While nobody is going to discredit developer Valve for the amount of innovation they put into Portal 2, some might have been wondering what features the company had planned to include in the game, but eventually scrapped for various reasons.
One of those ideas, as revealed by Erik Wolpaw, lead writer on Portal 2, was a gel that allowed the player to walk on walls. Unfortunately, after playing around with the gel, Wolpaw and the team at Valve found that it wasn’t adding to the complexity of the puzzles but was instead delivering an unwanted side effect: nausea.
While the inclusion of a wall-walking gel might have added another layer of puzzling to an already mind-bending game, it’s comforting to hear that Valve is always conscious of their consumer — not wanting some to be turned off by the experience. There are of course games that employ a similarly disorienting tactic like walking on walls, but those games don’t have the added complexity of solving an already intricate puzzle.
Wolpaw also revealed that frame rate and movement tweaks were built into Portal 2 that allowed players who might become nauseous from the general mechanics of the game to help alleviate that issue. It’s these types of performance tweaks — ones that help increase the appeal of Valve’s games — that make the delays the company forces us to endure worth it.
Here’s Wolpaw’s response in its entirety:
What other ideas came up for Portal 2 that were eventually cut?
At one point we had a new Gel that allowed players to walk up the side of walls. While this added a new twist to the game, the effect was so disorientating that it made people nauseas.
While working on a first-person game you always have to be aware of that issue so we removed that Gel. We also made changes to frame rate and movement that will help anyone play Portal 2 even if they do experience a feeling of nauseas while playing other first-person games.
Though this gel didn’t make into Portal 2 that doesn’t mean that Valve has completely abandoned it. If the idea of a wall-walking gel came up late in the development cycle then it obviously didn’t get the amount of time nor consideration that something like the new co-op element did.
With a clear implementation in mind and enough thought to ensure gamers don’t become nauseous, the gel could become as welcome an addition to the game as those introduced for Portal 2. Now with a clear emphasis on delivering experiences that are rooted in the single and multiplayer genres, perhaps Valve can once again blow gamers’ minds.
Do you think Portal 2 would have been made overly complicated with the inclusion of a wall-walking gel? What types of gels would you like to see in a future Portal title?
Portal 2 is available now for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Source: EA UK