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Trivia / Portal 2

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  • Actor Allusion:
    • Nolan North voices some defective turrets and personality cores. One of them, a manly action-hero wannabe who calls himelf "Rick The Adventure Sphere", is a clear nod to Nathan Drake, perhaps his most well known voice role.
    • A Dummied Out voice clip has Cave Johnson talking about a test that might give you the ability to excrete spider silk from your fingers — something J. K. Simmons is quite familiar with.
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    • In the trailer for the Perpetual Testing Initiative, Cave Johnson starts his speech by talking about his father, who was a "professor of farming at the local farm college". JK Simmons plays Nathaniel Burke, a professor training insurance agents in the Farmers Insurance commercials.
  • Ascended Fanon: Red laser fields, originally from Portal: The Flash Version. The blue plasma walls are also similar to official Hard Light Bridges.
  • The Cast Showoff: Ellen McLain actually sings opera this time, in Italian, to lyrics she made up herself. Jonathan Coulton was also able to write "Want You Gone" with her in mind, allowing her to give a richer, fuller performance than in "Still Alive". There's also this song (officially titled "PotatOS' Lament"), in Latin this time, with McLain coming up with the lyrics again (according to what she calls her "bad high-school Latin").
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  • Cut Song: Ellen McLain and her husband John Patrick Lowrie wrote a song for GLaDOS to sing. They recorded it in their living room and offered it to Valve for use as an Easter Egg in the game, but it ended up not being utilized. In April 2015, the song was re-recorded in a studio and uploaded to the internet. YouTube user Harry101UK "GLaDOS-ified" it to Lowrie's approval and made a music video.
  • Defictionalization: The Space Core is going into spaaaaaAAAAAAAaaaace!
  • Development Gag: One of the achievements is called "Narbacular Drop". Narbacular Drop was an indie game that eventually became Portal.
  • Dummied Out:
    • A folder hidden with the game files notes at one point, Cave Johnson would have successfully uploaded his mind into a Companion Cube and would be begging for Chell and GLaDOS to unplug him so he can end his eternal torment of being stuck in a machine forever bored and lonely.
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    • Several of the Space Sphere's lines are unused in the final game, including a few of him regretting his desire to go into space when he finally gets there.
    • Rick the Adventure Sphere had several deleted lines, including some dialogue with the other cores.
    • The scene where Caroline was uploaded into GLaDOS. GLaDOS's dialogue makes it clear enough that it did happen, though; we just don't know for sure how it happened or how Caroline reacted to it.
    • A fourth Mobility Gel, Adhesion Gel. There's still enough code left over for a skilled programmer to fake it; had it made it into the game, it would have allowed the player to walk on walls or ceilings. It was removed because testers got disoriented and couldn't complete test chambers where they needed to use it.
    • With the Peer Review DLC, this gel was actually replaced with Reflection Gel, which causes any lasers that hit it to bounce off. However, it, too, didn't make it into the game, likely because making puzzles with redirection cubes was easier than making them with the gel.
    • Digging around in console commands has uncovered a semi-functional Rocket Turret; while it doesn't track the player, it shoots a rocket immediately after something enters its laser sight (think Claymores from the original Half-Life in turret form).
    • There was also the Pneumatic Diversity Vent, a vacuum and the exact opposite of the tubes that deliver cubes. It even had its own video made for it like the other test elements, however it was soon realized that it was useful for sucking in turrets but not much else.
  • DVD Commentary: Or, technically, Developer Commentary, is used along much the same lines as the first game.
  • Flip-Flop of God: Valve just can't seem to decide whether Caroline is really deleted, or if she's Chell's biological mother. This is caused mainly by lead writer Erick Wolpaw and GLaDOS' voice actress Ellen McLain having different ideas on which should be true, and both having some degree of creative control over the storyline. Whether or not Caroline is really deleted is still up in the air, but there is more evidence to imply that Caroline is not Chell's biological mother, as Caroline would've hit menopause long before Chell was born. Of course, that might not stop SCIENCE!
  • He Also Did: Most of the animation of Personality Cores was done by Karen Prell, a.k.a. Red from Fraggle Rock.
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends: Originally, there was meant to be an additional scene showing Caroline being forced into the mind uploading despite her objections, but the scene was later cut. Since a few of Ellen McLain's lines in the scene were left in the game files, numerous rumors began to circulate that either A) the scene was initially present in the plot but later removed; or B) since the scene played out like a rape, several cast and crew members objected to it (including Ellen McLain, who burst into tears, and J.K. Simmons, who refused to record lines for the scene, hence the absence of his lines in the game files), which ultimately forced it to be cut. Despite the obvious contradiction of J.K. Simmons getting offended at acting in a rape scene despite doing an actual rape scene previously in Oz, Erik Wolpaw has had to confirm that these rumors are false. No comments have been made on the actual reason for the cutting of the scene.
