PC Gamer



Not all of Valve's discarded ideas are great, the binned competitive multiplayer mode for Portal 2 is one such example, but some of them are. The video above is from a Valve talk at GDC in which they discussed many of the ideas that never made it into the full game. This scene was originally Portal 2's opening.

There were many more great ideas left on the drawing board. In fact, the whole game was set to pan out very differently. Eurogamer sat in on the conference, and describe out Wheatley was originally supposed to stay dead when Glados crushes him near the beginning. Rather than being a persistent companion, he was merely the first in a series of personality spheres you'd meet as you travelled through Aperture's labs. Other spheres included a paranoid AI and one that Valve's Eric Wolpaw calls "The Morgan Freeman sphere."

Players were originally supposed to find the Morgan Freeman sphere sat on a lonely stand in the middle of an empty room. "He'd been sitting on that little pedestal for a few centuries, and he was just incredibly, incredibly wise" said Wolpaw. "But only about the 20 by 20 space that he was in."

"As soon as you dragged him 22 feet out of the room, his mind was blown and he was pretty much useless. Although as the game progressed, he eventually got his feet under him and started delivering some homespun wisdom that all related back to this 20 by 20 space." Valve discarded the extra orbs when they found that players didn't bond to them as well as Wheatley, the first sphere went on to become an integral part of Portal 2's plot.

Valve were also planning to have several endings scattered throughout the campaign. "We had these parts throughout the game where Chell would die and that would be the end and we'd play a song, and if you wanted to you could just quit there." Wolpaw told the audience. "We had one that was like two minutes into the game, and if you died there, there was a song that was just about reviewing those first two minutes."

They also had a few other ideas. The next bit contains spoilers for the end of Portal 2, in case you haven't played it yet.

Initially, there was a scene part way through the game in which you'd catch a glimpse of the moon. To trigger an early death you could portal up there to "asphyxiate while listening to a sad song about the moon." Valve eventually dropped the multiple endings because they felt as though they didn't have enough good ideas, but the moon went on to become Portal 2's memorable finale. According to Wolpaw, it was the "perfect mix of being totally awesome and completely stupid." It's hard to disagree.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Imagine a Portal 2 with no GLaDOS, Chell, nor portals. Set in the 1980s. With competitive multiplayer and quantum co-op. And multiple endings. At various points, those were all things that could have hapened, as revealed by Valve last night in San Francisco.>

(more…)

PC Gamer
Portal 2 Thumbnail
Valve's Chet Faliszek and Eric Wolpaw conducted a Portal 2 postmortem at GDC last night. The writers talked candidly about alternate endings and the difficulties of following up on their critically acclaimed first game. Chet also mentioned that, at some point in development, the team experimented with competitive Portal 2 multiplayer modes.

Chet also mentioned that they sucked. "We also tried a competitive multiplayer mode which we put together over the space of a month or two," he revealed. "It was a mix of the old Amiga game Speedball and Portal, except with none of the good parts of either of those two. The game was super chaotic and no fun, so the only good news about this part was that we cut it pretty quickly."

Speedball 2 was a competitive, violent, and featured an incredible soundtrack, and I love the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device as much as the next man. That said, I can imagine this combo resulting in a confusing mess of nonsense. Valve made attempts to satisfy more competitive gamers by including leaderboards and a challenge mode in some later DLC.
PC Gamer
GDC Awards thumbnail
Last night the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards took place in San Francisco. The awards ceremony celebrates the "creativity, artistry and technical genius of the finest developers and games." It was hosted by Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim brought home the bacon with Game of the Year, but Portal 2 brought home three different types of bacon: Game Design, Best Audio and Best Narrative. Fledgling developers Super Giant took recieved two awards for the innovative Bastion: Best Debut and Best Downloadable Game. Battlefield 3 took Best Technology, but not best Visual Arts which was awarded to PS3’s Uncharted 3. Boo!

The 14th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards happened before the show. They’re about encouraging innovation and recognisng the best indie devs about. Our Tom was nominated for his excellently designed indie, Gunpoint. He was pipped to the post by one of his favourite game designers, Derek Yu, though so I doubt he’s that upset. Fez took the coveted Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Click through for the list of nominees and winners. Congratulations to everyone involved!

The winners appear in bold. Here are all the results from the Game Developer’s Choice Awards.



