Interviews// Portal 2: Valve's Chet Faliszek

Posted 11 Apr 2011 11:25 by
Games: Portal 2
SPOnG: One of those new elements is the interactive gel-based play that you?ve been working on with Tag Team, right?

Chet Faliszek: Yeah - much like the original Portal team, we saw Tag Team do their thing through a student project of theirs. This was during a local gaming school called DigiPad, but we saw them shortly after at GDC I believe. We were really excited about what they were doing - we didn?t know what we wanted to do with their tech at the time, but we really appreciated their innovative work.

We were going through a bunch of design experiments for Portal 2, and one of those was the gel-tec idea where blobs can alter the rules of physics in a certain way. We married it with Tag Team?s tech, and asked them to start working with us on Portal 2. It all worked really well.

The two gel-tec concepts we?ve shown already - and there?s more - are the propulsion and repulsion. One repels you and bounces you around, and the other makes you go a lot faster.

It?s fun to watch people wrap their heads around it - one of the first puzzles you get to see with the system is a blue paint that bounces you off when you try to jump on it. The first time people encounter that they try to use their Portal guns to solve it, and end up really overcomplicating the level until they realise how simple it is and they start wrapping their heads around that.

SPOnG: It must be fun to watch people play Portal during the testing phase.

Chet Faliszek: We have multiple playtests every week and we record them all. A lot of the times the co-op ones would be fun to listen to? everyone likes to work together for a little while before breaking apart for a few moments to try and kill each other! Then they get back to working on the puzzles.

SPOnG: GLaDOS is back with a vengeance - and she?s really quite popular with fans as well. Do you think there?s some robo-attraction in GLaDOS that fans really harbour for her?

Chet Faliszek: Well, we have had some messages to that effect? I don?t know about all of that! But we brought her back because we love her as a character, she has this great passive-aggressive evil demeanour about her, right?

But yeah - somebody asked me why we made her a dominatrix..? But she?s not! I thought ?what are you talking about!?? So some stuff on that I?m not too sure of, but as a character GLaDOS is great and a lot of fun.

SPOnG: How challenging is it to get the balance right between introducing new ideas and presenting them in such a way so that it doesn?t confuse the player?

Chet Faliszek: Yeah, that?s a really big part of what we look at when we go through testing. As we add all these new elements, and new locations we?ve got to make sure the game doesn?t become too difficult. One of the biggest goals we had was ?add complexity, without adding difficulty.?

SPOnG: I?m assuming we?ll see Wheatley again, after the introductory chapter?

Chet Faliszek: [Shrugs] We can?t give away spoilers!

SPOnG: You mentioned that you knew Portal was going to be a good game, but nobody predicted how popular it would become. Are you guys releasing Portal 2 now with a better idea of what you can expect in terms of popularity and reception?

Chet Faliszek: Partially, in popularity, it's easier to understand because it's broken out as its own product now. We can look at pre-sales and see where it ranks and how we're doing there as well, so it's easier to gauge in that sense.

But how big is it going to get? I don't know. We never know. I still have this paranoia at every event I go to - be it Left 4 Dead or Portal - that nobody will turn up to play our games. I think 'Why are we doing this? We're just being arrogant - who are we to think that people will wait in line for our games?' And yet they do - we've been right every time so far, maybe that counts for something.

SPOnG: It must mean a lot to you guys when you see those queues and all the time your expectations are broken like that?

Chet Faliszek: They totally are. I mean, I?m not kidding about that. The night before I think ?Oh my God, nobody?s going to show up, seriously? - and I love the games I work on but trying to explain that to somebody else is a challenge. So it?s always great to know. We were at PAX a couple of weeks ago and just seeing all the people there interacting and playing the game was just super exciting.

SPOnG: You?ve probably been asked about this all day, so I won?t be one to break the mould - where?s Half Life 2: Episode 3?

Chet Faliszek: *shrugs* I dunno! I dunno where it is! We never get asked that, actually. [Smiles] You?re the very first one. Ever.

SPOnG: Thanks a lot for your time!

Chet Faliszek: My pleasure! Thanks!

Portal 2 will be released on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on 22nd April.
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Games: Portal 2

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Cfan 18 Apr 2011 10:24
I'll tell you where HL2:Episode 3 is...

It's the prologue of HL3.
death_ronus 2 Jun 2011 12:56
i finnished portal 2
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