Figures.... they've got a couple of Australians working there at Valve so it was only a matter of time until Gordan Freeman met Mad Max;P
As for the Lost Highway levels of HL2.... some of it dragged on, but a lot of it was really fun. Had they imparted the same attention to detail and densely packed those levels with tons of stuff to do, like in the city areas, HL2 would be a game I was still raving about. Instead, it ended up rather sparse in those areas between drives/rides. I'd like them to take a close look at Lost Coast, take another gander at that airboat level where the combine fences you in and they pissed away so many options to make the game awesome and make sure they don't miss those opportunities again.
And yeah, I understand all that sort of thing takes time and extra work, but why aim for above average when stunning is only a couple of rungs up the ladder.