Portal 2 On-Screen Footage, Other Stuff

Woo, the GamesCom Portal 2 demo has been filmed by clever Germans and uploaded, somehow, to the internet. I just don’t know how they do it. I’ll try to figure that out, and meanwhile you can watch the events below – it’s stuff we’ve seen bits of before, but still, looking lovely – while digesting the news that Stephen Merchant has been cast as Wheatley, the thinger that helps you along your way in that game, Portal 2.

Yes. Portal 2 will be released February 9, 2011. That’s news, too. I’m high-fiving in solitude, here. Clapping? Oh.


  1. AndrewC says:

    Stephen Merchant is replacing that english dude from the first bit of leaked footage?

    That is quite brilliant and amazing.

    • Zyrxil says:

      So who was the first guy that did the voice?

    • AndrewC says:

      Someone internal at Valve I think. And probably a very nice man.

    • El Stevo says:

      @ Zyrxil

      Richard Lord, an artist at Valve who comes from Derby. It was only ever a placeholder.

    • Sobric says:

      At first I thought it was Justin Lee Collins and almost had a heart-attack.

    • Dante says:

      Placeholder voices are very common when a company releases early footage (because you can see how the dialogue works with the action without having to bother/pay the professional voice actors) but nevertheless every time a trailer comes out that features it someone always shouts “OMG THAT VOICE ACTING IS TERRIBLE!” etc.

      You’d think people would’ve learnt by now.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Dante — people never learn. You’d think people would’ve learnt that by now.

    • anon says:

      I think I actually prefer the original voice.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah, I love Steven Merchant, but he sounds very out of place to me here. I can’t believe it’s a character in Portal because it’s bloody Steven Merchant!

      Don’t use celebs in games imo. Though it’s probably more a fault of my shoddy imagination.

    • hosndosn says:

      @Dante: In all fairness, it wasn’t mentioned that the voice was placeholder. I remember hearing the L4D2 voices for the first time in previews, thinking “Gee, those are so bad, they have to be placeholders…”. Well guess what, they were the final ones.

  2. robrob says:

    Stephen Merchant? That goggle-eyed freak? I like him a lot but he seems a bit weird as a robot ball thing, especially compared to GladOS’s more SHODAN-like voice.

    • sfury says:

      What a huge mistake, they should’ve cast Karl Pilkington for the sphere part obviously…

    • Saul says:

      Haha, I said the same thing on the other thread.

    • Random Loser. says:

      There should ABSOLUTELY be a Karl and Ricky spheres as an easter egg. Perhaps the PC goes off the beaten path and finds these two AI constructs discussing monkeys.

  3. bleeters says:

    There’s no way I’m going to be finishing this without consulting a guide, is there? :(

    • perilisk says:

      Valve is pretty good (or terrible, if you’re a hardcore masochist type) about playtesting the crap out of things to ensure that most people can eventually make progress. Presumably they won’t throw a complicated problem at you without having you warm up on simpler variants first.

    • bleeters says:

      I had to watch youtube videos a few times in the first game. I am a dunce, etc.

  4. agentsparrow says:

    Looks Magnificent!

  5. Tei says:

    It don’t make sense to watch these videos.
    01). Portal 2 is a puzzle game, if you watch these videos, you will already know the solutions, or the most basic solution.
    10). We already know Portal 2 will be a awesome game, worth every penny.
    11). If we get more hyped, we will explode.

  6. Richard Clayton says:

    @Tei: yes, agreed. But can you stop yourself? I can’t.

  7. Furius says:

    Hopefully they’ll Robot-o-ize his voice. Sounds too human at the mo.

    • Orange Required says:

      I do think that’s rather the point.

    • GHudston says:

      I agree he needs to sound a lot more human than GlaDOS, but he does need a little bit of an effect added to his voice to make it sound like a friendly synthesized robot voice and not like there’s an actual bloke talking through a speaker at you.

      That being said, you can’t really hear it properly in the vid anyway and I trust Valve to do it right. They certainly made the right choice not listening to their idiot fanbase who wanted to keep the placeholder. That they were rumoured to be considering keeping him worried me a bit!

  8. mmavipc says:

    FUCK YEAH, We got to see the redesigned GLaDOS

  9. oceanclub says:

    Tei is right. I’m going to slap myself, then shut this browser window.

