This year, Portal 2 celebrated its 10 year anniversary. It’s a milestone that, despite the game’s renown, has hardly been marked with the unbridled jubilation it deserves.
A lot has changed in those 10 years. Over the past decade we’ve witnessed more than a dozen Call of Duty games, close to 20 Assassin’s Creed games, and 36 Shovel Knight cameos. CD Projekt Red even managed to release half a Cyberpunk 2077 in that time. Meanwhile, Valve have cancelled more Portal games than they’ve released.
But that doesn’t mean that Portal’s legacy doesn’t live on. To celebrate 10 years of Portal 2, we’ve put together a timeline charting the game’s ongoing influence as an all-time great.
We’ve only made one entry per year, so don’t get too upset if you don’t see games like The Talos Principle here.
2012 – MoMA Applied Design Exhibition
Portal is not only a masterpiece, it also helped establish video games as an art form. It had the honour of being part of the first batch of videogames acquired by MoMA for its Applied Design Exhibition.
2013 – Poker Night 2
Playing poker with GlaDOS as a dealer may not be the ultimate Portal experience, but it is the ultimate poker experience… At least if you (like me) only play poker in video games. Poker Night 2 is worth trying out just for the Portal cameo.
2014 – Aperture Tag
A community-made mod for Portal 2 that builds upon its gel mechanics. In Aperture Tag, the Portal device has been replaced by the Aperture Science Paint Gun Device (don’t worry, it’s also handheld).
2015 – The Lab
A playful experiment designed by Valve to test several VR mechanics in the Portal universe. More a toy than a game, but a really fun proof-of-concept displaying Valve’s clear passion for virtual reality.
2016 – Portal Stories: VR
I cheated a bit with this one. This is a VR game developed by the creators of Portal Stories: MEL, an amazing community-made mod for Portal 2 released in 2015. Both are interesting approaches to the franchise (this VR spin doesn’t even have portals) and 100% free!
2017 – Bridge Constructor Portal
The crossover nobody expected, and the only entry on this list that is not first person. Hilariously fun, Bridge Constructor Portal is better than it has the right to be and I love it for that.
2018 – Q.U.B.E. 2
Q.U.B.E is one of the many games directly inspired by Portal, and one of the few to get a sequel. Analogous to Portal, the first game served as a proof-of-concept with Q.U.B.E 2 being a bigger version, developing its mechanics and lore further.
2019 – Aperture Hand Lab
Another free VR experiment from Valve. If you hadn’t guessed, this one features… hands with the developers flexing the increasing fidelity of VR control inputs. It’s way better than it sounds, although shorter than The Lab.
2020 – Superliminal
2021 – Portal Reloaded
This is the game that drove me to write this article. It features a third portal that allows traveling between two different timelines and it is the closest thing to a Portal 3 out there. The perfect addition to make your brain hurt even more. And guess what? It’s free!
When can we expect Portal 3?
Will there be a Portal 3? Considering Valve’s track record of releasing games over the past decade, the chances are very slim. Valve is one of the very few industry titans who are free to mysteriously romp around, exploring new tech, without the pressure to pump out new games.
Even in 2021, they continue to manage an evergreen stable of hits including Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, and Dota 2. As much as fans want to see Portal 3, Valve won’t make it until they can do something truly innovative with the series. If it was ever to emerge, we’d expect the sequel to be a VR-focused title, showcasing whatever new virtual reality tech Valve are currently building.
Until then, there are still plenty of Valve mods and fan-created projects carrying the torch.