ATLAS and P-body from Portal 2.

Image: Valve

Erik Wolpaw, co-writer of the Portal series, would love to work on a third game. There are just a few problems: He’s one developer out of hundreds of staff and he’s not sure that Valve would go for another Portal game’s profit margins.

Even so, Wolpaw stated in an interview: “I am not getting any younger. We are reaching the point where it’s crazy to think [that the original development team is] literally going to be too old to work on Portal 3, so we should just do it.” Portal 2 was released in 2011, and there have been no follow-up games since.

In his interview with Kiwi Talkz, Wolpaw said that he was still enthusiastic about the series, though the logistics are more complicated than they might appear from the player side:

I’d work on another Portal in a second. But I can’t do it unfortunately…I could advocate for it, but it’s not gonna help…the problem is with 300 employees…and I don’t know exactly the breakdown [between] the production side versus the Steam business side versus legal… There’s a lot of opportunity cost to taking 75 people and trying to get a game made. As much as it seems like Valve often is just a bunch of people sitting around sipping gin and tonic, everyone’s working.

Portal and Portal 2 are puzzle platformer games known for their darkly humorous dialogue. Wolpaw was a writer on both of these games while he worked at Valve. He also wrote for other games, including the Half-Life series, the Psychonauts games, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. He is currently a contractor who is unattached to any particular studio, though he briefly worked for Valve on Half-Life: Alyx.

CS:GO is particularly notable because it makes a lot of money, and Wolpaw used this as an example of a project that would make business sense for Valve, as opposed to Portal 3. He acknowledged that a sequel could be profitable, but it might not be worth Valve’s resources.

“[Is Portal 3] going to make Counter-Strike GO money? Probably not, but…maybe not every game needs to make Counter-Strike: GO money. Gabe [Newell], if you’re listening…”


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