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Portal 2 Still Alive for 2010 Ian's avatar
For the people who are still alive
Last week Game Informer informed us that their next cover story wil be the long awaited Portal 2! Finally, an admission by someone that it even exists! They say it is going to be a fully fledged boxed product, and not part of any Mauve Box or whatever other humorous colour of box you can think of. Game Informer will have a whole 12 pages full of things you'll probably wish you hadn't read about Portal 2. The two proposed covers feature two different sides of a Portal, one in a Aperture Science test chamber, and the other in what looks like GLaDoS's chamber which has been overgrown with plants and a single branch of ivy snaking its way through the portal. Of course you've probably already looked at the picture for yourself by now, so I'm not sure why I'm describing it like this.

Still no word on Half Life 2: Episode 3 of course. I wonder if we'll start getting mysterious patches to Episode 2 when they are ready to say something about it. There could even be one right now! Right as you read this! Go check and tell us if there is!

Editor Opinions
Ian's avatar

I've been thinking very hard about what I could possibly want from Portal 2. I think most people were expecting the game to come as part of an Orange Box like compilation of ridiculously valued awesomeness like last time, but if you think about it they really did themselves out of a lot of money with that. People would have been willing to pay considerably more for any of its constituent components. On the 360 it was even worth it for the pretty decent version of Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 if you hadn't played either of those fine games before, and the Team Fortress 2 people would probably of paid a decent amount for that on it's own.

With all the games in the Orange Box it's debatable whether they were really worth $60.00 or £40, as they were all had a few concessions to their lower price. TF2 had it's five maps, Episode 2 was about 6 hours long at max, and Portal was barely 3 hours long. With Portal, it's shortness actually became one of it's key strengths. Playing Portal for most people was a single sitting thing sort of like a good length movie. The twists came at all the rights moments from a pacing point of view, ie. Just when you thought things were about to wrap up the game, it suddenly went completely bananas. The conclusion was one of the most satisfying and perhaps touching things in gaming to date. The problem is, how on earth do you make a sequel to any of this?

Making four times more Portal, say 50 test rooms and a 3 hour escape sequence would totally ruin the pace and they'd probably end up repeating a bunch of tricks. As it was you were always being asked to use what you had learnt about the game to do a new thing, rather than doing the same trick over and over under different sorts of pressure. If you don't believe me about this, go play 'Splosion Man and get back to me. That game has 50 levels of barely different tricks that just get harder and harder to pull off. I do love 'Splosion Man but would of loved it considerably more if there was less than half of what there was of it, as I felt like I was really having to slog through it at points.

I'm sure they've had some good ideas as to how to extend the life of the game, with more mechanics, more environments, more enemies etc, and I should probably trust them to know what I'm doing. At some point, I don't even want to know what they are planning and am willing just to trust them completely in a vain attempt to potentially recapture the magic of playing through the first game again. We'll see anyway, I doubt I'll be able to avoid learning more about it considering how long I spent reading news sites and listening to gaming podcasts in my average week.

Tags: ian, portal-2, valve-software