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How Valve Opened Up Portal 2

Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw help us think with portals.
Eurogamer There's crossover between the Portal and Half-Life universes, isn't there?
Erik Wolpaw

They both take place in the same universe, although we think of Portal as taking place in Aperture Science, which is this absurd bubble buried in the ground where anything goes, to a certain extent.

Internally we think of it it, if it's the X-Files, Half-Life is the meta, ongoing story and Portal games are the self-contained, funny, absurd episodes.

Chet Faliszek

The Jim Rose Circus Show.

Erik Wolpaw

Or the one with the genie with the three wishes.

Eurogamer The monster episodes.
Chet Faliszek

The ones that were good.

Erik Wolpaw

I didn't want to say that but yeah, the good ones.

Eurogamer So Portal's better than Half-Life?
Chet Faliszek

Aperture Science is better than Black Mesa. Black Mesa blew up the world.

Erik Wolpaw

We will say Black Mesa, they're a bunch of snooty toots, who think they're so great, and then they destroyed the world.

Chet Faliszek

Way to go.

Erik Wolpaw

We definitely think of it as snobs versus slobs, and Black Mesa is the snobs and Aperture is the slobs, the loveable goofballs.

Eurogamer The game is out in April. It must be finished.
Chet Faliszek

It is. It's gone off to certification. We sent it to Microsoft and Sony. They're evaluating it and everything's going well. We're set.

Also returning is the fan-favourite Weighted Companion Cube.
Eurogamer How did you feel when you sent the game off?
Chet Faliszek

This was a weird one, because it was so smooth. It was a little anti-climactic, in a way.

Erik Wolpaw

There wasn't the panic at the end. In the old days, with Half-Life 2 when it was PC only, they'd be working on it until the night of release. Now you have to have it done. The certification process is long and you have to allow some time for changes after that.

There is a sadness. It's not a depression about the product, but we've all been working together really intensely. In our room where we've been working for two years on Portal, seeing people they've moved on to go do other things.

Everybody at Valve, your desk is on wheels. You move where you're needed. So people have wheeled their desks out and the room feels empty now.

We'll start up another project. There is also a sense of relief because it's over.

Chet Faliszek

People are really proud of it. At the end we played ourselves a bunch, and there a sense of accomplishment, of this is good, it's really good. When Gabe says he considers it the best game Valve ever produced, there's a reason for that.

Eurogamer That must fill you will a great sense of pride. It's not like you have average quality games to beat to have Gabe say that.
Chet Faliszek

If you looked at Half-Life 2 to The Orange Box, which had such great stuff, and Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 to this, we keep getting better at doing it and delivering a fun experience.

Erik Wolpaw

Valve definitely gets better delivering things - I know Portal 2 slipped - but generally on time. Valve still has this reputation of being a company that takes a long time to make games. We've shipped how many games in six years? A lot.

Eurogamer You know why Valve has this reputation don't you? Because it's been so long since the last Half-Life game.
Chet Faliszek

What game?

Erik Wolpaw

Well, Portal takes place in the Half-Life universe, and also, we don't know what you're talking about.

Eurogamer Do you get sick and tired of being asked about Half-Life?
Chet Faliszek

Never been asked it. You're the first one.

Erik Wolpaw

We'll have a think about it and then get back to you.

Chet Faliszek

Rudest interview ever. I'm out of here.

Erik Wolpaw

Actually, I'm just going to shoot a mail. Hey, somebody mentioned Half-Life. What is the deal with that thing? We're going to find out what's happening.

Eurogamer Does Portal 2 leave the story open for a third game?
Erik Wolpaw

It would be spoilerish to bring it in.

Eurogamer Does the universe have scope for another Portal?
Chet Faliszek

Aperture Science can keep going on and on and on.

Erik Wolpaw

Aperture Science is as big as we want to make it. I will tell you the earth does not get vaporised at the end of Portal, so it's still possible...

Chet Faliszek

At least not all of it.

Erik Wolpaw

A big chunk of it does. The structure of Aperture as this fun house of science certainly supports more things.

Eurogamer Is Portal post-apocalyptic? Is Chell the last human on earth?
Erik Wolpaw

Apocalypse has multiple meanings.

Chet Faliszek

None of which we'll define today.

Erik Wolpaw

I will define one, which is you blew up Aperture so in terms of the micro-climate of Aperture Science, it was an apocalyptic event. Everything got destroyed within Aperture. That's the sense we talk about it in.

Portal 1, I can state it clearly now, took place place just after the Combine invasion, which was in a sense an apocalyptic event. Half-Life is an apocalyptic game. Apocalypse doesn't necessarily mean last human on earth, though.

Eurogamer This one's set quite a long time after the first game, though.
Erik Wolpaw

Yeah, a long time after the first game, without getting specific about how long.

Chet Faliszek

They could have repopulated the entire earth at this point and it's under a 7-Eleven.

Erik Wolpaw

We don't know.

Chet Faliszek

What's the movie where they hide in a bomb shelter underneath the city?

Erik Wolpaw

But there was no apocalypse and he comes up and everything's fine? Blast from the Past.

Chet Faliszek

It was actually a good movie.

Erik Wolpaw

Maybe that's what happens.

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About the Author
Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editorial Director

Wesley is deputy editorial director of ReedPop. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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