    • Hodge says:

      Gah! Now I don’t know what to do. Can somebody who’s watched it inform us of its spoileritude?

  10. Skinlo says:

    Well we know the solutions will involve Portals, gel and tractor beams, so there won’t be that much of a giveaway hopefully :)

  11. TheApologist says:

    Good they’ve got a professional actor – I was worried about the rumours of keeping the placeholder voice and the mini campaign that got started up about it. Stephen Merchant seems like a good choice.

  12. Monchberter says:

    Is it just me or has the Source engine got sexier?

  13. benjamin says:

    Is that a portal gun I have in my pockets or was i just happy to see that video?

    p.s. I don’t have a portal gun

  14. ArtyFishal says:

    I’m so glad to see full dynamic lighting in Source. When HL2 came out I was so disappointed by its absence after having a lot of fun with shadows in Doom 3 and Far Cry. Finally Source takes the lead in lighting.

    • Starky says:

      Well maybe not the lead – just catching up to where most modern engines have been for several years.

      The fluid dynamics look pretty cool though.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Hasn’t dynamic lighting been in Source since EP2? L4D used it, too, afaik.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think so yeah. But this does look like a significant step up for the Source engine.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Yeah, don’t get me wrong, it looks absolutely stunning. Maybe the Dear Esther remake upped the ante for Valve’s own artists.

  15. LionsPhil says:

    So the worst part about that damn sphere—it’s continual, unfunny banter undermining the quiet, desolate exploration of the game and the feeling of isolation from anyone except not-very-passive passive-aggressive mostly-antagonist GLaDOS—is still there.

    I predict a mod to remove the damn thing, or at least all its lines. Especially during GLaDOS’ wake-up.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I was thinking something similar. And I think the internet, and my flatmate have ruined the humour in Portal by going on about it forever and ever and ever…

  16. Starky says:

    I suspect it won’t be with you for much of the game, just it is new and shiny thus in all the trailers.

    I kind of like it though, but then I like Mr. Merchant, still – they should have let him rewrite a few of those jokes I think, they sound forced from him.

    I mean the Old man Murray guys are good, but they are NOT merchant good, when it comes to writing.

  17. Pacnet2010 says:

    [font=arial black]Can’t wait for portal 2..lol.[font]

    • stahlwerk says:

      [font=comic sans ms]neithre can I, buddy, neither can I. rofl.[font]

      (what in god’s name is that homepage of yours?)

    • Dao Jones says:

      I have no idea which is better. This post or his website. Did you click the different links on it? Oh my, what a hoot.

      I have decided to use it as my website also. Free promotion, my friend.

  18. Frans Coehoorn says:

    Looks pretty awesome. Or, als Karl Pilkington would say: Alright.

  19. Jimbo Crystun says:

    Aah I don’t like this casting. He’ll probably just use his regular speaking voice, which I’ve listened to for hundreds of hours on the Podcasts/XFM. The Barclays adverts are bad enough.

  20. Veret says:

    Stumbling around in the dark and depending on a spastic idiot with a flashlight to keep you alive? This must be what it feels like to be Alyx in Episode 1. In fact, I bet that’s where Valve got the idea.

  21. Zetetic says:

    I suppose that I should be grateful that’s it not bloody Gervais or Russell Brand.

  22. Metal_circus says:

    Very very very happy to hear Smerch’s voice as the little robot guy. I think it does suit. Plus, I think it’ll make it very easy to get attached to the character of the robot thing now that he’s voicing it.

  23. valvefanboi says:

    what a shit sandwich.

  24. JB says:

    Some of those factory areas looked totally batshit insane. I’m not sure about my pc running this, but even more worried about my brain’s capability to handle it.

  25. Psycho Chicken says:

    I have to say I hate Wheatley. It’s only the trailer and he’s bugging the shit out of me already.

  26. stahlwerk says:

    Would someone — in two sentences or less — describe to a clueless/barbaric continental european who this Mr. Wheatley is, and why he is so polarizing? Is that his voice in the video? If so, then, yes, I like him much better than the placeholder (duh).

    Also, @Tei I guess: I have watched all the trailers up until now and most of them showed the same sequence. I doubt most of the rooms will be used in the final game, they appear a bit too show-off-y of the new mechanics to make sense from a puzzle perspective. They scream “Didn’t think about that, ha?!”, which makes good trailer, but bad puzzle material. Anyway with Portal 2 being a full length game (which I assume is ~8-12 hours nowadays), we have seen 2-3% of the puzzles, at the most.

