Whether or not Half-Life 2's headcrab-infested humans constitute zombies is a question not likely to be settled any time soon. However, Half-Life developer Valve has eliminated any question of its zombie credentials today with the announcement that it is acquiring Left 4 Dead developers Turtle Rock Studios. As part of the deal, Turtle Rock will remain at its Orange County location, which Valve plans to use as a base for further expansion in the Los Angeles area and the console market.
"We have been seeing very strong growth with Steam and Source, our content distribution and development platforms, up over 150 percent over the last 12 months," said Valve president Gabe Newell. "Given our expectations for Left 4 Dead and our long-standing relationships with members of the Turtle Rock team, this was an easy decision."
Even before this deal, Turtle Rock had extensive ties to Valve. The studio was responsible for the Xbox port of the original Counter-Strike, and Valve tapped the developer for Counter-Strike: Condition Zero for the PC, as well as a number of maps for Counter-Strike: Source.
Turtle Rock's current project, Left 4 Dead, is built upon the latest version of Valve's Source game engine. Set in modern-day America, the multiplayer-focused survival horror action game heavily relies on cooperative gameplay; players join up in cells of four to fend off hordes of virus-infected zombies. Left 4 Dead also features online cooperative as well as competitive play, where players can voluntarily rot their brains to join the infected legions.
Left 4 Dead is currently expected to shamble to retail for the Xbox 360 and PC in 2008. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.