Tuesday, April 23, 2024

No lie – the Portal movie is still in development

Long delays and Valve properties go together like blue and oranges holes in space – it’s been 17 years since Half-Life 2: Episode Two was released, and still no sign of Episode Three! – and it seems movie adaptations are no exception. Case in point: a movie adaptation of Portal was first announced in 2013, but has yet to materialise on cinema screens.

However, it appears that unlike the promise of cake to an unwilling research subject, the Portal movie isn’t a lie, with prolific director and producer J.J. Abrams confirming to IGN that the film is still in development.

“We actually do have a script that’s being written for the Portal movie now,” Abrams said. “We’re really excited about the take and the pitch, so it feels like that thing’s finally on the rails.”

While Abrams didn’t give any more information on what that take involves, or indeed who’s writing the script, he did hint that it would expand beyond the story of at least the first Portal game. Abrams said the series has “enormous potential”, in part because of “the limited narrative of the game, as ingeniously told as it is”.

The original Portal was released as part of Valve’s The Orange Box collection of Half-Life games in 2007. Originally intended as a sort of bonus, it proved to be arguably the post popular component of the package. The game cast players as Chell, a young woman who found herself trapped in the Aperture Science testing facilities, and forced to make her way through a series of mind-warping spatial experiments by the single-minded AI, GlaDOS (a villain who is not without queer interpretations).

Portal was something of a departure for Valve, with no combat and only the appropriately named Portal Gun – which opened linked holes for Chell to travel through – to help her escape. It was followed in 2011 by Portal 2, which greatly expanded the backstory of Aperture Science, ultimately tying Chell and GlaDOS together in unexpected ways. The sequel also boasted a fantastic vocal performance by actor J.K. Simmons as founder Cave Johnson – fingers crossed for a return in the film in some capacity. That would be a great success.

Whether the movie merges elements of the two games’ stories together, expands on characters such as Rat Man who are referenced but never seen in-game, or adds original material and characters to the film remains to be seen. It might still be a long time until we find out too, as there’s no word on when the Portal film might see the light of day. Maybe this will all prove to be Valve and Abrams putting us all through an incredibly elaborate test…

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