Portal 2 director dissects cut content

Portal 2’s director Josh Weier has spoken more about the game’s cut content and given background information on why features were cut or how they came to be.

The team that worked on Valve’s first-person puzzle adventure masterpiece have openly talked about cut content in the past. At the Games Developer Conference in 2012, writers Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek talked about features that were cut such as Garfield references, multiple endings, and Wheatley’s early demise. Later that year at PAX Prime, Wolpaw also revealed Valve had planned to have protagonist Chell marry a turret during the game.

10 years on, speaking to Did You Know Gaming, Josh Weier has weighed in with his own insight on why these bits were cut and where they stemmed from during development.

In the co-op campaign, GLaDOS would attempt to rewrite a Garfield spoof called Dorfeldt. According to Weier, “[the writers] hated Garfield”, and so they gladly took any opportunities to poke fun at the comic strip. Although Weier was the game’s director and project lead, he was more involved in development of the game’s solo campaign. He recalled that Dorfeldt would have appeared early in the co-op but never saw a “concrete” version of it.

The team briefly considered giving Doug Rattman (aka the Ratman), the Aperture employee whose murals are seen in Portal, an appearance in Portal 2. They ultimately decided against it, with Weier citing art difficulties the team would face. “There’s always this thing in games where you can make it look really good and timeless until you show a person,” Weier told DYKG, “and then you instantly date your game.” This is why Chell is never shown close-up in the game, and Weier stated the team felt it would have taken too much time to make the Ratman look good and recognisable.

Weier said AI would have posed another problem, as members of the team who had worked on Half-Life 2 felt it would be difficult to make the Ratman’s AI interact smoothly with the player and any portals they might shoot.

Weier also explained the origin of Animal Turret King’s design. Artist Richard Lord created the game’s infographics on the turrets, such as the classic “65 percent more bullet per bullet” video. About halfway through the video, a line of turrets is shown each with a different skin. “At one point,” recalled Weier, “I think [Lord] took the leopard print one and put a little crown on it. I think he was amusing himself, but everyone thought that was funny, so he put it in that video”.