept and worry about the details once we know more of them. Will the new (i.e. old) survivors be playable in L4D2 in any form? Is it something to do with this new mode? What does it mean for the story - is someone going to die? Romance? Feuds? Could some of the old guys be zombified? Is it a setup for Zombies 8 Brains (insert own terrible pun here)? Why do birds suddenly appear?

These are all the answers we're getting for now:

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the first game add-on for its co-operative zombie thriller, Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2), is in development and targeted for release in early 2010.

Dubbed "The Passing," the first game add-on for L4D2 brings the original Left 4 Dead (L4D1) Survivors down south for a meeting with the L4D2 cast, while delivering new single-player, multiplayer and co-operative gameplay for the PC and Xbox 360.

Targeted for release in early spring, "The Passing" takes place just after the Dead Center campaign of L4D2. Set in a small town in rural Georgia, players assume the role of the L4D2 Survivors as they meet with the L4D1 characters.

In addition to the new co-operative campaign and associated narrative, "The Passing" will include new arenas for Survival, Versus and Scavenge mode and introduce a new co-operative challenge mode of play. The Passing will also include a new "uncommon common" zombie class, melee weapon, and firearm.

"The Passing will become the most important campaign in the Left 4 Dead story, as all the Survivors are being called together in one campaign," said Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing at Valve. "It will also be a huge offering of new gameplay content, with something new for every game mode plus a new uncommon common and weaponry."

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