PAX East 2011: First look at Portal 2's opening scenes

Valve has again brought never-before-seen (correction: once-before-seen) footage of Portal 2 to PAX, but this year, it's not focusing on the co-op mode, which it has heavily promoted on account of it being "brand new." To our delight, Valve instead showed us roughly five or six minutes of the game's opening, and introduced a new character - Aperture Science founder and president Cave Johnson, who is voiced by actor J.K. Simmons.

Update: Shaky-cam footage of the demo

When the footage opens, Chell is awoken from stasis in a relatively-fresh-looking room, and Johnson's voice runs her through a brief series of tutorial check-ups (gymnastics test: look up, look down). She's then instructed to return to bed, but when she awakes again, her room is a mess of decay. Wheatly, the personality core which looks after the lab's test subjects, arrives chattering away on a ceiling-mounted track to save her. We learn that an unspecific, but long, amount of time has passed, that a catastrophic power outage is imminent, and that Wheatly is making a last ditch effort to keep every test subject from becoming a vegetable.

To ensure that Chell is without "a very minor case of serious brain damage," Wheatly runs her through a few more tests, which include speaking. Chell, of course, responds to only by jumping, but in his rush Wheatly dismisses her non-response. Valve writer Erik Wolpaw was on hand to explain that the developers wanted Wheatly to be a continuously chattering character, so whenever the player is idle, he'll babble on unendingly (which he definitely did, inspiring rounds of audience laughter).

To free Chell, Wheatly manually controls her room, which is apparently connected to a track system which allows Aperture to deposit subjects around the facility. As he swings her around, bits of the room are torn off, revealing a much larger laboratory than suggested by the first game's test chambers. He eventually manages to break her into what appears to be the facility's original lobby by "manually" opening a docking station (which he discovered to not be a docking station at all). The steel frame of Chell's chamber smashes through the exterior wall, and Wheatly, who is afraid that the "management" will return to see the mess he's in, explains that she's in search of a 'device' which can help them.

Once inside, we see the decaying remains of a once-great facility and the beginning of Portal 2's campaign, which we're told is about two and a half times longer than Portal's (and the co-op section is apparently twice as long as Portal's campaign!).

After the opening video, Valve played footage of a few of the game's puzzles, including one involving repulsion gel, which bounces Chell into the air. According to Aperture president Cave Johnson, whose pre-recorded voice instructs (or, did at one time) the test subjects, we're lucky to be getting the real thing - the first guy got blue paint and broke every bone in his legs.

On the next page: Joshua Weier talks to us about Portal 2's inception...




  • Gilligan - April 8, 2011 11:49 a.m.

    reCAPTCHA: possibly anorgy haha. Can't wait for Portal 2
  • lovinmyps3 - March 16, 2011 1:30 a.m.

    This is one of my most anticipated games of this year! I'm glad we're getting a look at the single-player, as I'm still more interested in that than the co-op.
  • 8bitBaby - March 14, 2011 2:44 a.m.

    this looks sooooooopa good. can't wait.
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - March 13, 2011 8:20 p.m.

    @GOODKyle1 I asked, and was told it was new. Considered that verification, but perhaps the person I spoke to was misinformed. When running around at a convention and using spotty wi-fi, further fact checking is rather difficult. Anyway, corrected it.
  • GOODKyle1 - March 13, 2011 6:24 p.m.

    @tuomataivained I didn't mean to come off as insulted or PO'ed (that's one disadvantage of the internet). I just meant to say in a professional tone if you're going to say something bold like that you have to make sure it's true. Like if you said "I beat this video game first in the world", you would have to research that and can't assume. Again, because the internet doesn't have face-to-face interactions...I didn't mean to sound mad.
  • tuomotaivainen - March 13, 2011 8:12 a.m.

    @GOODKyle1 Dude chill, they just weren't aware of it. They can't always keep tabs on what information other media get access to.
  • GOODKyle1 - March 13, 2011 6 a.m.

    Sadly this is seen before as posted the first 10 MINUTES (not 5-6) of Portal 2 weeks ago. I have no problem with the article just don't lie and say it's never before seen footage.
  • AMayer - March 13, 2011 5:33 a.m.

    Tyler, I totally saw you today! But I couldn't chase you down because it seems like your the most elusive person ever. You actually waited in that line?! Well, I guess it's like your job or whatever the kids call it these days. I'm so gonna get this. Also, I would suggest checking out "Snapshot" if you haven't already. It's Portal-esque!
  • RamenChimera - March 13, 2011 2:51 a.m.

    @HankVenture WHats wrong with you? Everybody here has a recaptcha fetish, obviously.
  • HankVenture - March 13, 2011 1:10 a.m.

    OO god I want to see this, but I love the game to much to ruin it's opening :(...just a lil while longer ps. having to do a recaptcha for everything i write makes me wanna not comment
  • Bronzus - March 13, 2011 12:44 a.m.

    Cave Johnson ain't new. He was technically in the first game.
  • kingsmikefan - March 13, 2011 12:43 a.m.

    J.K. Simmons is an actor with class. He'll do a fine job.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - March 13, 2011 12:26 a.m.

    I'm reminded of the hospital area from Arkham Asylum. Remember that?

Showing 1-13 of 13 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000