Given Valve’s track record, we probably won’t see a Portal 3 anytime soon (read: ever). But would we really need one? Afterall, the last game had a pretty definitive ending, and the Steam workshop kind of ensures that we’ll never run out of content. But, of course, we can also dream can’t we, and with a new Portal that means a new mechanic and not just any new mechanic, a mechanic that would have to work with the Portal gun, afterall, what separates games like Portal from Quantum Conundrum is how the mechanics work with the Portal gun abilities. The question then becomes what’s the best way to make the Portal gun even better?
1) Gravity Orbs
While I’m sure this would call a bit of motion sickness, one thing that I found mostly absent from Portal 2 was gravity puzzles that took advantage of the portals abilities to keep up momentum. These orbs would float in mid air and attract everything within a certain distance into its orbit. The closer you are orb, the faster the orbit and by pressing the jump button you get released from its pull.
This mechanic has proven to be fun in games like Super Mario Galaxy, but with the portal gun, there is potential to make some really long jumping, timing, and platforming based puzzles, with the portals being used to extend the jumps. Also, some gravity orbs could be embedded into the ground or a wall, letting you only orbit half of the way, this is where portals can be used to either complete the orbit or maybe even make some kind of wavy snake trail to get up walls. This can also be used to make another way that a player can accelerate their speed to jump really high, without having to rely on the same old tricks.
I feel like “time recordings” and the like has been done to death. It was done in Braid and Rachet and Clank and probably a million other games that I don’t know of. But rarely do I ever see actual time travel as a viable mechanic. So with this proposed mechanic, I thinking that certain portal surfaces would see blue portals as a “checkpoint” and orange portals as the actual time portal. You set down a blue portal, and then hop into the orange portal to go back to the exact time you set down the blue one. This can lead to more button and timing puzzles by allowing the player to create time duplicates (even adding in a time paradox fixer that would destroy the time duplicate/ the original after a set amount of time for more challenge) and can make it so instances that would normally get the player killed, can actually be reused multiple times.
Now, I understand that this probably has some technical limitations, since creating a time portal would essentially require the programers to make an exact duplicate of the room and then have all those room. Hopefully, making only specific surfaces trigger the time traveling effect would let the have a certain amount foresight into when time traveling will happen. Puzzles would often probably be difficult to get down since after duplicates and timing puzzles the novelty wears off, but I think the real challenge is not just traveling through time, but also the placements of the portals to create some really interesting space and time related puzzles.
3) Torch Portals
I know portals can be used to create hard-light bridges, but what about just light? Light is always a rather interesting mechanic in that’s it’s usually intangible and it’s the only thing protecting us from what we fear the most, the darkness. Many games utilize light as a mechanic, such as this Wiiware game I played long ago called Lit, where you had to create paths of light to traverse the darkness.
Also, since seeing is often a player’s only sense in a video game, removing it can be really disorienting thus making something like a flood light an interesting mechanic to combine with portals, maybe even mirrors to have light bouncing all over the room to guide try and even find the exit to the test chamber. It would kind of like that one sequence where Wheatley had turned on his flashlight, except actually have more a purpose than just a funny joke.
4) Moving Turrets
So not a portal, but another mechanic that can be used with the regular portals. Turrets are as deadly as they are loveable, often time with puzzles involving destroying them to get past them. Nothing is really scarier than their laser sights and their cute voice, unless they can move. A moving turret at first can just be a deadlier type of turret that requires the player to time their sprints or add a faster pace to which they have to solve a puzzle.
Additionally, switches can be made that only activate when the turrets move onto them. So if the turrets only move in simple straight line pattern, then puzzles could be made about getting the turret from one spot to another, without getting in it’s line of sight.
5) Single-Player Co-Op
Co-op is fun, but one of the most frustrating aspects of it was when your teammate just doesn’t know when to stop griefing. So after I’ve been crushed, drowned, and blown-up for the 15th time, I wish there was puzzles that let me have access to all four portals but allow me to play by myself.
A remove portal maker would really allow players to think about the single player puzzles differently. They would be more than just simple trust exercises, but a way to create portal from all sorts of angles. A button could deploy the portal maker and a button on the controller (maybe one of the analogue buttons) would toggle between the machine and the player.
Well, those are my ideas for what would be awesome in a Portal 3 game. I have no idea if we’ll ever see a Portal 3, or how plausible some of these ideas are, heck, I dunno if these are possible or not to do in the Steam workshop. If they are though, I would love to see someone implement them. Consider it a challenge from me to you.