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13,000 Lines Of Chat In Portal 2

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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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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