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[8 bit rendition of Still Alive without lyrics]
The idea for Portal began with a game called "Narbacular Drop."
It was a freeware game released in 2005 and was created by a small studio named "Nuclear Monkey Software."
The game was about this princess who had to use portals to escape a dungeon.
When the game was first shown to the public, a developer at Valve took interest in the game.
Not long after that, the developers of Narbacular Drop were hired by Valve to develop a new game based on the idea of using portals.
For about 2 years, a small group of no more than 10 people worked on the game in late 2007.
The game bundle, "The Orange Box" was released including "Half-Life 2," "Team Fortress 2," and "Portal."
Some elements have been retained from Narbacular Drop, for example the colors blue and orange for the portals.
Of course, other features were not, such as the ability to open a new portal through an already existing one.
The short puzzle game became an instant success, and in 2011, the sequel Portal 2 was released.
At the end of the first Portal game, right after you defeated GLaDOS, a hoop falls from the sky and lands in front of you.
The developers thought this would become a meme and waited in anticipation for the internet to start talking about "Hoopy the Hoop," as they called it.
But, as we all know, this never happened.
Instead, "The Cake is a Lie" became the go-to meme for "Portal" and Hoopy the Hoop was forgotten completely.
Despite of this, or maybe because of it, Hoopy the Hoop can still be found in a few places in Portal 2.
During Chapter 6 in Portal 2, you can find a secret door in an office that leads to a dry dock.
This is where Aperture Science built and developed the ship, "Borealis," that just mysteriously disappeared one day.
You might be wondering why they would build a ship several kilometers underground.
Well, this ship, the Borealis, had some form of localized teleportation or long-range portal device that could potentially teleport it anywhere.
However, this wouldn't make much sense to you if you haven't played Half-Life 2: Episode 2. So, let's take a look.
In Chapter 5 in Portal 2, you can find a turret that gives you various clues as to what's going to happen later in the game.
At one point in Portal 2, you reach this place: a science fair project for "Bring-Your-Daughter-to-Work Day."
The interesting thing here is that the project with a giant potato is made by a young girl named "Chell,"
the same name as the protagonist we play as.
Could this mean that Chell is the daughter of an Aperture Science employee?
Because the project poster also states that she used a special ingredient from "dad's work"
with the Aperture Science logo on the bucket drawn above.
Early in development, Portal 2 was to be a prequel to the first game and would not feature any portals whatsoever.
Instead, the game would use a new mechanic called "F-Stop."
What this new feature was, no one knows, and Valve has never revealed it,
but when every single play tester reacted negatively towards the decision of having a Portal game without portals,
Valve realized their mistake, and we got the sequel we see today.
What we do know about this early version is that the game was supposed to take place in the early days of Aperture Science during the 1950s,
and instead of GLaDOS, the founder Cave Johnson was supposed to be the main antagonist of the game.
It's possible that Rattmann is still alive in Portal 2, as he can be heard rambling in certain locations.
Rattmann (?): *rambling*
There's a lot of unused content in both Portal games.
In the first Portal, there was an unused red portal and a texture file for a second portal gun.
In Portal 2, Chell and a reskin model named Mel was (*were) the original characters for the co-op mode.
Adhesion gel would have allowed players to walk on the walls and ceilings,
and reflection gel would have worked in the same way as the reflection cube.
Before the co-op mode was implemented, a competitive mode was planned instead called "Futbol."
How much time has passed between the events in Portal 1 and 2?
This is something people have argued over for a long time now, and we still don't have a clear answer,
so let's break down the facts we do have.
If we read the official comic "Portal 2: Lab Rat,"
we learned that after the events in Portal, Chell is put to suspended animation with no wake-up date.
She will basically be in there... forever...
...or until the power runs out, which just happens to be the case.
Wheatley: "The reserve power ran out, so of course the whole relaxation center stops waking up the bloody test subjects."
And, just like that, events in Portal 2 begin to unfold.
Here's the thing, though:
When we wake up in Portal 2, the announcer says that we've been suspended for:
Announcer: "99999... 99- This-"
He doesn't indicate if he means hours, days, or maybe years,
but as we were previously suspended for 50 days...
Announcer: "You have been in suspension for 50 days."
...let's assume that he's talking about days this time around as well.
Now, there's several ways we could interpret this.