Game of the Year
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal)
Dark Souls (FromSoftware)
Best Game Design
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
Dark Souls (FromSoftware)
Innovation
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (Toys For Bob)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
Best Technology
Battlefield 3 (DICE)
L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
Crysis 2 (Crytek Frankfurt/UK)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
Best Handheld/Mobile Game
Tiny Tower (NimbleBit)
Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo)
Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick)
Infinity Blade II (Chair Entertainment)
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (Capy Games/Superbrothers)
Best Audio
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
LittleBigPlanet 2 (Media Molecule)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Dead Space 2 (Visceral Games)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Best Downloadable Game
Stacking (Double Fine)
From Dust (Ubisoft Montpellier)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Outland (Housemarque)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7)
est Narrative
Portal 2 (Valve)
The Witcher 2 (CD Projekt RED)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
Saints Row: The Third (Volition)
Best Debut
Supergiant Games (Bastion)
Team Bondi (L.A. Noire)
Re-Logic (Terraria)
BioWare Austin (Star Wars: The Old Republic)
Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)
Best Visual Arts
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
Rayman Origins (Ubisoft Montpellier)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (Ignition Japan)
Battlefield 3 (DICE)
Pioneer Award
Dave Theurer, creator of Missile Command, Tempest, and I, Robot
Ambassador Award
Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, game industry lawyers for the Supreme Court case against California
Lifetime Achievement Award
Warren Spector, founder Junction Point Studios



And here are the results of the Independent Games Festival awards. Gratz on getting nominated Tom!
Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Fez (Polytron)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)
Technical Excellence
Antichamber (Demruth)
Fez (Polytron)
Prom Week (Expressive Intelligence Studio, UC Santa Cruz)
Realm of the Mad God (Wild Shadow Studios & Spry Fox)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)
Excellence in Visual Art
Botanicula (Amanita Design)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Lume (State of Play Games)
Mirage (Mario von Rickenbach)
Wonderputt (Damp Gnat)
Excellence in Design
Atom Zombie Smasher (Blendo Games)
English Country Tune (Stephen Lavelle)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
Gunpoint (Tom Francis, John Roberts, and Fabian van Dommelen)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)
Excellence in Audio
Botanicula (Amanita Design)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Pugs Luv Beats (Lucky Frame)
To The Moon (Freebird Games)
Waking Mars (Tiger Style)
Best Mobile Game
ASYNC Corp (Powerhead Games)
Beat Sneak Bandit (Simogo)
Faraway (Steph Thirion)
Ridiculous Fishing (Vlambeer)
Waking Mars (Tiger Style)
Nuovo Award
(Designed "to honor abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development.")
At a Distance (Terry Cavanagh)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Fingle (Game Oven Studios)
GIRP (Bennett Foddy)
Proteus (Ed Key and David Kanaga)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
Storyteller (Daniel Benmergui)
Way (CoCo & Co.)
Best Student Game
The Bridge (Case Western Reserve University)
Dust (Art Institute of Phoenix)
The Floor Is Jelly (Kansas City Art Institute)
Nous (DigiPen Institute of Technology)
One and One Story (Liceo Scientifico G.B. Morgagni)
Pixi (DigiPen Institute of Technology - Singapore)
The Snowfield (Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab)
Way (Carnegie Mellon University)
Audience Award
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
XBLA Award
Super Time Force (Capybara Games)
PC Gamer
Gabe Newell peers seductively over his fan of money
Forbes have published their latest list of the planet's richest people, and have declared Valve co-founder Gabe Newell the Newest Video Game Billionaire. Of the 1226 billionaires on the planet, Newell is the 854th richest with an estimated worth of $1.5 billion.

Valve keep their finances strictly private, so Forbes consulted "video game industry insiders, equity analysts, investment bankers, and technology analysts" for figures and factored in the tremendous success of Portal 2 and the continued growth of Steam as factors in their latest estimate.

"Even the most conservative estimates put Valve’s enterprise value at more than $3 billion," they say. Newell owns more than half of Valve, placing his estimated worth at the 1.5 billion mark.

Well done them. That is rather a lot of cash. They could probably pool all their resources and create a working Portal gun if they wanted to, but they'd probably rather make games.
Kotaku
Why would you ever want to play a video game in a language you don't understand? Once you hear Half-Life's G-Man, Metal Gear's Psycho Mantis, and Portal 2's Space Sphere speaking German you'll understand completely.


