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Say "Apple": The First 8 Mins Of Portal 2

Wheatley will turn out to be evil, right? I mean look at him there - clearly thinking about lasering my eyeballs to death

Snuck out of the recent Coin Gallery Conference is some impressively stable but somewhat muffled weakman footage of Portal 2 – eight minutes of agreeably mirthsome material from famous persons Stephen Merchant and the newly-announced JK Simmons. It’s on the very mildly spoilery side, so look away now if you don’t want to know about how Chell ends up snogging Gordon Freeman in the second level.

Oh lord, what have I done!

There’s really not much revelation that isn’t already known about to be honest, but I know you kids sure can get spiky about not being warned. Mostly it’s just a few lines of sharply-written introductory dialogue and a couple of simple puzzle solutions.

The key spoiler is in fact confirming a long-standing rumour – that Aperture Science bossman Cave Johnson would be making some sort of appearance in the game. The latter half of this video demonstrates that his voice, at least, will very much be present, and provided by the redoubtable JK Simmons. A character actor par excellence, and a chap who shines even when he ends up in something dreadful. Fortunately, this does not look dreadful. In addition, his jovial sociopathy apparently takes a crucially different form to GlaDOS’. Not so much of the calculating manipulation, more “hell, why not? It’s only people.” For more alleged detail on Johnson’s role in the game, there’s a clutch of apparent mega-spoilers here.

Here’s the video:

I’m warming to the inclusion of Stephen Merchant as skittish AI Wheatley, whose perhaps over-familiar (in the UK) voice/persona I initially felt could be somewhat at odds with the Portalverse. Seeing it in context to another new addition, Johnson, makes the picture much more clear, however – this is very much about adding colour, change and variety to the game, rather than replicating the ice-cold machine humour of the first game. On top of what continue to be impressively lavish graphicsosity, I’m pretty damned sure we’re in for a remarkably rich game.

I’m still worried I won’t be able to do half the puzzles, though. I am very stupid.

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Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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