  • Preview Piggybacking: As part of the Potato ARG, Valve offered 13 indie games in a 'Potato Sack', in which players had to accumulate time on each of the games to get Portal 2 released early.
  • Production Nickname:
    • GLaDOS is known as PotatOS when in her potato form, as seen in the developer's commentary and the official soundtrack, "PotatOS Lament".
    • Many fans also call Wheatley in GLaDOS's body "WheatDOS," and the commentary sound file related to him is actually titled that.
    • Oracle Turret for the "different" turret you can save from the Redemption Line, since everything it says is foreshadowing, though this comes from the developers.
  • Prop Recycling:
    • Two clipboards from the first game are reused without any change in design. One of them is the "Hazard Identification Card" which shows the icons for the first game's test chamber banners. This means that the clipboard's icons for the High-Energy Pellet and cake remain in the second game even though the Nostalgia Levels' test chamber banners have replaced the corresponding icons. The other clipboard is the Test Subject #234 clipboard located near the area where turrets are checked for defects. Although the latter clipboard randomly changes textures per-play, even becoming the HEV mark V clipboard which was also recycled in the first game.
    • The Radios that play 'Still Alive' show up again in at least two spots. When you first re-enter the ruins of the testing facility, you'll find one and when you get to the level with the garbage thrown out by GLaDOS, one of the garbage items is a radio and you can take it to Rattmann's lair on the same map to get an achievement.
  • Quote Source:
  • Throw It In: Both J. K. Simmons and Stephen Merchant improvised many of their lines. Contrast Ellen McLain, who stuck very close to the script (she consistently describes herself as an "interpretive" artist, as opposed to a "creative" artist, even though she wrote the lyrics for the Turret Opera and PotatOS' Lament).
    • For anyone wondering why the Space Core is the only corrupted core to speak after being attached to Wheatley, it was thanks to an outburst by Stephen Merchant (the voice of Wheatley) after hearing Nolan North recording the lines for the Space Core. The developers thought it was hilarious and just had to find a place to put it in:
      Space Core: Gotta go to space! Yeah! Gotta go to space!
      Wheatley: NOBODY'S GOING TO SPACE, MATE!!!
  • What Could Have Been:
    • A very early version of the game, based on an internal prototype called F-STOP, was supposed to be a full prequel to Portal, taking place decades before the main game and focusing on Aperture's origins, with a brand-new game mechanic that Valve absolutely loved - and without a single portal in sight. The original idea being for each Portal game to showcase a different puzzle mechanic, with the only common thread between the games being Aperture Science itself. Testers, on the other hand, weren't so happy about the concept, insisting on having Chell, GLaDOS and the Portal Gun in the sequel. Obviously, Cave Johnson's mishaps in The '50s were incorporated into the abandoned test areas.
      • The mechanics of F-STOP would eventually be revealed in the documentary Exposure by LunchHouse Software. The game was properly titled Aperture Camera and involved taking pictures of objects, which would turn them into a photograph and remove them from the environment, where they could then be resized and moved around. If you know the game Superliminal, it bears some superficial similarities.
    • Before F-STOP, Kim Swift and several Valve employees attempted to develop a time-travel mechanic that would serve as the central mechanic of the sequel, wherein the player could record themselves performing an action, then work with a playback of themselves to solve the test chamber. While initially promising, Gabe Newell remarked that, in practice, the mechanic did not make for a fun game, as there was too much the player had to keep track of. A mod of Portal 2 that implemented the time-travel feature, titled "Thinking with Time Machine", was eventually released on Steam.
    • Valve released short Aperture Science videos showcasing the various new gimmicks, including Aerial Faith Plates, the Gels, the Thermal Discouragement Beams, and the Pneumatic Diversity Vents. The last is completely absent in the final game. Although the player does travel through vents at several points, they're cutscenes, not a gameplay element.
