Yesterday during a writer's roundtable at the Game Developers Conference Online, Valve's Erik Wolpaw, Marc Laidlaw, and Ted Kosmatka opened up on some of the processes - and problems - they had writing Portal 2.
First up, problems! Wolpaw says that, originally, the idea was to have the player and GLaDOS team up in a "buddy cop" situation, ala Lethal Weapon.
"We had envisioned it as this buddy cop thing, where you'd be together and you'd be bickering and it would be awesome. It honest to God did not occur to us that the buddy cop thing doesn't work if one of you is quiet. It's funny now, everybody's laughing, but it was a true moment of incredible panic for us when we realized we'd painted ourselves into a corner."
How'd they get around this? They turned lemons into Cave Johnson.
"And that's when we decided we need to give her some external thing to deal with. She has a relationship with Cave, realizes she was another person, and then there's the bird and other stuff. We run into that a lot with the silent protagonist, even at this point."
The other interesting topic revolved around a bananas theory some crackpot Portal 2 fans have that, based on a single line of unused Cave Johnson dialogue, there was intended to be some kind of scene where the Aperture boss rapes his former assistant. Um. Yeah.
"There's some piece of dialogue in there where Carolyn is saying 'No, no, no, I don't want this. I don't want this", says Wolpaw. "And there's some kind of story on the Internet that apparently people think has been verified that there was a scene where Cave Johnson was raping Carolyn, and that J.K. Simmons wouldn't read the dialogue, so that's why we don't have it [in the game]."
"Apparently these are people who never saw [prison drama] Oz. J.K. Simmons will do anything if you pay him. But that is absolutely not true. It's like they played the rest of the game and thought we wrote a rape scene in there and had that in there for a while and thought, 'Well maybe we'll ship that.' It's insane."
Writing Valve's silent protagonists [GameSpot]