The often-enigmatic game developer Valve invited Newsarama up to its private meeting room at the 2010 E3 in Los Angeles to view its only contribution to the show’s retinue: the hotly anticipated Portal 2.
As the presentation began Valve project manager Eric Johnson shared the surprise and pleasure that Valve felt at the reception that the original Portal received from the gaming community, and understood its desire to learn more about the Portal ‘world,’ and to deliver or the story, problem solving and even the music that make the first game a hit.
Rolling the preview video, silent protagonist Chell is introduced to an Aperture Labs almost overgrown with foliage and a new character a fussy, British-accented personality core named Wheatly we seeks Chell’s help to escape the ruins. When the pair takes a shortcut through the core chamber, Wheatly accidentally (and comically) reactivates GLaDOS, whose soft robotic voice has lost none of its passive-aggressive bite.
Johnson then express how important the voice talent was to the first game’s success, and shared with the audience that while the voice of Wheatly heard in early previews was just a place holder, with lines spoken by Valve staff artist Richard Lorton, his readings got such a positive reaction that he will return to perform for the final game.
The video then shifted to a series of clips of the reactivated GLaDOS repairing and refurbishing the Enrichment Center. Old, dirty wall and floor plates were quickly exchanged out for ones that retain their sterile looks, whole walls and floors shifting in and out, and new obstacles being installed, each described in the infamous Aperture Science comical fashion.
Excursion Funnels will redirect the flow of gravity within their cylindrical beams, and can redirected further with the use of the portal gun to manipulate your path, or that of objects in the level.
Aerial Faith Plates are spring loaded catapults to fling yourself across a room with 50,000 pounds of force, fortunately Chell’s heel-springs are apparently still operational.
A Thermal Discouragement Beam is a powerful laser that can be redirected for offensive your though your portals, or by using new ‘mirror cubes’ (the clever name of which was not revealed). Cooking a sweetly voiced turret with one is predictably hilarious.
Pneumatic Diversity Vents are very, very powerful suction tubes that can clean out a room and deposit its contents at its output point. Clever portal use can turn any wall into a central vacuum system.
Finally, there are the ‘gels,’ fluids with different properties that you can redirect the flow of, or if faced with a static puddle, shoot a portal under and have it drain out at the other end of the connection. Of the types shown, Repulsion Gel turns any surface into a trampoline, while Propulsion Gel will increase your speed as you walk on it. The latter of which was demonstrated as a spray of Propulsion Gel allowed the player character to narrowly slip by a long series of clashing spiked walls.
Switching gears, Johnson teased the inclusion of two player co-op, more of the music of Jonathan Coulton, a single player game at least twice as long as the original (varying on the skill of the player) and plans for DLC.
The presentation ended with a quote from GLaDOS concerning your reintroduction, “We are a lot alike you know, you tested me, I tested you, you killed me…oh, I haven’t killed you…food for thought.”
Are you ready to open the Portals again?