There’s good reason Portal 2 remains the top-rated game on Steam, more than a decade after its initial release. The Valve puzzler has it all: a fantastic, memorable campaign packed with cleverly designed challenge rooms and a funny, exciting story. A full, separate co-op campaign for you and a friend to enjoy together. An expanded user creation tool set that enables players to make their own puzzle rooms. And now, thanks to a small team of dedicated fans, a complete eight-hour prequel campaign, fully voiced, and coming as a free game at the start of 2024.
Portal: Revolution is a free-to-play mod for what is unquestionably one of the best PC games ever. Simply requiring that you own Portal 2 on Steam – which we’d hope you already do, and is well worth buying if you don’t – this Valve-approved fan project from a small team known as Second Face Software takes place before the events of Portal 2 in the ruins of the dead and decaying Aperture Science facility.
The story brings in new characters, with your primary companion being a personality sphere named Stirling. Together, you’ll set out with the goal of restoring the Aperture station to its former glory. Built using a modified version of Portal 2 Community Edition’s engine (a custom, Valve-licensed branch of the CSGO Source engine), Portal: Revolution’s developers were able “to introduce many mechanics and improvements to create an experience that would be impossible in Portal 2.”
The team says the game’s puzzle difficulty “starts where Portal 2 stops,” but notes that you’ll be taught mechanics and portal tricks, and has “ensured through vigorous playtesting that every player can solve the puzzles.” It adds, “Although very few chambers require portals to be fired mid-air, no puzzles require advanced, tricky movement.” So don’t worry that you’ll have to be an expert speedrunner to see the story play out.
The team involved comprises just seven people: core developers Stefan Heinz, Rory Lambert, Dustin Oakley, and Tristan Snartt, composer Jared Poolaw, and voice actors Will Neal and Sarah Jacklin. Yet Portal: Revolutions offers 40 new puzzles over its fully voiced campaign, which the team says is now “99% complete.”
“I can’t express how exciting and relieving it is to release this trailer,” Heinz remarks. “The last few months have been difficult for us. We could no longer stick to our comfort zone, and it’s scary to finally share something with the world that you have poured your soul into for so long. Getting this trailer out feels like the first step to finishing this game and we’re excited for the actual release!”
Portal: Revolution releases Friday, January 5, 2024 on Steam. It will be free to play, although you’ll need to own a copy of Portal 2 to do so. Head to the Steam store page for more details and to add the game to your wishlist if you want to be reminded when it arrives.
In the mood for even more head-scratchers? We’ve picked out the best puzzle games to play in 2023. Or, if you prefer to do your testing alongside a friend or two, take a look through the best co-op games on PC.
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