Business collateral type images such as letterhead and pamphlet covers are pretty easy to Photoshop if you’ve got a decent amount of skill with the application. However, real or not, the Half Life related June 14th promotional image shown above does have a little more going for it than its face value alone.

During a recent conversation with another games journalist who runs a site dedicated to 360 and PS3 news, I was informed that Valve suggested their event offering (outside of Portal 2) wouldn’t interest him considering his content focus. This lead that journalist to believe that whatever “surprise” the company had to offer, was of the PC exclusive variety. Sounds like fairly sound logic to me.

Then we’ve got the supposed Half Life 3 tease hidden in a Team Fortress 2 promotional image that some astute Giant Bomb forum users managed to spot back in March. The theory is that if you look closely at the bicep vein pattern and fist formation on the left arm of the shirtless character below, you’ll see the iconic Half Life logo and the number three. Click the image for a closer look.

In addition to all of that, this image, which made it’s way around twitter and reddit a few days ago, contained a humorous email exchange between an unknown sender and Valve Co-Founder, Gabe Newell, regarding the company’s “surprise E3 announcement.”  Newell responds to the potential of another Left 4 Dead sequel announcement by saying “Uh, how about L4D2 Episode 1.”

Now, the funny thing about lies — even when they are intended to be jokes — is that most of the best ones usually contain a hint of truth. So while Left 4 Dead 2 may not be receiving an episodic extension at this year’s E3, Gabe’s comment may have indirectly hinted at a third episode release for Half Life, another one of their fan favorite franchises.

What are your thoughts on all of this hoopla? Do you think that Valve has a Half Life flavored surprise waiting for all of us at E3 this year, or does all of this speculation seem a bit too premature in your opinion? Sound off in the comments section below.

Update: Gabe Newell has responded on the validity of this image, issuing a one word statement to a fan who reached out to him regarding it. His answer? “Fake.”