Portal and Half-Life writer hopes for “a 3 of something” from Valve

Portal, Half-Life, and Left 4 Dead writer Erik Wolpaw hopes for “a 3 of something” one day from Dota 2 and Steam creator Valve, and has an “idea” for Portal 3

Portal and Half-Life writer hopes for “a 3 of something" from Valve. A sinister bureacrat, G Man from Half-Life 2, speaks to Gordon Freeman

Portal, Half-Life, and Left 4 Dead writer Erik Wolpaw hopes that Valve will one day make “a 3 of something,” as he discusses ideas for a possible Portal 3, and reflects on his work at the FPS game, Steam, and Dota 2 developer.

Having worked on the Half-Life 2 episodes, both Portal games, and the original Left 4 Dead, Wolpaw has contributed to some of Valve’s best-loved titles, and most recently served as writer on the Portal spin-off Aperture Desk Job.

With the central Half-Life story still unresolved since 2007’s Episode 2, and Portal fans left hanging on the 2011 sequel, Valve has generated a reputation for abandoning game series before they become full trilogies. Wolpaw says the company’s staff are often occupied with other projects.

“It’s almost like the numbering system works against us,” Wolpaw says, in an interview with YouTube series Did You Know Gaming? “We made Half-Life 2, then sort of made a 3, but it was an episode, so maybe that was just the luck of the draw. I think Valve staff keep getting sucked into other stuff. Some day, hopefully, there will be a 3 of something.”

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Wolpaw also explains how he and fellow Valve writer Jay Pinkerton have developed ideas for a possible Portal 3, saying that the concept for the game is still lacking details and has not been formally pitched, but has an “actual idea.”

“Jay and I have an idea that we think is pretty awesome for what would happen, generally speaking. We don’t have a script or any details worked out but we have a sort of starting point that we like a ton. Us having that idea versus actually committing to making a game is a way different thing. It’s not unknown, but there’s no formal pitch process at Valve either. It’s always kind of a grassroots campaign. There’s a lot left to do – somebody’s got to think up some new Portal puzzles – but we do have an actual idea, yes.”

A new, unofficial Half-Life VR game, based on Half Life Alyx, launched earlier in November, with Aperture Desk Job keeping the Portal torch still burning via its launch on Steam Deck earlier in 2022. Wolpaw has also previously discussed Portal 3, saying that he would “love to work” on the game if possible. Nevertheless, official news on upcoming Valve games is scarce, leaving us constantly wondering whatever happened to Half-Life 3.

If you’re a big Portal fan, you might want to try some other great adventure games, or maybe – since Portal and Half-Life can likely be called retro now – some great old games. Alternatively, check out the very best VR games, including, naturally, Half-Life Alyx.