Disclaimer: This article originally appeared over the weekend on our PAX East 2011 coverage hub. Travel there to read more previews, interviews and features from the expo.
Ladies and Gents, the belle of the ball at this year’s PAX East was definitely Portal 2. In the center of the marketplace, a secretive room had been built for the sole purpose of showing the public what’s new in the land of Aperture Science. We saw it and it was good.
After a brief wait in line, the boys and I followed the likes of Morgan Webb and that Blake knucklehead from G4TV into the makeshift movie theater central to Valve’s presence. We were soon joined by some die hard fans who had waited in lines for hours for a glimpse at two exclusive clips of gameplay. It was an incredibly dramatic setting for such a high value property.
The first clip was not exclusively new to PAX, although it was new to me. It showed off a new character named Wheatley (voiced by the hilarious Stephen Merchant), who instructs Chell through the opening of the game. You deal with the normal look up, look down commands that many games include… however, they are presented in a uniquely humorous way. In case you’ve never heard of Stephen Merchant, he was Ricky Gervais’ other brain for the series The Office and Extras. He’s a brilliant comedian and a welcome addition to thePortal universe.
After Chell tackles setting up her controls she suddenly falls asleep… for a ridiculous number for days. I didn’t catch the exact count but it had a lot of 9s in it. When Chell wakes up, the hotel room has fallen into disarray and she is suddenly traversing a city of ruins. The room she’s in becomes just a frame as Wheatley warns her to be careful. The surroundings look like a brief tour of Earth from the movie Wall-E. With this reveal, the first clip ends and clip 2 begins.
According to Valve, this second clip was exclusive to PAX East. It reveals a new character, Cave Johnson, the CEO of Aperture Science. Voiced by JK Simmons of Spider-man and Juno Fame, Cave Johnson narrates as Chell attempts to a solve a new puzzle. New to start portal gun gameplay is a blue liquid. This liquid acts as a trampoline for you and any of the objects you are using. It adds a whole new dimension to gameplay and shows that Portal 2 isn’t just meant to cash in success, it is designed to be innovative. Also revealed in this brief clip is an orange liquid that looks like the blue goo, but speeds the player up instead of acting like a trampoline.
Overall, I enjoyed the brief glimpse of Portal 2 a lot. The audience was laughing their ass off as Merchant and Simmons cracked wise while showing off the new puzzle elements at play. If this footage is a fair representation of the entire game, we’re in for a wonderful treat!