Ah, Portal 3. I wish I had some concrete news to report concerning a sequel. Alas, all I can do at the moment is dream – but maybe that’ll be fun too. For I’ve been thinking: what do I want in Portal 3? What might the storyline be like? What would be reasonable, and what would make a good sequel? Here are a few of my ideas.
Note: there are probably going to be major spoilers here. Kind of difficult to talk about where a story should go without referring to where it’s been.
The future is not the way of the future
Most ideas I’ve seen involve Portal 3 picking up just minutes after the second one ends – that is, with Chell in the outside world and the facility destroyed. The idea is, you can incorporate novel settings and situations, and finally get out of those test chambers.
It’s a fun idea in theory. Here’s my issue, though: It would be way too easy to, well, wind up in space, for example. Without the contained facility you’d either have to have some artificial constraint (like a range to the Portal gun, though we’ve already seen it take us to the moon) or the limits of the game “zone” would be way too obvious.
Plus, Chell was sleeping for how many years? Who’s to say the world even resembles anything like what we’ve seen? Technology would either be vastly advanced or there’s none at all. Might make for some interesting fiction, but not really a good Portal sequel.
In my opinion, there’s really only one direction you can go for Portal 3: Caroline. Either with her as the protagonist or an immediate superior, or maybe even a an earlier version of GLaDOS who feels a shred of empathy for the test subjects (we know she’s never been keen on the scientists). I somewhat like the idea of a Caroline who was in charge of the facility in human form for awhile before they were ready to “put her in the computer,” one who might have been in charge of experiments and concepts we’ve never seen in the Portal games to date.
“But J,” you might be saying, “That means we’ll be right back at Aperture, probably even parts of Aperture we’ve already seen!” Yes… or no. What if Aperture weren’t the only testing location? What if you can play through failed attempts at testing out in the open (space!)?
Or how about this: it’s unclear if Caroline was literally “put into” the computer at the cost of her own life, or if she was merely copied. What if she attempted to co-exist with GLaDOS for some time? What might that dynamic be like? Would she flee to a different facility? Would she attempt to battle GLaDOS? Or, conversely, could Caroline then be a completely different, cold and calculating character?
Regardless, I think we’ll have to, by necessity, step at least a little into the past to get more Aperture inventions. Since Chell in Portal 2 was in a facility that was actively decomposing, who knows what we haven’t seen yet? I know of one possibility: Mantis Men! Also: time travel, guys. There’s a possibility of time travel.
Okay, it might not be perfect, it might be riddled with holes, but there’s my idea. And yes, Valve, I’m willing to sell it to you, thanks for asking.
Now, how about you? What would you like to see in a new Portal game, either in storyline or game play? Let’s hear your wildest speculation!