Unlike buses, Valve games don’t come in three. That’s not going to change anytime soon, but one of the lead writers behind both Portal games has revealed that they have a “pretty awesome” idea for Portal 3. Erik Wolpaw says he and fellow Portal 2 pen Jay Pinkerton have to and with that idea floated around Valve, to a positive response. It’s totes on the cards, is what it sounds like.
The news comes from Wolpaw’s recent interview with YouTuber DidYouKnowGaming, which is also worth watching to learn about all the ideas Valve didn’t end up using in Portal 2. At one point, it had time.
In Wolpaw’s exact words, “Jay and I have an idea that we think is pretty amazing for what would happen, generally speaking”. It is worth quoting his caveats in full, remember:
“We don’t have a script or any details worked out, but we kind of have a starting point that we like a lot. So, you know, it’s good that we have this idea, but there’s a lot left to do. Somebody has to figure it out some new portal quests! But we have an actual idea, yes.”
“But again, having that idea versus actually committing to making a game is a completely different thing. It’s not unheard of, but there’s no formal pitch process at Valve either. It’s always kind of, you know , grassroots campaign I guess.”
Interestingly, Wolpaw reckons that one of the big reasons Valve hasn’t made a game with a three in it is because developers tend to be more interested in making sequels than threequels. He argues that when developers finish the first game in a new IP, they can look back and see everything they want to fix. By doing so with a sequel, they have already fulfilled their creative vision.
From a writing perspective, at least Wolpaw and Pinkerton are still hot (as is Glados). Wolpaw also believes that part of the reason Portal 3 hasn’t happened yet is just bad timing, seen as the poor form of Valve to start a new project while many of the developers are mired in the less exciting phases of other work.
It’s nice to hear about the ideas that were cut from Portal 2 as well. At one point they planned to stick the player in a Small World-style Disney theme park ride full of Aperture propaganda, but dropped it in favor of sprinkling lore more evenly throughout the game.
You can also kill Cave Johnson, or at least a version of him loaded up in a special companion cube. The Digo murder was supposed to be part of a puzzle, but part of the reason it was scrapped is apparently because they couldn’t get the physics to work properly. The team also got quite far in developing the Adhesion gel, which would have allowed you to walk on ceilings and walls, before it was used because it made people too sick.
I’m glad it didn’t get in, but I’m a little sad they did away with bullet time. Its inclusion was originally intended as a way to make high-speed air tricks more accessible, but ultimately felt too gimmicky while achieving the simplicity they aimed for.
You’ll find many more details in DidYouKnowGaming’s video above, and even more in this one here. If that’s not enough to satiate you, here’s John Walker’s piece from a decade ago (ahhhh) on the version of Portal 2 that didn’t have portals.