Valve: Portal's Chell is Silent Because It's Funnier

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Valve: Portal's Chell is Silent Because It's Funnier

image

Valve writer Erik Wolpaw recently explained why Chell, much like Gordon Freeman, is a silent protagonist.

Half-Life and Portal, two of Valve's most popular franchises, both star silent protagonists. According to Erik Wolpaw, in each game this is probably for a very different reason. He explains that in Portal, Chell is silent because it makes the game funnier.

At a recent NYU lecture, Wolpaw said: "There's this thing with comedy, there's sort of two different patterns. One is, you're the straight man in a world gone mad, and the other one is you're a crazy person in a sort of straight world. Portal is definitely the world gone mad straight man, and the straight man is you. And again, because you have to write in the margins in a game, time is at a premium, so the fact that there's already this established thing where you have a silent protagonist, that saves us a lot of time. You may want to know Chell's backstory, you may want to hear her say things, but I guarantee, if she had to say her straight man lines at the expense of half of the other dialogue, it would suck."

Wolpaw doesn't feel that people are actually invested in Chell as a character, and instead relate to the game world through her shell as themselves. Wolpaw admits that Chell can definitely talk, but added: "She just chooses not to, what with the robots all being dicks. Why give them the satisfaction?"

If you were hoping that more about Chell would be revealed in Portal 3, you might want to stop hoping. Wolpaw said that Chell's been through a lot after the events of Portal and Portal 2, and Valve just might "let her have her day" rather than bring her back again. At this point that's probably a good idea, because I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands of different ideas about what her personality is like by now. She could be a total ass, and that'd be a letdown.

The other most interesting tidbit that came out of the lecture was on a puzzle mechanic called "F-Stop," originally slated to replace portals. Valve worked on "F-Stop" for 6 months, but shelved it to bring portals back. Wolpaw didn't describe exactly what "F-Stop" was, though the term refers to a light regulating factor in photography also called the aperture setting (Aperture Science, get it?). He revealed that Valve may decided to use it in a future title.

So basically, if Valve is working on Portal 3, it could feature some "F-Stop" action along with a brand new protagonist. And he/she will probably be silent, because it makes for a better game where a sentient AI, or other disembodied voice, insults you.

Source: Giant Bomb

Permalink

Awwww, that's a little disappointing, although I suppose I'll have to play Portal 2 before I can make any real judgement. :P
Also, that F-Stop sounds like it could be pretty fun to play with. :D

Need I remind people of the beginning?

Actually made me laugh out loud for a few seconds.

I still like Chell as a silent protagonist, much like a world gone mad, she stays sane by not saying anything.

I just like the fact they Confirm she can talk to other people but she just dosen't wanna give in.

Tom Goldman:
Wolpaw doesn't feel that people are actually invested in Chell as a character, and instead relate to the game world through her shell as themselves. Wolpaw admits that Chell can definitely talk, but added: "She just chooses not to, what with the robots all being dicks. Why give them the satisfaction?"

Exactly. Why give them the satisfaction when you can just jump? Especially when the reaction from the robot when you do is so hilarious.

I thought she actually has a brain damage that makes her a badass but mute and profoundly obese as a downside.
You know, the same condition mr freeman has.

See, I don't mind this kind of silent protagonist. She's choosing not to talk for whatever reason, that gives her personality. Pretending she does talk and that I'm supposed to fill in the blanks doesn't.

It works perfectly fine in Chell's case, because GLaDOS treats Chell like she's not saying anything. Because she's not. And... I'm sure you all get it.

I guess thats a good reason for keeping her silent. Still though, silent protagonists annoy the hell out of me.

Dr. wonderful:
I just like the fact they Confirm she can talk to other people but she just dosen't wanna give in.

Same here, it's a hell of a lot better than what I thought up. I just thought that they were forcing her to be silent, with science!

I thought the experiments on Chell made her a mute, well that's my explanation, tell me yours.

Tom Goldman:
Wolpaw doesn't feel that people are actually invested in Chell as a character, and instead relate to the game world through her shell as themselves. Wolpaw admits that Chell can definitely talk, but added: "She just chooses not to, what with the robots all being dicks. Why give them the satisfaction?"

Thank you for setting this straight. It puzzles me that people take certain things seriously when it's obviously meant to be a mean spirited jab at Chell. Though I hope we learn more about her, I find her more interesting than Gordon, though they have pretty much explained her backstory enough.

Dr. wonderful:
I just like the fact they Confirm she can talk to other people but she just dosen't wanna give in.

Hella lot better than Freeman. For all we know, he is still a freaking mute.

