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Portal 2 – Gamespot’s Preview, Intriguing Concept Art, and Valve’s Storytelling Secrets

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Some major spoilers here, so read at your own risk.

Portal 2 – Gamespot’s Preview, Intriguing Concept Art, and Valve’s Storytelling Secrets

Alright, so, first up is Gamespot’s recent hands-on preview.

They take a look at the very beginning of the game. It’s fairly in-depth, and there are a ton of juicy details, including some dialogue snippets.

There was one very intriguing part, though:

The second part [of the demo] begins quite a long way into the game. From the very first moment, it’s clear this isn’t Aperture Science. You’re in a huge, run-down warehouse space with bulging pipes and rusty stairwells abandoned long ago. There is no GLaDOS, or Wheatley.

[…]

You enter a room and see posters and relics from a bygone era: ham radios, art-deco furniture, and faded posters. You see an Aperture Science logo, but this does not look like Aperture Science. You hear a male voice reminding soldiers not to leave their guns lying around. You gather that this too was some sort of testing facility. 

[…]

Suddenly, the test chambers are back. They’re not the white, scientific test chambers of Aperture Science; these walls are made of corrugated iron, and there are leaking roofs, exposed frameworks, and a general sense of misery. 

[…]

But just as you begin to feel you might know where this is all going, and what link this ramshackle place has to Aperture, and, more importantly, your escape, the screen goes black.

The plot thickens! Literally.

Gamespot also got some lovely new media, both screenshots and concept art. We’ll show you one piece of concept art, and one screenshot. We’ve chosen these because they are the most interesting by far.

Water? Giant metallic balls? What on Earth could this place be? Is it even in Aperture?

Sharp-eyed fans have discovered that that wall on the left bears an eerie resemblance to a submarine complex in Russia. And what’s inside a submarine complex? Yes, you guessed it. A dry dock. Remember Kleiner’s words from Episode Two? Stating that the Borealis had vanished with part of the dry dock? Check that post out over at the Steam forums.

As for the screenshot… well, see for yourself!

Yes, the Companion Cube is back! While we’ve seen it before, in the Teaser Trailer and in the second Wheatley Trailer, it’s a safe bet that what we’re seeing here is no mere cameo.

There’s plenty more new media at Gamespot, and don’t forget to check out the preview, but keep in mind, it’s full of spoilers. Here’s the preview.

IGN also talked to Valve about Portal 2. To be precise, they talked to Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw, about some of Valve’s story tricks used in Portal 2.

There’s quite a bit of interesting stuff in there. Not quite as many spoilers, but it’s not exactly spoiler-free either.

Here are some of the better parts:

Of course, the main story is driven through the actions of the mute Chell and GLaDOS’s inescapable desire to carry on testing, even if it’s with you, her murderer – and this time, through the companion AIs, the personality spheres, such as Merchant’s Wheatley.

“Sometimes we wrote these and had a voice in our head, but not as clear cut as Merchant, so we hire a voice actor who does a lot of voices like Billy Wise, and we go in the studio and try a bunch of different stuff, and see what we like.” At which point he confirms that they’ve managed to secure another celebrity for an in-game character, but won’t say who.

Ooh! Who might this new celebrity be?

The co-op storyline is set after the singleplayer story, so Aperture Science, GLaDOS and testing will survive the single-player.

The plot thickens… again! How will Portal 2 end, we wonder?

That’s not all for IGN’s article, as there is plenty more. As we previously mentioned, there are some spoilers, so watch out. Check it out here.

And the third preview we’re taking a look at is from News.com. They spoke to Chet, Erik and Jay Pinkerton.

Before we talk about the actual Portal 2 article itself, we’ll talk about something else, also from News.com.

The conference call we’re trying to organise is with Faliszek and his fellow writers Erik Wolpaw and Jay Pinkerton to discuss the upcoming game Portal 2.

When the call begins, I try to sneak in some questions about another of the company’s yet-to-be-released titles as well.

When is Half-Life 2: Episode Three coming out?

“We’re not prepared to talk about that at the moment.”

“Nice try!”

“It is a nice try!”

Is it coming out?

(Silence for about 5 seconds)

“What, huh?”

“We can’t hear you.”

“You’re breaking up.”

(Lots of laughter)

As soon as the topic of conversation moved back to Portal 2, the phone line mysteriously fixed itself.

That’s… uhh… I don’t know what to say.

Chet did talk about Half-Life’s deepest secrets, though. Let’s see what he revealed!

G-MAN is Gordon Freeman from the future and the great grandfather of Alyx Vance. That’s what Valve Software writer Chet Faliszek would have me believe as we exchange emails, trying to organise a time for a phone interview.

[…]

But when it was over, I found myself still wondering about the G-Man. I shot off another email to Faliszek, just to make sure that he was, in fact, joking.

His reply: “Sure it was a joke — OR WAS IT!?!?!”

Truly magnetic. Check that particular article here.

News.com’s actual Portal 2 preview focuses more on GLaDOS and her return several centuries after the events of the original.

The interview is with Portal 2’s three writers: Chet, Erik and Jay Pinkerton.

There are hardly any spoilers, but keep an eye out just in case.

As usual, we’ll be showing you the more interesting parts:

As well as creating the lines, the writers were in charge of recording the audio, editing it and adding it to the scenes of the game, allowing them full control over the script and its delivery.

“So we have full control over that, rather than just kind of throwing it over the wall and hoping it gets hooked up right,” said Wolpaw.

“That’s especially important in a game that’s supposed to be funny, because, you know, timing is really important.”

Pinkerton added: “A lot of time was spent with just us huddled around a single computer, kind of like, ‘let’s just shave off an eighth of a second, let’s shave off a seventh of a second…'”

According to Wolpaw’s estimate, the final game includes about 3000 snippets of voice acting, from three-word jokes to 30-second soliloquies, mostly from GLaDOS.

Wasn’t it 13000 lines of dialogue? Gah! MUST… COUNT… AUDIO FILES.

However the writers are wary of giving away anything about what happens in the game when they talk about it.

During our interview they stopped themselves short before spoiling the details of the plot several times — at one point collapsing into laughter.

Once, while trying to drive home the fact that GLaDOS’s character evolves in Portal 2, Wolpaw descended into pure vagueness by accident.

“This would get into too much spoiler territory, but, you know, things happen, in the game, and we found some places for her to go,” he said.

“Pretty spoiler-y. Things happen,” added Faliszek, with a laugh.

And then Pinkerton: “Yeah, we don’t want to give too much away, but things happen.”

Yes, things always happen. Goddamn things.

Check the full article out here.

That’s it for this monstrosity of an article. We’ll keep a lookout for any and all Portal 2 related news. Thanks for reading!

2 Comments

  1. I (and others on the forums) think it is 13,000 lines of dialogue in 3,000 wave files, since they said they range from 3 words to 30 second “Soliloquys” which are “devices often used in drama whereby a character relates his or her thoughts and feelings to him/herself”

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