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Thursday, June 17, 2010
Portal 2 Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Joystiq has published a new preview of Valve Software's Portal 2. The preview includes commentary from Valve's Erik Johnson about the upcoming first person action puzzler. Portal 2 was recently rescheduled for a 2011 release date.

Particularly interesting are the "gels": the flubber-esque "Repulsion Gel" and the boost strip-esque "Propulsion Gel." Johnson says, "In Portal 1, surfaces in the world have two states: You can either place a portal on them or not. In Portal 2, we're adding these different types of gels and those get placed on the surface." Imagine a puzzle where you use a portal to redirect a spigot of Repulsion Gel to coat a surface. Then, use another portal to fall out of a nearby wall, bouncing off the gel, reaching high areas. Or redirect a spigot of Propulsion Gel to coat a surface, run on it and make a loop to really boost your momentum before firing a shot somewhere else and redirecting that momentum over, say, a deadly chasm.

There's also a traction beam, an energy bridge and, one can only imagine, plenty more. Any one of these provides ample puzzle fodder; the combination of several of these creates what could only be described as a puzzle-splosion, as evidenced by a short montage at the end of the demo. But that doesn't mean "more difficult," Johnson insists. "The important thing for us is to make sure we're not building a game that's more difficult or requires some skills, like in an action game." He also says that since the game is "a lot bigger" it offers the designers more opportunity to introduce gameplay mechanics, master them, and then combine them.

That challenge of trying to keep the single-player game from being "more difficult" didn't apply to the co-op component. "Those levels are quite complicated, pretty challenging," Johnson says. While the first Portal was a strictly single-player affair, Valve learned that many players played it as though it were co-op. "A parent would watch their kids play or two people would sit on a couch and play together. "
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