For example, it might be complete bullshit for a number of reasons.
For one, it could be Valve's way of saying, "It's been a very long ass fucking time since all this shit went down."
Or it could be an error with the software; maybe 99 or 999 was the limit and it just kept on repeating itself after that.
But that's a lot of "maybe"s, so let's assume that it isn't bullshit.
Take a listen to it again:
Announcer: "99999... 99- This-"
First, there's 5 nines, then there's a pause, followed by two more nines, so 7 in total.
That's either 273 years or 27,379 years.
But, the most significant evidence comes from the official e-book "The Final Hours of Portal 2."
In it, one of the developers says,
"One way to further differentiate Portal and Half-Life was to set the game far into the future - at least 50,000 years."
So, there you have it: 50,000 years.
However, this number could, of course, have changed during development,
but even so, it seems unlikely that they would make the change too drastic from the original idea.
I mean, there's a huge difference between,say, a decade or a century compared to 50,000 years.
And, given how the facility is so heavily overgrown in Portal 2, I think a fair estimate would be between 20,000-50,000 years,
because that would include both the highest number given to us by the announcer and the number from the e-book.
So, all in all, I don't think we will ever get a specific answer to this question,
but we can conclude that a shitload of time has passed.
Okay. As most people should know by now, the Portal series exists within the same universe as the Half-Life series.
It all started when Valve began development on the first Portal game.
Because of their limited capabilities of the small team at the time, they decided to use certain assets from Half-Life 2.
However, this created a small problem as there would now be weird correlations
between the two otherwise-completely separate games.
But the solution was, of course, simple:
connect the two franchises by actually putting them in the same universe.
So, that's exactly what they did, and with time, especially after the release of Portal 2,
the franchise developed its own, very intricate storyline.
The story of Portal begins in the early 1940s when a man by the name of Cave Johnson founded the company "Aperture Fixtures."
Back then, the company manufactured and sold...
...shower curtains. Yeah...
After the company saw major financial success, Cave Johnson decided to buy a salt mine
to begin construction on the various research and testing facilities we go through in the games.
For several decades to come, "Aperture Science" developed several new technologies,
including various forms of gel, the storage and companion cubes, and, of course,
the famous portal gun.
However, when Johnson tried to create a new substance using moon rocks called conversion gel,
he accidentally contracted a fatal illness and his mental health quickly worsened.
After countless failed attempts to cure his affliction, Johnson became desperate.
He ordered his engineers to start research on artificial intelligence and brain mapping,
in hopes that his brain could be downloaded into a computer.
But, fearing that he would die before the technology was ready,
he left instructions for his personal assistant, Caroline, to take his place.
In the end, Caroline did indeed download her brain into the computer and became...
But, of course, things didn't exactly go as planned.
The moment GLaDOS was activated, she released a neurotoxin that killed all personnel except one. (That we know of, at least.)
His name was Doug Rattmann.
At some point after his escape, he came up with the idea of rearranging the order of the test subjects
and moved Chell to the top of the list, in hopes that she would be able to defeat GLaDOS.
This is why and when the first Portal game begins.
Rattmann is also the one who left you all those hidden messages throughout the game.
Coincidentally, the events of Half-Life took place around this time as well,
so because of the Black Mesa incident and the impending combined invasion,
Aperture laboratories soon faded into obscurity.
Anyway, after Chell defeats GLaDOS at the end of the game and finally reaches the outside world, Rattmann did as well.
But when he saw that Chell was being dragged back into the facility,
he felt guilty and went back to rescue her.
Once back inside, Chell had yet again been put in suspended animation inside a relaxation chamber, just like all the other test subjects,
but now there was a problem:
the life-support system for the entire complex was failing.
Due to time running out, as well as being shot in the leg by a turret,
Rattmann was only able to save Chell by connecting her chamber to the reserve power grid.
All the other 10,000 or so test subjects likely perished soon after.
As seen in the beginning of Portal 2, Chell did actually wake up again after only 50 days,
most likely because the main power was still active,
but once she went back to sleep, the reserve power kicked in and then...
GLaDOS had been deactivated,
Chell would remain in suspended animation,
and it's unknown what happened to Rattmann.
After a time period of several millennia,
all the reserve power had ran out.
When Chell finally awakens from her deep sleep,
Portal 2 begins.