Dan Trachtenberg Updates Valve’s Plans for the Half-Life Universe on the Big Screen


Portal movie just materialized out of nowhere as Dan Trachtenberg gave an update on Valve’s plans for the Half-Life universe on the big screen. Terri Schwartz of IGN recorded his answers during a watch-along of 10 Cloverfield Lane. A critically beloved entry in the filmmaker’s works. The director made waves back in the early part of the last decade with his work on Portal: No Escape. In those wildly different days of YouTube, million hit videos were still a milestone very few obtained. For a fan film using actors at hand and a modest budget to bring in that kind of lofty viewcount, it took a special kind of project. After No Escape and Trachtenberg’s Half-Life fan film, people clamored for him to get the reins for a big-screen treatment set in Valve’s playground.

“’I casually talked about it with them at one point – they have Portal and Half-Life. … My answer is I have no idea. I’d probably have to say that anyway’ #10CloverfieldLane #WFHTheater,” she wrote on Twitter.

Now, there is a little bit of information there, Valve has expressed the desire to flesh out that story after all these years with Half-Life: Alyx. Who’s to say that things couldn’t be made interesting again with Portal down the road. The problem, as it always has been, comes down to timing. Making a Portal movie fresh off The Orange Box probably makes a bit more sense than right now, but stranger things have happened. The latest entry’s writers talked about expanding the narrative with Polygon.

“There’s certainly no bible that lays everything out for the next three games, I would love that, if Marc [Laidlaw, Half-Life’s original writer] had some secret book,” Valve writer Erik Wolpaw laughed with the publication. “That would have been tremendous.”

“The ending certainly suggests certain directions that we’re all really excited about, so it’s not like there’s no idea, but no, there’s not a concrete, 300-page manual of where the game goes after this,” Valve writer Jay Pinkerton agreed.

“The problem was how do you make any ending feel like this game mattered?” Valve writer Sean Vanaman added. “How do we solve the prequel problem to not feel like this game is just like a hermetically sealed short-story in the world of Half-Life?”

“We had the prequel problem, we had the ‘god in a box’ problem. Those are the two big ones,” Pinkerton expounded. “The idea that once you free god, god owes you a favor. And that favor has to be pretty consequential. What does Alyx want?”

Would you still want to see a Portal movie? Let us know in the comment!

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