Portal writer Erik Wolpaw would "love" to work on Portal 3, but thinks Valve is "too busy"

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,498   +1,045
Staff member
Why it matters: Three seems to be an unlucky number for Valve. Everybody would all love to see Half-Life 3 or at least Portal 3. We've heard scant rumors about the former, but nothing concrete. As for the latter, one of its writers says it's never coming despite his willingness to work on it.

Erik Wolpaw was the co-writer on the Portal series and various other Valve games, including Half-Life, Psychonauts, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In a recent interview with Kiwi Talkz, the now independent contractor said he would love to work on Portal 3 before he gets too old but notes that it's not likely to happen (below).

"I am not getting any younger," said the 55-year-old gaming veteran. "We are reaching the point where it's crazy to think we [the original developers] are literally going to be too old to work on Portal 3, so we should just do it."

The Portal franchise celebrates its 15th anniversary on October 10, 2022. Excluding the few spinoff games, we haven't seen a new game since Portal 2 in 2011. Although he would love to write a new sequel, Wolpaw points out that there is a big difference between wanting to make another game and actually doing it. The main hurdle seems to be that Valve is too busy doing other things.

"As much as it seems like Valve often is just a bunch of people sitting around sipping gin and tonic, everyone's working," the writer quipped. "I'd work on another Portal in a second … the problem is … there's a lot of opportunity cost to taking 75 people and trying to get a game made."

Wolpaw estimates that Valve has about 300 employees working in various divisions and that they all have something to do that isn't Portal 3. Even though it launched only a year after Portal 2, CS: GO is still making Valve money. The developers also just finished work on the Portal-universe spinoff Aperture Desk Job. Before that, they were hard at work making Half-Life: Alyx, which Wolpaw helped write.

Despite his belief that Portal 3 will never get the green light, Wolpaw holds out a sliver of hope.

"I could advocate for it, but it's not gonna help," Wolpaw said before pleading, "[Is Portal 3] going to make Counter-Strike GO money? Probably not, but … maybe not every game needs to make Counter-Strike: GO money. Gabe, if you're listening…"

Permalink to story.

 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,210   +4,248
Valve being too busy shouldn't actually stop you: Countless of devs of famous games still go on indie development of basically the same acclaimed game with a legally distinct setting and name.

So you can forget Portal 3 and just make "Vortex" or "Wormhole" or "Dark Matter Gates" or idk endless other sci-fi sounding games and premises for a game about some subject individual being guided by chatty yet sarcastic speaking robots to use a gun that produces a hole that transports you in impossible ways to solve puzzles.

We have had indie megaman, indie Castlevaina, etc. Go extremely well with this formula.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 412   +333
Valve being too busy shouldn't actually stop you: Countless of devs of famous games still go on indie development of basically the same acclaimed game with a legally distinct setting and name.

So you can forget Portal 3 and just make "Vortex" or "Wormhole" or "Dark Matter Gates" or idk endless other sci-fi sounding games and premises for a game about some subject individual being guided by chatty yet sarcastic speaking robots to use a gun that produces a hole that transports you in impossible ways to solve puzzles.

We have had indie megaman, indie Castlevaina, etc. Go extremely well with this formula.


vALVE DOESN'T HAVE MANAGEMENT, SO IF YOU DON'T ENTICE DEVS WITH SOMETHING SEXY AND NEW, IT WONT GET DONE.

They just recently got distracted with Steam Deck, and as a result of that, they discontinued all VR development:


I mean, suddenly, there is no mention of new full VR games, nor new Index hardware (been 3 years since launch, and all their PC headset competition has a much swifter update Interval)

Given how easily distracted Valve is, unless Deck sells in the tens of millions, I expect the kids to get bored within 3 years - this is the same wall Portal 3 faces
 
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MaitieS

Posts: 151   +170
vALVE DOESN'T HAVE MANAGEMENT, SO IF YOU DON'T ENTICE DEVS WITH SOMETHING SEXY AND NEW, IT WONT GET DONE.