Our German-speaking audience might be scratching their heads right now, wondering what the big deal is. Well, the big deal is everything, video game or not, sounds much more intense in your language. The sinister sounds more sinister. The humorous sounds... well, more sinister, but in a funny way.


My birth father was born in Germany, so I feel a deep connection to the country. I planned on learning the language myself, though I'm afraid it would lose its magic if I suddenly understood what it meant.


I guess that's how German-speaking folks feel when watching this video. It's up to the rest of you to tell them how amazing their language is. I'm counting on you.


Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Portal 2 started off as a very different game: one without Chell, GLaDOS, or even portals. Speaking at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Valve writers Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw talked about the many concepts they had to throw away before they crafted the game that ended up being one of the best games of 2011.

For example, what's that above? It's a rare look at the game's canned competitive multiplayer mode. "While it's fun for about two seconds to drop portals under people and things like that," Wolpaw explained. "It quickly just devolves into pure chaos."

An alternate intro to the game

The original concept for Portal 2 featured a different main character, but the concept behind how the game would start was largely the same. Here, the player is waking up in a gorgeous environment designed to look like paradise--but it quickly falls apart in The Truman Show-fashion, revealing that the player has been trapped in a relaxation chamber for an unknown period of time.

Betty replaced GLaDOS

Before deciding on reviving GLaDOS for the sequel, Valve explored setting Portal 2 in the past. It would be a prequel without portals, one where Aperture Science's Cave Johnson would be the villain. Without an ominous robotic overlord threatening your life, Valve played with a number of ideas for robotic partners--like Betty, seen above.

Co-op had players retrieving human artifacts

The co-op story was also different. Originally set after the events of Portal 2, GLaDOS originally sent the robotic pair on quests to find human "artifacts" in order to become more human. One such artifact was this comic, obviously inspired by Garfield.

Chell would've no longer been mute

Portal 2's original ending was quite the opposite of the astronomical finale gamers were ultimately presented. One concept had players needed to use a voice command to take back control from the game's final villain. Poking fun at Chell's apparent muteness, the game would fade to black as Chell uttered one word that would close the game--"yes."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Server... fixedMy admirable, handsome, humble, delightful paymaster Mr. Walker already mentioned the remarkable looking Mari0 in October, but it wasn’t out then. Truth be told, it’s not quite out yet – but at about 10 tomorrow evening, this amazing mash-up of Super Mario and Portal 2 will downloadable. I point out it’s Portal 2 to make a clear distinction: it has the gel and it will eventually have online co-op (currently it has local) in addition to the Portal gun. It also has Super Mario Bros, but let’s not hold that against it. Even more moving imagery of it exists through this portal. Come… 0

(more…)

PC Gamer
Portal Gun 3
We've seen some impressive fan-made Portal guns in the past, but they've been rare, costly one-off projects. Valve are giving us the chance to get hold of our own Aperture Science Handheld Portal Devices without having to burn ourselves horribly putting together an injection mould. Joystiq mention that, at Valve's request, toy manufacturers, NECA have put together a life-sized Portal gun. It'll hit the shops this summer with a $130 price tag attached.

There will be lights and those lights will change colour, but will it make the "pwung" noise? There's only one way to find out, and that's to buy at least five. Perhaps ten. Maybe more. More. MORE.

NECA will also be releasing a line of Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life action figures, a few of which were shown off at the NYC Toy Fair. The Team Fortress 2 wiki has a snap of the new figures, you'll find that below along with a few shots of that Portal gun. Baggsy the Heavy.







Kotaku

Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys While NECA rolled out a bunch of impressive Valve-licensed stuff, I was still charmed by the Portal 2 offerings shown by ThinkGeek. Along a Companion Cube cookie jar and talking turrets, they also had Aperture Science cores that blurted out phrases from the Portal games. But the highlight had to be the Science Fair kit that you could plug into a potato, calling back to one of the best moments in Valve's teleportational sequel. (Potato not included but the poster backdrop is)


ThinkGeek also had Minecraft wares on display, too. Those wall-hangings should keep the Creepers away, no?


Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys
Make Your Spud an Aperture Potato with These Portal 2 Toys


...