Valve’s Erik Wolpaw is eager to create a new Portal game, but he explains why pitching it isn’t as simple as you would think.
It’s been over 10 years since Portal 2 and fans are still hankering for a third game in Valve’s classic puzzle series. They’re not the only ones either, as one of the series’ writers has also expressed his desire to work on a third entry.
Erik Wolpaw, who was a writer on both mainline Portal games, says in a recent interview that, ‘We’ve got to start Portal 3. That’s my message to… to whoever. Let’s just do it. Let’s just make it happen.
‘I am also not getting any younger,’ he adds, saying that he’s reaching the point where he’ll get too old to work on the franchise.
He admits, however, that simply asking Valve to approve a new sequel isn’t enough. While he is currently employed at Valve and can advocate for it, he explains that everybody there is already working on something else.
So, he’d have to convince enough people to drop what they’re doing and come work on Portal 3 instead.
Speaking on the KIWI TALKZ podcast, he said: ‘I can’t unfortunately do it by myself. … There’s a lot of opportunity cost to taking 75 people and trying to get a game made.’
He addresses a common misconception that, because Valve doesn’t release new games very often, that it’s not doing anything. ‘As much as it seems like Valve often… they’re just a bunch of people sitting around sipping gin and tonics by a pool, everybody’s working. … Everybody is accounted for, I guess is what I’m saying. People are all doing something.’
Wolpaw also thinks that a Portal 3 would be profitable but suggests that it wouldn’t make enough money to convince Valve to greenlight it. ‘The problem is, you would make money, but what kind of money will you make? Are you going to make Counter-Strike: Global Offensive money? Probably not.
‘But having said that, maybe every game doesn’t need to make Counter-Strike: Global Offensive money.’ That last sentence he cheekily aims at Gabe Newell, Valve’s president.
You can hear Wolpaw’s comments at the 8:25 mark and 1:02:09 mark in the video below.
Valve certainly hasn’t forgotten about Portal, with a compilation of the two games coming to Nintendo Switch this year. It’s also released a handful of spin-offs in the last 10 years, with the most recent being a tech demo for the Steam Deck called Aperture Desk Job.
Aside from the Portal games, Wolpaw has written for Psychonauts, Half-Life 2, and Left 4 Dead. He briefly left Valve to contribute to Psychonauts 2, although he was uncredited for his work.
He came back to Valve in 2019 and has since written for the aforementioned Aperture Desk Job and Half-Life: Alyx.
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