    • Ed says:

      @stahlwerk – Stephen Merchant is a British comedy writer, sitcom actor and radio presenter, and is the writing partner of the more famous Ricky Gervais. He’s polarising because… some people find his and Gervais’ style of comedy very annoying, I guess?

      Bonus sentence: Personally, I usually avoid anything he’s associated with, but he seems perfectly cast here, and he’s going to be speaking words written by vastly more talented people, so ‘sall good..

    • stahlwerk says:

      Okay, so he has a trained voice and a comedy background. Sounds fine to me. You may proceed in your development schedule, team Valve. This gaming world won’t dominate itself, will it?

    • DrGonzo says:

      @ Ed

      I’m the opposite really. I love Steven Merchant and I associate his voice with the podcasts too much. I wonder if it’s the people who like him who find his voice off putting.

      Anyway, I can almost guarantee that 5 minutes into playing the game I will love his voiceover.

  27. MultiVaC says:

    It looks amazing. New gameplay element are great, and Source looks surprisingly top notch. Dynamic lighting, gel physics, and really pretty new glass and water effects. The thing that impresses me the most, though, is the incredible detail of the environments. The amount of things going on in some of those scenes is mind boggling. The whole place seems alive. I remember really liking the pod scene in HL2’s citadel and how full of meticulously crafted activity surrounded you, and some of those Portal 2 scenes take it to the next level.

    • y3k-bug says:

      It really is amazing how much Valve has gotten out of Source. It still looks absolutely gorgeous.

      Does anyone else find it really cool how all Valve games visually look the same due to Source? I dig it, it’s like a calling card of theirs.

  28. stahlwerk says:

    Okay now that that placeholder was re-recorded, I hope they do additional work on GlaDOS’ lines. Her delivery sounds strained (okay she’s been dead for a long time), but made “robot-y” with a quick stroke of the Autotune. Almost as if she wanted to whisper threateningly, but her text-to-speech-chip only manages “annoyed matter-of-factly”. I remember her voice as way more deadpan, and the intonation better — well — tuned to the occasion.

  29. Seymour says:

    I just hope that it’s not going to take any more than words of gental encouragment for my aging rig to run this game… The textures, the lighting, the goo. Oh the goo…
    I have always loved Valve for their continued optimization for the benifit of those of us too poor (or unskilled at robbing hardware shops.) to keep up with the rediculous speed of hardware improvment.

  30. Tetragrammaton says:

    Gamer stereotype #104: rampant misoneism

    Apparently misoneism is not a real word. Fucking kids these days.

    • Dinger says:

      Do you mean misonanism, the habit of trying to masturbate, but failing to do so? I’m not sure that applies to gamers in themselves, as much as to gamer-produced videos.

  31. Corion says:

    Man, I really liked the original voice better. Maybe they’ll add an option to have the “placeholder” one instead. It’d be excellent DLC, IMO.

    • Huggster says:

      I doubt it, they will have done loads more different scenes by the time it comes out.

  32. Tenorek says:

    They should have gotten Bear Grylls. We already know he is good at guiding people through dire situations.

  33. Fuggit says:

    Will there be cake?

  34. Gerry says:

    It sure would be nice if people learnt how to spell LEARNED.

  35. uofitorn says:

    @y3k-bug: A game engine isn’t like a gallon of milk that goes bad before 2 weeks. Like any piece of software, it can certainly be upgraded and improved. I refer you to software versioning.

  36. Muhammed says:

    You know, that date could be construed as “second 9-11”.

    Just saying.

  37. Chris says:

    I wanna eat the propulsion gel, it looks like it’d taste goooooood.

  38. Ovno says:

    Great more of these bloody unfunny annoyingly voiced office actors, just what an otherwise fantastic game needs, couldn’t we have at least had a nobody or am I just gonna be forced to drop Wheatly into an Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator as soon as I find him so I don’t have to listen to this prick while I’m playing…

  39. Viper50BMG says:

    Re: Eating Gel
    You know, it could just be me, but I think that in both “Aperture Science Information Page”s related to the gels, they were designed for something like diet aids, or somesuch terrible thing. You mightn’t be too far off the mark.