J.J. Abrams says movie adaptations of both “Half-Life” and “Portal,” two of the most acclaimed video game franchises of all time, are still “very much in development,” despite total silence on both projects since their initial announcement in 2013.
The new development came from the red carpet of the new HBO series “Westworld,” where Abrams told IGN, “We have a meeting coming up next week with Valve, we’re very active, I’m hoping that there will be a ‘Portal’ announcement fairly soon.”
Back in 2013, at DICE — an annual conference for video game developers — Valve co-founder Gabe Newell took the stage with J.J. Abrams to discuss storytelling across games and movies, where they announced they would be collaborating on projects in both mediums. Though nothing has really come to fruition from that announcement thus far, it seems like that partnership is still ongoing.
If you’re not familiar with either franchise, both are sci-fi first-person shooters that emphasise narrative rather than pure action.
“Portal,” in particular, looks like first-person shooter but is actually much closer to a puzzle game than anything else. It has that really fantastic mix of style, brains, and a sense of humour that Abrams has proved he can tackle in projects like “10 Cloverfield Lane” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Both projects are still probably several years out from seeing the light of day, so it’s important to keep in mind that video game movies in particular have a history of getting kicked around in development for years and never actually coming out.
The movie based on Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted” franchise, for example, was just recently pulled from Sony’s official release schedule after going through three different directors over a period of several years. It could still be happening, but to count on it as a sure thing would be a mistake.
In this case, especially, it’s important to note that Valve has a whole mess of other things on its plate: It runs Steam, a gargantuan online marketplace for PC gaming, and has a virtual reality headset called the HTC Vive. It’s been a while since we’ve seen any games from Valve, like the long-rumoured “Half-Life 3,” let alone any movie adaptations based on those games.
Still, the idea of seeing GLaDOS on the big screen is enough to keep us hoping.
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