Movies, much like video games, sometimes get stuck in developmental limbo for years. When it comes to cinematic adaptations of video gaming titles, they rarely ever leave whatever shelf they were put on and sit there, collecting dust. We thought a similar fate befell the previously announced movie adaptation of the Portal video game, but the project’s director, J.J. Abrams, still claims that a Portal movie is happening.
Apparently, J.J. Abrams’ long-rumored and highly-anticipated adaptation of Valve’s super-popular physical puzzler game Portal is still in the works, according to IGN. The director revealed this information, stating that the movie’s script is currently in writing, during a press conference for the home release of Super 8’s 4K Blu-ray release. That’s eight full years after the Portal movie was announced at the DICE 2013 Summit by Valve’s founder Gabe Newell and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, where the two discussed possible collaboration on the Portal and Half-Life cinematic adaptations.
Moving eight years forward to the present, Abrams reveals that the Portal movie is finally in active development after its long gestation period at Bad Robot Productions. According to Abrams, the script is currently written for the Portal movie adaptation at Warner Bros. However, the director was very light on the details and didn’t reveal the writer behind the Portal script or whether any directors were approached regarding the project. From what we know so far, Abrams is likely to base the movie on the first Portal video game, which followed a protagonist’s escape attempt involving the use of a gun that creates portals.
While sharing good news regarding the Portal movie adaptation, Abrams also shared some less exciting news as well – his production company, Bad Robot, is not actively involved in the cinematic adaptation of the Half-Life video game. This truly is sad news, given how Portal and Half-Life share the same lore-rich gaming universe, but it also alleviates the pressure of developing two tied-in movie adaptations at one. At least this concludes the fandom’s debate whether should the Half-life antagonist speak in the movie adaptation since he’s silent in the game. But, it also allows the production studio to one title more justice before settling to work on the other.
The story surrounding the video game that the Portal movie will be based on is an interesting one. It’s a spiritual successor of an entirely different game, released by DigiPen Institute of Technology students, which caught the attention of Valve’s president, Gabe Newell. He was so impressed by the game that he offered the entire team jobs at Valve to develop the game further. One year into the game’s development, the original developing team decided to tie the game to the Half-Life franchise, which allowed them to use some of Half-Life’s artwork.
The game released under its present name in 2007 and quickly became critically acclaimed as one of the most original titles of the year, and one of the best games ever made. Excluding Steam download sales, the game sold over four million copies since its release and warranted a movie adaptation announced in 2013. We’re glad J.J. Abrams didn’t forget about it and that the Portal movie is still happening.