    • Originally there were meant to be more personality cores the player would interact with apart from Wheatley. The audio commentary explains they scrapped them because there were too many, and there wasn't enough time to give each one a decent amount of characterization (also, playtesters missed Wheatley too much). Some of the cores got recycled as the cores you use to corrupt Wheatley during the final battle - notably, the Space Core, the Adventure Core, and the Fact Core. The Final Hours of Portal 2 reveals that a cut plotline had GLaDOS growing increasingly jealous as the player collected personality cores, culminating in them entering a room to be greeted with the sight of a cold roast dinner, at which point GLaDOS would berate them for missing dinner because they were busy cheating on her with a personality core.
    • Some unused dialogue found in the Portal 2 files suggests that Cave Johnson didn't die before being uploaded into a computer much like his Memo suggests. In fact he would have been stored in a cube similar to the companion cube and would be plugged into a wall. In order to get through to the next chamber you would need to disconnect and kill this cube. In fact Cave begs for death saying "My life is torture, please kill me." You would also have to climb upon his dead/dying corpse to get to the next chamber.
    • If Stephen Merchant turned to be unavailable, Valve were in talks to have Richard Ayoade - best known as Moss from The IT Crowd and Dean Learner/Thorton Reed from Garth Marenghis Darkplace - play Wheatley instead.
    • The co-op mode was originally going to have another woman named Mel work alongside of Chell. She ended up being replaced by ATLAS and P-body after someone pointed out that play testers tended to die/screw each other over a lot and having robots in that situation would make it hilarious instead of horrific. Before that, she was the protagonist instead of Chell, but playtesters were disappointed GLaDOS didn't recognise the protagonist and could not reference Portal.
    • One of the gels was supposed to allow you to ignore gravity and walk up walls. It was cut because it made playtesters sick. It was one of the three "paints" in the indie game Tag: The Power of Paint, that inspired the gel mechanic. The other two, "Fast" and "Jump/Bounce", made their way in the game along with the new Conversion Gel.
      • A fan named Omnicoder rebuilt it from scratch, but never released his work. Another fan named Felix Griffin rebuilt it separately several years later.
    • One player found that the Peer Review DLC secretly replaced the unused fourth gel with a new "Reflection Gel", which would reflect any lasers directed on to them similarly to a Redirection Cube. It was most likely cut because the cubes are far more versatile and flexible than the gel when it comes to devising puzzle solutions.
    • Cut sound clips seem to indicate that the original plan was not to have a separate announcer narrate the tests before GLaDOS's revival, but recordings of GLaDOS with the exact same lines. Notably, these lines bear a stronger resemblance to her lines from early on in the first game (i.e. more cold and robotic) than the rest of her lines, suggesting a sort of audio continuity.
    • According to The Final Hours of Portal 2, there were several different ideas for the ending, including one where Chell would say one word, "yes", to end the game, and another involving a duet between Chell and GLaDOS.
    • One idea to explain why GLaDOS wasn't helping Chell solve the test chambers in Chapter 8 was that the bird would keep returning to peck out bits of her, removing her memories of how to solve them and eventually making her as dumb as Wheatley. Various production issues made it impossible to implement.
    • Some Dummied Out lines of dialogue suggests that Wheatley was the one who released the neurotoxin on "Bring your Daughter to Work Day", rather than GLaDOS.
      Wheatley: Over there is where they used to keep the old neurotoxin release button. BIG responsibility, the guy in charge of the neurotoxin release button. And guess who he WAS? He wasn't me. But I was his assistant, and I did a lot of his admin. You know, in the end, yes, they let me go. It's all politics, to be honest. It's a big popularity contest, it's all about who you know, and whose back you're willing to scratch, who doesn't touch — or, in my case, who did accidentally touch — the neurotoxin button. But, you know, not entirely my fault! You shoulda seen the SIZE of it, it was huge! And I should have gotten a raise for all the times I DIDN'T accidentally bump into it."
    • Originally, Chell was going to receive a second gun that was able to spray the gels, similar to the game they originate from, Tag: The Power of Paint. However, the developers found it too complex, which would have them teach the player how to use it. So instead, the gels are integrated within the chambers. The idea of having a Gel Gun resurfaced in a Valve-authorized Game Mod called Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative.
    • As detailed in The Final Hours of Portal 2, several ideas for a single-player DLC campaign were considered, including a mission where Rick the Adventure Sphere and one of the co-op bots encounter Cave Johnson's AI, or a segment of the game in space that featured the Space Sphere. Ultimately, these ideas were abandoned because ambitious single-player content would require intense art and animation assets as well as a bigger team of employees than had been assigned to develop the DLC.
      • Other ideas considered for the co-op DLC campaign were a stealth section—where the player would have to avoid security cameras—and cubes that were in a state of quantum entanglement, where painting one cube would affect its pair.