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Portal 2 Revealed At E3

“Oh, it’s you…”

“It’s been a long time. How have you been? I’ve been really busy being dead. you know… after you murdered me?

Okay look, we both said a lot of things that you are going to regret. But i think we should put our differences behind us. For science. You monster”

– Gladis

When Valve approached a team of students from the nearby digipen institute of Technology with job offers and the opportunity to flesh out their senior project – Narbacular Drop – back in the summer of 2005, it did so cautiously. Measured steps were taken to minimize risk. The team was kept small. Art assets were reused, drawing heavily from prefabricated pieces of the Half-Life universe. Then the final product, Portal, was released as part of the “Orange Box”

The investment paid off. With over 70 industry honors, and 30 game of the year awards, it’s impossible to deny portals success.

Portal was, and still is, unlike anything else in valve’s stable of action-centric titles. Valve knew it had something special, but didn’t anticipate the degree to which fans would gravitate toward the budding franchise. Their only complaint? They wanted more.

“Portal was so short because it was a trial” explains Doug Lombardi, vice president of marketing at valve to E3. “We paired it with [Half-Life 2] Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2, which were recognizable and safe. Then we had this portal thing, and we had no idea if people would dig it, even though we thought it was a cool idea. So it was put out there safely in the Orange Box, and the results came back wilder than we could have ever imagined.”

It didn’t take long for legions of valve fans to embrace it. Within months, “the cake is a lie” memes were all over the web, valve started receiving videos of  high school choirs singing “Still Alive” and the song even found its way into the Rock Band catalog. “There was no way we could have planned for it,” says Lombardi “So we knew we had to double down and give them more.”

Portal was a test bed.

Portal 2 is a game.

The trial by fire is over – the safety net removed. portal’s endearing antagonist, quip filled dialogue and mind-altering gameplay are proven commodities. A rabid fan base is established. Now it’s time to up the ante. Instead of merely hoping for the best, valve is now banking on Portal 2’s success.

The cake is a lie / Still Alive credits song

E3 interview with Doug Lombardi & hands on demo

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