I disagree with the brain damage thing, I figured it was more like:

"Well, I COULD say something, but I can't think of anything to say that wouldn't magnify my problems fourfold!" Calling Glados a dick or even agreeing prolly wouldn't help.

She doesn't have any goddamn personality, they just didn't want to break their stupid tradition of having a mute protagonist. If she talked, they could have had funny conversations, instead of just funny lines. Look at Archer.

Disappointing...I was hoping Portal 3 would reveal Chell's backstory by giving her a voice and surrogate daddy issues with a male-voiced Overlord AI...

oh yeah that's a wonderful idea I don't see why Valve wouldn't do it!

Does anyone have any more information on this F-light thing?
.
.
.
.
OT: Chell had to be silent in the first game in order to stop the player from realising too early that there really was a proper story going on, which was all part of the experience.

It would be too jarring to just add a voice in for the 2nd game...

With a name like Chell it's not surprising she's always clamed up.

Sorry Ignore this,
No pun here.

HankMan:
Sorry Ignore this,
No pun here.

Son, I am disappoint.

Psychotic-ishSOB:
She doesn't have any goddamn personality, they just didn't want to break their stupid tradition of having a mute protagonist.

Taken a look at tf2 and left4dead yet?

Puzzlenaut:

HankMan:
Sorry Ignore this,
No pun here.

Son, I am disappoint.

Hey! I just put that there to make sure the first one actually went through
The pun is in the post above it!

God you people are insatiable.

chell never speaks because her birth parents never loved her. it was traumatic.

Aw man!! I want Chell back! Not because I like her dialogue or anything, but because I've played through her story and want more of it! A new one just wouldn't be the same!

mjc0961:

Tom Goldman:
Wolpaw doesn't feel that people are actually invested in Chell as a character, and instead relate to the game world through her shell as themselves. Wolpaw admits that Chell can definitely talk, but added: "She just chooses not to, what with the robots all being dicks. Why give them the satisfaction?"

Exactly. Why give them the satisfaction when you can just jump? Especially when the reaction from the robot when you do is so hilarious.

I think its also why you don't see your legs when you look down..

I suspect that the real reason is that Valve can't write protagonists, so they just leave them mute as to not call attention to their glaring weakness. But it still feels like playing a floating gun, so that's pretty much a failure.

9_6:

Psychotic-ishSOB:
She doesn't have any goddamn personality, they just didn't want to break their stupid tradition of having a mute protagonist.

Taken a look at tf2 and left4dead yet?

with single player games. I didn't count them

Slick Samurai:
I suspect that the real reason is that Valve can't write protagonists, so they just leave them mute as to not call attention to their glaring weakness. But it still feels like playing a floating gun, so that's pretty much a failure.

I agree, too. Also, since somebody will say TF2 and Left 4 Dead: they aren't that well characterized. They just have some funny lines.

Slick Samurai:
I suspect that the real reason is that Valve can't write protagonists, so they just leave them mute as to not call attention to their glaring weakness. But it still feels like playing a floating gun, so that's pretty much a failure.

Not the feeling I get at all. I'm sorry you missed out on that experience.

Tom Goldman:

Wolpaw doesn't feel that people are actually invested in Chell as a character, and instead relate to the game world through her shell as themselves.

This is exactly why I'm glad Valve kept her silent - I like the feeling that GLaDOS, Wheatley, Turrets, etc are interacting with me.

I'm glad that they've given her a (sort of) back story, and wouldn't complain if we saw more of her character and personality, but I'm so very glad it's me revisiting Aperture and experiencing the story and environment.

Would love to see F-stop in some DLC. If they considered it as a full replacement for portals, it must be pretty interesting.

Portal 2 actually does reveal Chell's backstory, though not much about her character.

I didn't buy Portal 2 for a great protagonist, I bought it so I could hear Gladdos be hilarious again, Wheatley was pretty funny too. The real story is based around the facility, and that was really the most intriguing thing there. I'm fine with silent protagonists in everything but RPG's, then I typically want to give them a voice so you'll find out how a line is delivered.

BTW, what is an F-Stop?

Chell is silent so GLaDOS can get that last little dig in, possibly her best one.

"Just go. You crazy, mute, lunatic."

Kalezian:
Need I remind people of the beginning?

Actually made me laugh out loud for a few seconds.

I still like Chell as a silent protagonist, much like a world gone mad, she stays sane by not saying anything.

That what I was going to post!

Yeah, the guy kind of needs to get his facts a bit more straight, though this could of been an explonation as to why she doesn't talk in the first game.

I think it'd be funnier if she'd talk...and constantly break the fourth wall when doing so.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here