They just recently got distracted with Steam Deck, and as a result of that, they discontinued all VR development:


I mean, suddenly, there is no mention of new full VR games, nor new Index hardware (been 3 years since launch, and all their PC headset competition has a much swifter update Interval)

Given how easily distracted Valve is, unless Deck sells in the tens of millions, I expect the kids to get bored within 3 years - this is the same wall Portal 3 faces
I mean whoever plays/played Valve games pretty much knows this lol it's only dumb people who are in denial or something are acting like it's not true. I remember back when they were working on Dota 2 how we had an update each Friday and after release it's like 2 updates per year and this is pretty much in CS:GO as well I mean does CS:GO even get a new content outside of cosmetics? nope
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,210   +4,248
vALVE DOESN'T HAVE MANAGEMENT, SO IF YOU DON'T ENTICE DEVS WITH SOMETHING SEXY AND NEW, IT WONT GET DONE.
I mean...Yes? All of this is accurate and something I knew about Valve? That's why I kind of suggested that if a dev (Or group of devs) really want to work on Portal 3 they could just do it independently and create a "spiritual successor" to it instead of trying to wrestle Valve into actually doing a game, something it probably can't happen anymore outside of VR novelties and such.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 412   +333
I mean...Yes? All of this is accurate and something I knew about Valve? That's why I kind of suggested that if a dev (Or group of devs) really want to work on Portal 3 they could just do it independently and create a "spiritual successor" to it instead of trying to wrestle Valve into actually doing a game, something it probably can't happen anymore outside of VR novelties and such.
Okay,

Hope you have a dozen years to waste making a new Black Mesa

Successful Game development requires a certain number of different team members- when its a valve property, you cant really outsource!
 

mbk34

Posts: 308   +211
Would you need the 75 other devs/artists/testers if you used something like Unreal Engine 5? I'll admit I never played the original Portal but I loved Portal 2. The main thing is adding enough new things to the game to make it a worthwhile purchase rather than just feel like an expansion of an earlier game. Perhaps AI controlled "wardens" that can chase you through the portals? Perhaps set the game on a ring of space stations circling the earth where you progress from one station to another.

Is 55 really too old? I'm older than that and love designing and coding new games. I ride around on an electric unicycle and just this week signed up to learn paragliding in the mountains. I think you're as old as you feel though I will admit to sometimes needing a hot bath at the end of the day.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,210   +4,248
Okay,

Hope you have a dozen years to waste making a new Black Mesa

Successful Game development requires a certain number of different team members- when its a valve property, you cant really outsource!
I don't, I just know that it has been done, successfully and some might argue very successfully in the past. I would also argue that something like the Megaman or the Castlevania series were much more established and well liked than anything Valve has ever done and those creators managed just fine without access to any of those IPs.

Sorry but Valve is not immune from criticism and I don't think their setting and world building is SOOO undeniably good that it cannot be replicated. In fact I don't think that's the case for well, any game ever: a good setting helps, recognizability and established lore helps but at the end of the day, it's the gameplay that makes it a game and there's nothing that cannot be repeated or improved upon when it comes to the Portal series.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 412   +333
I don't, I just know that it has been done, successfully and some might argue very successfully in the pas

absolutely , but doing so requires employees pissed enough that they quit valve

most developers would prefer to stay at valve,rather than goon their own


You don't have enough time top develop a new game if you don't first leave! You'll never see that complete of an exodus that you have enough people to develop a real portal sequel

if you like that Flat Management hierarchy valve is the only option!...but it means you're stuck getting enough people interested in your baby by running for class president on as daily basis (with all lthe dirty cheap shots we all remember!)

 
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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,210   +4,248
absolutely , but doing so requires employees pissed enough that they quit valve

most developers would prefer to stay at valve,rather than goon their own


You don't have enough time top develop a new game if you dont first leave! Youll never see that complete of an exodus thast you have ernough people to develop a real portal sequel
I guess that depends in what type of an employer Valve is in terms of compensation, workload, etc. Vs the rest of the gaming industry so answer is that you're right and Valve devs probably wouldn't be involved in any kind of successor for Portal officially sanctioned or not.