Portal 3 - News and what we'd love to see

GLaDOS in Portal 2.

GLaDOS in Portal 2.

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Portal co-creator Erik Wolpaw gave a recent interview with DidYouKnowGaming? where he talked about recent developments concerning Portal 3. Considering the amount of time game development takes, we could expect to see a Portal 3 release date down the line to give fans hope. This would be if Valve took them seriously and gave them a good amount of resources.

It’s no surprise to anyone that Valve has been resistant to the idea of third installations of games though. There has been a famous curse on their games, whether it’s Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, or Half-Life. However, the release of Half-Life: Alyx in 2020 was met with critical acclaim, which led to a lot of speculation about the lifting of the curse. Could Portal 3 buck the trend?

For even more on the latest games, check out everything we know about a potential Dark Souls 4 release date. We've also got a look at the Hades 2 voice cast, as well as the Starfield Game Pass release date.

Portal 3 latest news

There is currently no news about a Portal 3 game being released any time soon. Although Wolpaw gave some pretty solid leads in his interview with DidYouKnowGaming? it's clear that there is nothing in development at the time of writing.

What we'd love to see in Portal 3

A new story

A derelict Aperture facility with GlaDOS in the middle.
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Credit: Steam
We'll have to host the story somewhere else, this place is a mess

Portal 2 ended with all the character's story arcs being wrapped up quite nicely. Protagonist Chell managed to finally make it to the elevator and escape the Aperture Facility, GlaDOS gets her peace of mind by being surrounded by turrets to experiment on, and Wheatley was ejected into space. This means a sequel set after the game seems pretty unlikely. That doesn’t mean that the universe isn’t rich enough to sustain another story, though.

A prequel seems like an easy option for Portal 3. The game could showcase the relationship between Cave Johnson and his secretary, who would go on to become GlaDOS. There is a more interesting angle that could be explored though, and that is found in the Black Mesa facility. The fact that Half-Life and Portal exist in the same universe makes them the direct competitor to the Aperture labs.

This could even lead to fresh and unique gameplay based on the old formula. Whether Black Mesa stole the portal technology or managed to make their own independently, it would be easy to make them work slightly differently than the ones we’re used to. They could be more unstable, or the mechanics could be changed to only work one way, for example.

Story co-op

Two co-op players in Portal 2
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Credit: Portal wiki
A story is better when it's shared

Portal 2 is considered an almost flawless game, even by its biggest critics. However, there is one major lost opportunity in that the cooperative experience feels a little hollow. It was phenomenal for its time, and provided hours of content with friends, especially with the support of the Steam Workshop. The base game co-op mode had no story though. It was simply a sequence of chapters that increased in difficulty. This is all the more apparent when players want to show their kids or younger siblings their favourite game from their childhood, but they have to miss out on the legendary story.

It would be great to see a more cohesive cooperative experience in Portal 3. Of course, it would be difficult to integrate this alongside the single-player story, but Valve has had enough time to figure out how to do that by now. Whether it does a separate multiplayer story alongside the main one, or simply adapt it to account for two players is up to the devs.

VR capabilities

Portal in VR
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Credit: Portal Wiki
It just makes sense

With the release of Half-Life: Alyx being exclusive on VR headsets, it excluded a lot of hardcore, lifelong fans. It was a controversially strategic move on Steam's behalf, with at least a few fans buying and investing in headsets in order to play it. Not only that, but Alyx changed the expectations of the general public about what was possible in the VR engines.

However, the game would’ve sold a lot more copies if it had been more accessible to those who wanted to play it. While the game had been developed around its VR elements, it could have had a non-VR counterpart sold alongside it, without people having to rely on mods to do so.

If Portal 3 is released in the next few years, it would be great to see it have a VR port, but without the game being exclusive to one format or the other. While it seems like puzzle games are made for the VR format, it could certainly limit the kind you could make in the Portal games. Even just thinking about a falling portal loop in VR is enough to give you motion sickness.

Player choices

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A close of up Wheatley, a NPC in Portal 2.
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Credit: Steam
We're not asking for anything drastic

Portal is very well respected for being a linear game that knows exactly the kind of story it wants to tell. You take Chell through the puzzles in the levels that, for the most part, can only be solved in one way. Even the story can only take one route, with no deviation from the developer's intent.

It would be interesting to see some variation in Portal 3. Of course, it might deviate too far from the spirit of Portal to give the player too much choice. A lot of the comedic horror comes from the character's loss of autonomy. That shouldn’t stop them from taking all choices away from the character, though. It could add a lot of personality to give players some minor choices through the campaign. This could be as simple as deciding what would happen to other test subjects in a particular level.

Adding some variety to how to solve puzzles would also make the game more interesting. By letting the player experiment with the environment and figure out how they want to solve the level, you allow players to have more fun. This is in contrast to the stress of trying to figure out the singular way developers want you to complete the level.

More exploration

A ruined Aperture facility
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Credit: Steam
One day we'll catch up with the Rattman, for sure!

Now, we’re not talking about open-world here, but the small parts in the map in Portal 2 where you could discover more about the Rattman were genuinely interesting. They make you pay more attention to the world, rather than just running through to find the next puzzle. It was also a lot of fun to have more environmental puzzles in Portal 2, that didn’t always rely on the ones that GlaDOS constructed. It felt like the player was actually beating the system.

For Portal 3 to get the most out of its potential, it would have to have even a small portion of the map for the players to uncover themselves. They could provide areas that provide more lore to the players, as a reward for the fans who want to put the effort into the game. Alternatively, there could be easter eggs or even bonus puzzles.

For more news on Valve games, check out our article about all the games that currently work with the Steam Deck! If you're into mods, we've just released our favourite roundup for December, or if you're into puzzles, the best free puzzle games for 2023!

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