Portal 2 | Its writers reveal the game’s original, unused ending

portal 2 ending

Co-writer Erik Wolpaw has talked about a Portal 2 ending the world never got to see – one where Chell breaks her silence.


Portal and its sequel are among some of the best games ever made, offering the perfect fusion of ingenious puzzle design and mechanics, atmosphere, writing and environmental storytelling. Indeed, Portal 2, originally released in 2011, managed to do that rarest of things – follow up a sublime game with something equally as compelling.

It’s fascinating to learn, therefore, that Erik Wolpaw and Jay Pinkerton, who co-wrote Portal 2 with Chet Faliszek, originally had a somewhat different ending in mind for the sequel.

In the latest edition of Edge magazine, there’s a feature about the subject of silent protagonists, and particularly their use in first-person games. Half-Life and its sequel famously kept protagonist Gordon Freeman on mute during their narratives, and with the Portal games existing in the same universe, the decision was made to have its protagonist, test subject Chell, remain similarly silent.

Wolpaw points out that, certainly in the original Portal, Chell’s silence made sense, given she was fearfully stalking around a research facility where the ominipresent GLaDOS could monitor her every sound. By the time Portal 2 came around, however, Wolpaw and his collaborators were beginning to think about bending the rules a little bit, and have the game’s ending revolve around Chell uttering a single word.

“Originally, the game ended with a stalemate between Wheatley and GlaDOS,” Edge’s article reads, “which could only be solved by the human voice.”

The article continues that Chell would “walk up to a microphone” and simply say, “Yes”.

“It’s kind of a funny idea and I still like it,” Wolpaw told Edge. “But we had a hard time. That was a case where being in first-person was, as we were testing, actually kind of confusing. You’ve never heard Chell’s voice before. It’s a problem we might have been able to solve, but we gave up.”

Ultimately, Portal 2 ended very differently (we won’t spoil it here), and Chell remains resolutely silent.

It’s well worth reading Edge’s feature in full for more insights into the subtleties and challenges of writing silent protagonists. Issue 388 is on sale now.

Read more: Alan Wake 2 | Martian Manhunter actor David Harewood to star as Mr. Door

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More like this