Valve still 'kicking around' scrapped Portal 2 puzzle mechanic

At PAX East last Saturday, I got a chance to awkwardly speak to Portal 2's project lead, Joshua Weier. Despite my woeful incoherence, I learned a few interesting tidbits about the game's inception, including that Valve isn't ready to divulge the nature of a new puzzle mechanic which it scrapped early on in development.

In an interview with The Telegraph earlier this month, Valve writer Erik Wolpaw explained, "... a brief idea we had was having a different puzzle mechanic, with each Portal game introducing a new way of solving puzzles with Aperture Science in the background, this big funhouse where every game would get a new thing. We quickly discovered through playtesting that people liked it, but just preferred the portal gun."

The new mechanic was also brought up byValvelast year - I asked Weier if he could elaborate on it, but apparently it's not fully in the bin.

"We're not really talking about that one too much," said Weier. "I think we're still kicking that around - it's kind of interesting. I think that kind of came from us trying to make Portal 2 a surprise. But the more we started to dig into the mechanics, the more we realized there was tons more for us to do."

Digging into a different sensitive topic, I also asked Weier if he could comment on the recently-leaked Portal 2 Achievement list, and whether or not fan speculation regarding a possible Half-Life 2: Episode 3 tease had any weight. Weier, of course, couldn't say anything definitive about that either:

"Yeah, the Achievements always come out a little earlier than we want, but it was fun to watch people speculate and see what they were gonna get. I think when it hits on April 19th it'll be fun to see people actually experience that."

EXPERIENCE WHAT?! Yeah, I know - April 19th. Anyway, you can read the rest of my impressions and Weier's comments in the rivulet-of-consciousness preview I banged out from the floor of the press room. I'm sure obsessively-informed fans already knew all of it months ago, but given that I still have a bruise on my leg from the foot of a furiously rushed videographer, I'm making it important. It's a dangerous job (not really).

Mar 14, 2011

Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer