13,000 Lines Of Chat In Portal 2

By Alec Meer on January 14th, 2011 at 5:10 pm.

Here is a news journalism dilemma: the main fact to be gleaned from this story is that there are 13,000 lines of dialogue in Valve’s impending physics-abuse sequel Portal 2. If I put that vital statistic in the headline of this story, a bunch of people are very likely to come and read the piece. But then they’ll discover there aren’t really any other facts to be had from this story, and may feel let down or openly angry.

If I don’t put that vital statistic in the headline, I probably can’t come up with an equivalently effective alternative. “Portal 2 has lots of dialogue?” “Portal 2: Clearly Quite Chatty?” At least, though, readers would be rewarded with information they couldn’t glean purely from the headline. Whatever’s a boy to do?

Um. Well, guess I answered that one already.

I can also tell you that the game has jazz in it. How about that? This according to Charles Onyett of IGN (who I’ve met, and is a nice man) in this preview of the first 30 minutes of the game. Other than that, it seems as though Valve may well have played all the pre-release hype cards they’re going to – we know it’s a long game, we know there are more robo-personalities, we know Aperture’s labs have been invaded by the great outdoors and we know GlaDOS is making a comeback. How that all fits together, and what manner of sprawling story those 13,000 lines of dialogue are going to tell us, we just don’t know.

Which, let’s be honest, is half the appeal. It’s a sequel, it’s based around the same core mechanic – but it’s also very much a mystery. I do like mysteries. They’re so… mysterious.

Here’s a video clip associated with that preview, by the way, which I think has a smattering of new footage in it.

April 20 (US/Oz) / April 22 (for us clearly wretched and inferior Euroscum. Bah). Seems far too far away.

Edit- by comparison, Planescape: Torment had some 800,000 lines of dialogue, so Portal 2′s small fry by comparison. But then that was almost all purely text, as opposed to spoken. So there.

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71 Comments »

  1. skurmedel says:

    Close enough to my birthday.

    • P3RF3CT D3ATH says:

      Same here. My birthday is the day after Portal 2 comes out. It’s funny that Portal 2 is being released on 4/20.

  2. Meat Circus says:

    I feel let down or openly angry.

    What a shame.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Wow, that video reminds me so much of Quake 3 Defrag, it’s not even funny. There’s your rest of the story right there.
      Especially the wall jumping and the bouncing around trough the air in impossible levels, shooting things.

  3. Rich says:

    I approve of the change in voice for the little personality sphere. It didn’t really sound like it what him speaking though, direction wise, but that could’ve just been the video.

  4. Navagon says:

    Even with 13 lines of dialogue this would still be looking like one of The games of 2011. Yes, it’s not Ep3 / HL3. But we clearly can’t have everything.

  5. Om says:

    Thirteen thousand is meaningless in isolation. Give me a comparison. How many lines of dialogue in Dragon Age or Crysis?

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Crysis as dialogue? I never knew… and I played it trough… ;)

    • PleasingFungus says:

      20k in ME2, 80k in ACII, “hundreds of thousands” in SW: TOR.

      Now you have some numbers!

    • Delusibeta says:

      So, we’ll say half of the number of lines Mass Effect 2 had. Considering the previous game, that’s quite a jump.

    • subedii says:

      Considering that ME2 is an shooter / RPG hybrid with a tonne of character interaction and dozens of major NPC’s, and is a much longer game than Portal 2′s going to be, 13,000 lines of dialogue sounds ridiculously huge.

  6. Baboonanza says:

    You could at least have compared it to how many lines of dialogue other games have. For instance that’s probably about 0.5 Fallout: New Vegas’s and 13,000 Peggles of dialogue (I think Peggle must have one line of dialogue?).

    I am angry at your laziness!

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      But only 0.2% of New Vegas dialogue, like most Bethesda games, isn’t excruciatingly dull and generic.

      Looking forward to Portal 2. Not looking forward to the Jazz, which is a curiously anachronistic choice of genre for such a game.

    • Rich says:

      Could be worse. Could be metal.
      Nothing says teenager made Youtube gameplay video like metal.

    • Tizoc says:

      …jazz-metal, then?

    • Bhazor says:

      Jazz Metal?
      I’d be OK with that.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      But only 0.2% of New Vegas dialogue, like most Bethesda games, isn’t excruciatingly dull and generic.

      Because New Vegas was written by Bethesda.

    • Schmitzkater says:

      @Bhazor that song sounds suprisingly swell.

    • edit says:

      Reading the preview, it’s “smooth jazz” with soloing sax… So it sounds like it’s probably perfectly in line with the kind of goofey loungey stuff playing on the radios in Portal 1. I’d say used more comically than musically\atmospherically.

    • Dominic White says:

      Ain’t nothing wrong with metal, so long as it’s not terrible ‘This man is very angry at his guitar’ mush.

      But Bhazor has proved without a doubt that the devil really DOES get the best music. Gotta check out more Diablo Swing Orchestra stuff. Super classy

    • DoucheMullet says:

      Jazz metal?

    • Bhazor says:

      Anyone who likes Diablo Swing Orchestra can download their first album for free from Jamendo. http://www.jamendo.com/en/album/49216

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Bhazor: That track would fit perfectly for a Grim Fandango/Brütal Legend crossover, don’t your think?

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      @Jason

      Your point? Oh right, it was by Obsidian, my bad! As if that makes the game tremendously superior to any of Bethesda’s offerings… Frankly, it was no bloody different. Generic dialogue, hideously slow beginnings, uninspired acting. Again.

      @DoucheMullet

      Have you heard Mike Patton’s “Mondo Cane”? I’m no fan of Bungle or Faith No More, but bloody hell Patton was on fire all through Mondo Cane. Excellent stuff.

      And metal is okay when it isn’t… metal. So, The Fucking Champs, preferably. Or Naked City.

    • Daniel Klein says:

      Both Diablo Swing Orchestra and Mr. Bungle are more commonly classified as “Avantgarde Metal”. However, I’m sure DSO would be cool with swing metal too. You want proper jazz metal? Why don’t you try Ephel Duath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwbFSDIHtiM&hd=1

      Or, somewhat more gimmicky and amusing, Ihsahn’s latest album, After, which has a lot of free jazz sax. On top of black metal. Yes, really: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ0vYjrefO4

      (Ihsahn are commonly referred to as avantgarde black metal, and by commonly I mean “probably 2 or 3 times”. I’m still trying to make “post black metal” happen, but since my WP article got deleted, it’s been an uphill struggle)

      Also, OFF TOPIC!

      And because the new edit button tempted me:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FacppwNLj8U&feature=related — Jazz Prog Metal
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joUiwaglBmo&feature=related — Fusion Metal, featuring members of the immortal Cynic
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAFEGwSq66w&feature=related — 7-for-4, featuring members of the somewhat less Sieges Even

      I’ll stop myself here. I could go on for days.

    • TeeJay says:

      “Jazz” doesn’t have to be anachronistic – it isn’t just dixieland, bebop and Kenny G – plenty of stuff is very modern/furturistic, blends into electronica, classical, folk / world music and psychedelic rock and if it wasn’t labelled as “jazz” you might not think it was.

      eg


      Jan Garbarek & L. Shankar & Zakir Hussain & Trilok Gurtu – Watching You!


      Polar Bear – Peepers


      Acoustic Ladyland – Iggy (live)

      …also 70s afrobeat and ethio-jazz has come back onto the music scene in a big way, eg:


      Mulatu Astatke – Yegelle Tezeta

    • MultiVaC says:

      I was just thinking that, Velvet, it would be an awesome soundtrack for a Grim Fandango-esque game. A film noir story in hell, it would be great.

    • DoucheMullet says:

      @Casimir’s Blake

      That is his Italian pop album, correct? I haven’t listened to it yet, but I was planning on it.

      I’m a big Bungle/FNM fan.

  7. Alez says:

    How many lines of talky talky where there in portal 1? I have no idea what 13.000 means in size.

    • Ars.Gladius says:

      The average movie has 3,000 lines of dialogue.

    • cjlr says:

      And with an average movie being, give or take, 2 hours, we can do some pretend maths and say that Portal 2 is going to be about 8 hours long. You heard it here first, people!

  8. Bhazor says:

    Dragon Age Origins had 68,260 lines of spoken dialogue
    http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2010/02/25/news-tidbits-dragon-age-origins.aspx?PageIndex=1

    Edit: Damn it that was meant as a reply to Om

  9. Lewie Procter says:

    We know that Jonathan Coulton has done something in it too.

  10. clive dunn says:

    It’s about three football pitches worth of dialogue.

    Or 450 double decker buses.

    Or 0.0003 the size of Wales

  11. JNewt says:

    For comparison, Halo 3 has about 40,000 lines of spoken NPC dialog.

    • Bret says:

      Wait, wait, wait.

      That means, if every value stated so far is correct, Halo 3 has twice as much dialog as Mass Effect 2.

      The fully voiced RPG. With multiple responses to almost all the dialog branches. Each read by two VAs, doubling the count.

      Call me crazy, but something doesn’t add up here. At all.

  12. ChaK_ says:

    A “please read below to know what the news is about” title would be perfect.

    I think.

    offtopic : “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” The hell is that?

  13. Cheese says:

    They take one of our accents then decide to release it 2 days later for us :/

    • Rhin says:

      Obviously the extra 2 days are for polishing the accents. Americans will buy just any old accent.

  14. Josh Brandt says:

    April 20?

    420 WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Lambchops says:

    I have still watched a grand total of zero trailers or previews of Portal 2. Even in that treasure hunt thing I just stuck the trailer on and left the room.

    I want the contents of this game to be a wonderful suprise coloured only by the expectations produced from the first one.

    I will now leave this comment thread never to return avoiding the inevitable replies which will no doubt contain more spoiler than a boy racer’s pride and joy.

  16. Bhazor says:

    Bruce was a ghost

  17. coldvvvave says:

    Angry Internet Men are going to dismantle Portal 2 for not being low-budget puzzle game.

    Rage is going to be comparable to that of an No Mutants Allowed community in 2008.

    Internet will explode.

    • MultiVaC says:

      “The only reson I’m giving Portal 2 a 1 is beacuase the 13,000 lines of voices where pretty good.

      BUT THAT’S IT!”

    • Towercap says:

      My eyes immediately scoured your post for the spelling of “because”.

      I love you.

    • TheApologist says:

      Me too. Beacuase you’re worth it.

  18. TheTourist314 says:

    This is why I love RPS.

  19. DHP says:

    But will it have GlaDOS singing? That’s worrth 9000+ lines to me…

  20. Spliter says:

    Not just any 13.000 lines of dialogue.
    13.000 lines of Valve writers’ dialogue!

    From all the content released so far I can easily say Portal 2 will be my new favourite game.

  21. bill says:

    have they revealed the minimum specs? I’m rather worried my laptop won’t play it with all that liquid physics to calculate. And I loved portal so very much.

    • Bret says:

      Supposedly, it uses the same version of the Source engine as Alien Swarm, if memory serves. Might be a viable benchmark.

  22. Kevin says:

    13,000? Pfffft Valve… you’re slacking. Company of Heroes has 50,000 plus. Most of them absolute comedy gold:

    Machine-gun Crew Sergeant: “Then stop leading them so DAMN much!”

    Grenadiers with Panzershrecks: “Time for us to ‘un-pimp’ zer ride!”

    And my personal favourite:
    King Tiger: “Some people think we’re compensating.”

  23. RegisteredUser says:

    “Whatever’s a boy to do?”

    From Arnold movies I learned that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.

    You figure it out, I’m still bamboozled.

    Apparently these days the shoes do all the forking.

  24. TheApologist says:

    I am sticking to my theory that Portal 2 does something so important to the Half Life universe that they can’t talk about HL3 until Portal 2 is out and people have played and digested it.

    So basically I am holding out hope that at least 1 of these 13,000 lines points at the next Half Life.

  25. Muzman says:

    Apart from everything else, that goo/flubber stuff is going to allow for 3d Super Meat Boy action isn’t it. Which is kind of terrifying (somone may have noted this before)