Friday, July 28, 2006

Portal, Portal, on the Wall...

If you haven't been paying attention in the last week or so, Valve released a new gameplay movie that showcases a new technology called 'Portal' (available on Google Video).

According to an interview with one of the employees of Valve (Kim Swift, hired on the spot after the demo of their game to Gabe Newell!) on IGN, the portal game will take place in the Half Life universe and will be available as a second single-player episode when Episode Two is released (ie. it will not be part of the continuing saga with Gordon, Alyx, and the G-Man, but will take place in the same storyline).

The gameplay video is absolutely amazing. Unlike the portals in Prey which are permanent fixtures in each level, in the Portal game you actually have a gun that can shoot a portal into a wall or floor. Shoot once for your landing, shoot a second time for take-off, step through (or jump, or fall) and voila!

The gun appears to be a gravity-gun as well, and you can use it to move objects through the portals. In the gameplay video several examples are shown where objects are tossed through the portal to knock out a turret. The entire game appears to be a giant puzzle game where you are presented with obstacles by the Aperture Science Corporation and you must complete them (is this a 3D platformer?).

Valve mentions that they will use this for future multiplayer games as well (I can't wait). Episode Two will also include Team Fortress Two (so that's two single player games/episodes, and a multiplayer add-on). Valve appears to have a very stylistically comical take on the Team Fortress franchise, which is probably for the best (also shown on IGN).

About the portals. Are these part of the portal storms mentioned in the half life storyline, or something else?

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