The History of Portal | (2007-2021) Documentary

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Today, countless of the industry’s most seminal video games were produced by dozens, often hundreds of developers. These teams are typically replete with animators, artists, designers, programmers, and other integral members, all working in tandem to guarantee a product reaches the market as planned. 60 developers were responsible for Batman: Arkham Asylum. Roughly 450 Ubisoft personnel took part in Assassin’s Creed II’s production. And a whopping 2,000 people contributed to Red Dead Redemption 2. Sometimes, though, making a splash in the gaming industry doesn’t necessitate an extensive amount of manpower, considering a group of only eight made Portal.

A Cinderella story of sorts, Portal is the brainchild of seven students who happened to produce a demo quirky and ambitious enough to pique Valve’s interest. The central conceit behind the series involves navigating obstacles with the skillful positioning of portals. Yet, so much more depth pervades every facet of these games, from the intricate physics that power the myriad puzzles to the compelling antagonist whose antics quickly became iconic. As the story goes, such incredible feats of game design may not have come to fruition had the original game’s small development team been given access to an abundance of resources.

Less is more seems to be the mantra that pervades Portal and its ensuing success throughout, which also reveals itself in the sterile but eye-catching art design, its minimal use of animated characters, and the carefully scripted narrative that runs throughout.
This is the history of Portal.

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