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Portal 64 dev says “don’t be mad at Valve” for the project’s shutdown

After Portal 64 was shut down, the creator of the project says "don't be mad at Valve," while diving into the difficulty of it ever coming.

Portal 64 Valve: a eye bot from Portal, with a white metal shell and bright blue robot eye

The creator of the recently canned Portal 64 project released a new video telling everyone “Don’t blame Valve,” adding that the actual release of the fan remake of Portal on a Nintendo SDK was highly unlikely.

Portal 64 was shut down earlier this year after Valve reached out to creator James Lambert, with the coder now telling people not to blame Valve itself, explaining that this was likely to happen. After putting two years into Portal 64 before the shutdown, Lambert has released a follow-up to his announcement that the puzzle game is gone.

“I can’t say I didn’t expect this at some point,” Lambert explains in his new YouTube video in a PCGamesN transcription. “It’s their IP on a Nintendo console. I was hopeful I could get it to completion, but this is not unexpected.”

Portal 64, which uses Valve’s IP and rebuilds it on Nintendo’s official SDK LibUltra, would have been a complete rebuild of the classic puzzler and playable on the Nintendo 64. Lambert says he was in contact with Valve’s legal team recently, and when Lambert told them that he was using Nintendo’s proprietary library Valve told him to stop making it.

“While I might not be a big enough target for Nintendo to come after, Valve is. So if they put their stamp of approval on the project, that could be grounds for Nintendo to come after them,” Lambert continues.

“I don’t blame [Valve] at all, and I don’t think you should either. Don’t be mad at Valve here, the project was probably doomed to be taken down from the beginning. Lambert does mention the possibility of using LibDragon for Portal 64, an open-source SDK for Nintendo 64 games, but adds that it would be “a ton of work” saying that he’s not even heard back from Valve on if he could yet.

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“I don’t think Valve wants to explore the legal territory of what happens when one large corporation backs a project that’s an unlicensed game for another large corporation’s console.”

Lambert says that the only way Portal 64 might come back is if Nintendo provides a written endorsement, which he finds unlikely. Lambert adds that the fact that Portal 64 is not a mod for a Valve game or distributed on Steam may have impacted the decision as well.

The silver lining here is that Lambert now wants to make a completely original game and develop it simultaneously for the Nintendo 64 and PC, using LibDragon.

Valve’s position on Portal 64 isn’t that surprising, especially when you look at what happened with Dolphin on Steam. Dolphin is an emulator that turns GameCube and Wii hardware into software on PC, and after Valve contacted Nintendo about the Dolphin team’s plans for a Steam launch, Nintendo allegedly told Valve to “prevent Dolphin from releasing on the Steam store,” according to the Dolphin team.

Much like with Portal 64, Dolphin says it could have come to an agreement with Nintendo over the emulator as Valve ordered, but adds that it would have actually been “impossible” considering Nintendo’s long-held stance on emulation.

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