What happens when film takes the beloved characters and settings of Portal's platforming paradise and enthuses them with a flavorful, invigorating style of animation often found in a Pixar production? Thanks to professional artist and CG animator Alex Zemke, we may be set to find out.
Zemke - whose resume of animation work includes several Sony ventures like Uncharted 2 and 3, SOCOM 4, and The Smurfs movie - is in the midst of creating the animated Portal short, Companionship. He doesn't seem to be aligned with Valve, his former employers at Sony, or anyone else considered a power player in the entrainment biz, but the stills posted on his DeviantArt page have spurred the attention of more than a few fellow users.
Regarding Companionship's story, Zemke would only impart that the film tells the "tale of love, loss and cubes." The highly stylized look of Portal protagonist Chell - fighting-stanced, bear-your-teeth-expressioned, and sporting a physique not unlike those in Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles - seems to suggest that it won't skimp on action, either.
We can't fathom a guess as to when we'll be seeing the short - the project may very well have several portals to jump through before it reaches completion - only we're pretty sure that the eventual date won't be soon enough. Portal fans who followed our coverage (or literally stalked us in person) at last year's Comic-Con no doubt caught the short film Portal: No Escape, its rousing reception punctuating the Totally Rad Show panel. It will be interesting to see what distinctions we can draw between these two vastly different (though likely just as passionate) works of art once Companionship is ready for the limelight.
For a series that owes much of its clout to its fans' goodwill, the discussion of an independent labor of love couldn't be more timely. Valve's free "Perpetual Testing Initiative" DLC for Portal 2 was just recently dated for May 8, 2012, and looks to provide players with an even more enhanced level editing interface - sharable via the Steam Workshop. Perhaps Zemke's auspicious work will someday be playable with the click of a download button.
Ranters, does the unique aesthetic of the Portal animated film have you hooked? How do you envision the final cut to turn out?
Follow me on Twitter: @Brian_Sipple.