Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

The Lab is a free, semi-Portal-themed collection of minigames and vignettes from Valve, designed to show of the capabilities of their new VR headset, the Vive. It’s out now, but clearly most of you won’t be able to try it – even if you ordered a Vive, you’re weeks or more away from receiving it. Given this is, in theory, the first new Valve game in quite some time, I thought I’d tell you all about it.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Remember how recently Portal 2 [official site] came out? IT WAS FIVE YEARS AGO. Sorry about that. I have a suspicion those magic windows might be having unsuspected effects on time dilation.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

When IGN pressed for a status update on the rumoured Half-Life and Portal movies, JJ Abrams responded, "Not yet, but they're in development, and we've got writers, and we're working on both those stories. But nothing that would be an exciting update." Au contraire, Mr Abrams; confirmation of their existence is more exciting than you think.

If the concept of a Half-Life or Portal movie is all news to you, I'm not surprised—there was a brief flurry of activity on the subject in 2013, when Abrams and Gaben got together at the DICE summit to talk about cross-platform storytelling. Newell suggested that "either a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie" could work, while Abrams said he'd like to make a game with Valve.

Even further back, in 2010 Newell lamented the quality of pitches he'd received from a litany of Hollywood production companies for a movie based on the Half-Life franchise.

"Their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of."

Evidently he found common ground with Abrams, because it seems the collaboration has the green light.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Half-Life and Portal movies are “in development”, according to JJ Abrams. The director told IGN that “We’ve got writers, and we’re working on both those stories. But nothing that would be an exciting update.” Which means clearly Abrams isn’t familiar with Half-Life fans, who can see excitement in a cloud shaped like Gordon Freeman’s face.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The Valve News Network—obviously, not a Valve-run news network, but rather a thorough YouTube channel dedicated to all things Valve—has released a new video, about Portal. The Unseen History of Portal delves deep into the making of the classic puzzler, presenting a bunch of unseen footage and little-known info in the process.

SEE Portal's origins as student project Narbacular Drop, WITNESS its evolution into a Valve property and into the Source engine, and BEHOLD what came after, i.e. cake. PC Gamer even gets a (very) brief mention—did our site really used to look like that?

PC Gamer

Science has gone too far. One minute you're enjoying a spot of light testing, the next you're trapped in the infinite, unknowable void between dimensions, outside of space and time itself, staring at the side of your own head through a kaleidoscope. It's remarkable no one has tried it before.

YouTuber CrowbCat used the Portal 2 SDK to set up a test chamber in which two portals could be brought face-to-face. In keeping with scientific spirit, he jumped on in. Somehow, the game doesn't crash and the result is fun to pass off as part of the lore of the universe. In one of an infinite number of Portal timelines, Chell is lost in the orange and blue folds of the fabric of reality. What a way to go.

PC Gamer

We enjoyed a musical interlude last week in the form of an 80-person chorus singing the Skyrim song Dragonborn, despite the fact that it was a couple of years old, for two reasons. One, it was still really cool, and two, the track will appear on The Greatest Video Game Music III - Choral Edition, a new album—do the young people still call them albums?—that's coming out on January 29. Today we have another track to share with you, and even though there's no video this time around, I think you might like it.

Covering Still Alive is a tough nut to crack under the best of circumstances, because the original was essentially perfect. Even so, I like this version. It doesn't really kick into gear until around the halfway point, when the chorus gets involved, and even then it's not as boomingly powerful as Dragonborn—although that's not really a surprise, is it? But there's something almost playful about it, and despite the obvious Serious Business of 80 elite Swedish voices united in harmony, the choral take on it somehow comes off as lighter and more irreverent than GLaDOS' own rendition.

The Greatest Videogame Music III Choral Edition is a collaboration between the Swedish choir Orphei Drangar and singer Myrra Malmberg, who has appeared in numerous stage productions as well as Swedish versions of animated films including Aladdin, Happy Feet, and Toy Story 3. It will feature 13 tracks in total:

  • 1 Final Fantasy X—Hymn of the Fayth
  • 2 World of Warcraft—Invincible
  • 3 Skyrim—Age of Oppression
  • 4 Final Fantasy X—Hymn of the Fayth (Remix 1)
  • 5 Dragon Age Inquisition—Main Theme
  • 6 God of War 3—Anthem of the Dead
  • 7 The Last of Us—The Choice
  • 8 Skyrim—Dragonborn
  • 9 Final Fantasy X—Hymn of the Faith (Remix 2)
  • 10 Portal—Still Alive
  • 11 Portal 2—Cara Mia Addio
  • 12 Assassin's Creed IV—The Parting Glass
  • 13 Minecraft Volume Alpha—Sweden

The Greatest Videogame Music III Choral Edition is available for preorder on iTunes.

PC Gamer

Joy to the world, the tests are run! The result is a spectacular three-minute Portal carol built in Source Filmmaker by Harry 'Harry101UK' Callaghan. The turrets—including the Animal King, naturally—have come together at this special time of year to spread neurotoxin to the tune of Mykola Leontovych and Peter J. Wilhousky's Carol of the Bells.

Callaghan did the voices and music himself, with turret rigs provided by August 'Rantis' Loolam, which is an exhausting array of talent and an indictment of my own sorry skillset. You can find his YouTube channel here, and the song is available on Bandcamp.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

A free Portal-themed set of cosmetic items and flourishes will arrive in Rocket League [official site] tomorrow. There are gel trails for your nitro boosts, cake hats and decals, and heart-breaking Companion Cube antennae. There’s plenty more along those lines as well, and it’s all free, but I’m perhaps unfairly disappointed by the lack of actual portals. I hadn’t even considered how amazing it would be to attach a portal to the area above my own goalmouth, causing stray shots that enter to emerge right by the opponent’s goal. And if the cars could dash through portals as well? Beautiful chaos.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Portal's companion cubes, cake, and other memes that have been thoroughly run into the ground are coming to Rocket League next month, as bits of free car clobber you can win at random at the end of every match. They're officially licensed by Valve, and comprise cubes, cores, cake and various types of gel—all good things to slather all over your car.

Here's the full list:

  • Cake (Topper)
  • Conversion Gel (Rocket Trail)
  • Propulsion Gel (Rocket Trail)
  • Repulsion Gel (Rocket Trail)
  • Aperture Laboratories (Antenna)
  • Cake Sticker (Antenna)
  • Companion Cube (Antenna)
  • Personality Core (Antenna)
  • PotatOS (Antenna)

The customisation items are coming to Rocket League on December 1, and are "potentially rewarded at the end of every match, win or lose". It's a nice incentive to keep playing, regardless of how your team is doing—so no more quitting mid-match like a big baby.

That's not the only update coming to Rocket League next month. On December 14 it's getting a particularly Christmassy game mode that replaces the giant football with that most festive of sporting paraphernalia: the hockey puck.

...

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