Valve will be bringing an in-game map editor to Portal 2 sometime next year which will allow for players to create their own test chambers. Players can create single-player or co-op levels which can then be shared to the community. Other players can then play and vote on these maps.

Aside from “early next year,” Valve hasn’t yet given a specific release date for the Portal 2 level editor. The first DLC pack for Portal 2 was supposed to release during the summer but was delayed to the point where it released in late September, and considering how long it’s taken Valve to give any information on Half Life 2: Episode 3, “early next year” is probably going to end up meaning “sometime in April.”

The Portal 2 level editor was in beta earlier this year, so on the plus side Valve probably has plenty of information on what kinks need to be worked out before the update is released, hopefully nullifying the effects of ‘Valve Time”.

Valve recently released Peer Review, the first DLC pack for Portal 2. The DLC contained nine new test chambers for co-operative play and was free on all platforms. Valve has not announced if the map editor will be free, but looking at their past history with downloadable content, it is likely it will be a free update to all. Unfortunately, there are a few roadblocks in the way of free DLC; many developers in the past have complained about Microsoft’s unwillingness to offer free DLC on their platform.

While there is free content in the 360 marketplace, Microsoft puts a limit on how much of it developer can release for a game. CD Projekt mentioned this when discussing updates for The Witcher 2, though this has been a long known issue with the 360 marketplace. What this essentially means is that if developers are forced to charge for something on the 360, then they must also do so on the PS3 so as to avoid “cheating” Microsoft. Hopefully Valve is able to avoid this issue and all gamers will be able to receive the update free of charge.

We’re psyched about the potential of the editor and are ecstatic about how Valve is supporting the community with this title – Read our Portal 2 review to see why it’s a game of the year candidate.

Portal 2 is available now for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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