Have you seen the new Guard Dog Update for Team Fortress 2? No, it's not real... unless it is.
No, sorry, it's not. The Guard Dog Update page sure has the look of the real thing, featuring very solid art in the TF2 style, a reasonable-sounding list of appropriately amusing abilities like tracking enemies and dispensing jarate, and even a full range of Guard Dog Achievements, complete with Valve-worthy Achievement icons. It is, however, a fake, put together by a graphical designer from Brazil by the name of Diogo Lima.
"I like the game and the community, so it was a pleasure to do," he said. "I did it for fun and didn't have idea any how big it would become. The letter from Valve makes me honored that they recognized my efforts."
The illusion falls apart under closer scrutiny, unfortunately; despite his obvious talents, the fact that English isn't Lima's first language shows through in numerous spelling and grammatical errors that turn the Guard Dog from a perfect parody to a near-miss - but still a damn impressive piece of work.
Impressive enough, in fact, that Valve seems to have joined in on the joke. On the real TF2 blog, Valve posted a letter from Saxton Hale of the Mann Co., commending the creator of the "cannon-appended canine unit" for his ingenuity. Fan reaction on the Steam forum has been similarly positive, with many users asking if they can please keep it. So who knows? Given Valve's history of turning quality fan work into the real deal, maybe someday the idea of playing TF2 as a dog with a frikkin' rocket launcher strapped to our backs won't seem quite so far-fetched.
Thanks to Vanguard1219 for the tip.