Portal 2 is a 2011 puzzle-platform video game developed by Valve for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The digital PC version is distributed online by Valve’s Steam service, while all retail editions were distributed by Electronic Arts. A port for the Nintendo Switch was included as part of Portal: Companion Collection.
Like the original Portal (2007), players solve puzzles by placing portals and teleporting between them. Portal 2 adds features including tractor beams, lasers, light bridges, and paint-like gels that alter player movement or allow portals to be placed on any surface. In the single-player campaign, players control Chell, who navigates the dilapidated Aperture Science Enrichment Center during its reconstruction by the supercomputer GLaDOS (Ellen McLain); new characters include robot Wheatley (Stephen Merchant) and Aperture founder Cave Johnson (J. K. Simmons). In the new cooperative mode, players solve puzzles together as robots Atlas and P-Body (both voiced by Dee Bradley Baker). Jonathan Coulton and the National produced songs for the game.
Valve announced Portal 2 in March 2010, and promoted it with alternate reality games including the Potato Sack, a collaboration with several independent game developers. After release, Valve released downloadable content and a simplified map editor to allow players to create and share levels.
Portal 2 received critical acclaim for its gameplay, balanced learning curve, pacing, dark humor, writing, and acting. Like its predecessor, it has been described as one of the greatest video games ever made by numerous publications and critics.
After the success of Portal, Valve decided to make Portal 2 a standalone product, partly because of pressure from other developers within Valve who wanted to work on a Portal product.Work began almost immediately after the release of Portal.Valve committed more resources to Portal 2’s development than they had for the first game;Portal had a team of seven or eight people, but Portal 2 had a team of 30 or 40.The initial team of four was expanded as subgroups formed to devise game mechanics and to plot the story. Participants in internal review processes were inspired by what they saw to join the project. According to Erik Wolpaw, some Portal 2 developers worked on the Left 4 Dead games to help them meet milestones, but returned to Portal 2, “with extra people in tow.”Kim Swift, Portal’s designer, left Valve for Airtight Games halfway through Portal 2’s development.
Project manager Erik Johnson said Valve’s goal for Portal 2 was to find a way to “re-surprise” players, which he considered a “pretty terrifying” prospect.In March 2011, one month before the game’s release, Valve president Gabe Newell called Portal 2 “the best game we’ve ever done”.After Portal 2’s release, Geoff Keighley wrote that according to Newell, “Portal 2 will probably be Valve’s last game with an isolated single-player experience”.Keighley later stated that the use of the word “probably” suggests that “this could change.”Newell said that Valve is not “giving up on single-player”, but intends to include more social features on top of the single player experience, akin to the cooperative mode in Portal 2.