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Valve's Wolpaw, Swift Talk  Portal 's Story Success, Possible Sequels

Valve's Wolpaw, Swift Talk Portal's Story Success, Possible Sequels

March 25, 2008 | By Staff

March 25, 2008 | By Staff
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Talking as part of an in-depth new Gamasutra interview, Valve's Kim Swift and Erik Wolpaw have been discussing Portal's gameplay-hewing approach to story, also revealing they'd like to make more games in the Aperture Science world.

In particular, when discussing the way that the game's story is integrated compellingly but fairly seamlessly into the title, which won the Game Developers Choice award for Game Of The Year at GDC this year, lead writer Wolpaw explained:

"We had this theory that games tell two stories. There's the "story story" which is the cutscenes and the dialogue, and the "gameplay story" which is the story that's described by the actions you take in the game world.

The theory was that the closer you could bring those two stories together, the more satisfying the game would be.

I spent years and years reviewing games, and that's something that always bothered me in games, where the delta between the two stories was real high.

I promised myself someday that if I ever got the chance, I'd try to make a game where that delta was almost zero. It was a conscious decision that we wanted to try and keep that world."


To these thoughts, lead designer Swift added, explaining the development team's ethos on story that's too 'intrusive':

"It takes you out of the experience, really. You're doing one thing, then all of a sudden the story is telling you, "No, no. You actually did this other thing." "But no, I just did the... all right, fine. You're right, then."

I agree with Erik that the closer the gameplay interacts with the story, the more impact it has with players."


Later in the interview, Gamasutra quizzed Swift on whether there were likely to be further titles along the same lines as Portal, and the developer left the door open for a number of possibilities:

"We like the world of Aperture Science, and we'd like to revisit the world of Aperture Science in some form, whether it's GLaDOS or Chell or something else. But Aperture Science seems like a rich environment for this game to take place in."

The full Gamasutra feature interviewing the duo is now available for reading, with topics including the strengths of working at Valve, and even the possibility of Portal DS.


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