Valve released Portal 2 in 2011, and that’s the last time players returned to the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, except as a backdrop for demoing new VR tech. The dream of exploring beyond the end of the second game has been kept alive, though, thanks to mods.
The latest of them, Destroyed Aperture, has been two years in the making. It’s being developed by Dayin Creations, a group of 13 people who began working on the project back in 2015 out of a love for Portal’s world and the unique sorts of physical puzzles conjured there. They recently shared more information and a ton of screenshots of the 95 percent complete expansion on ModDB, with an eye towards releasing this fall. Free on Steam for anyone who already owns Portal 2, Destroyed Aperture will include a five-hour, five-chapter campaign encompassing over 20 new maps and 30 new logic-based puzzles.
Unlike in previous games, the protagonist will be a man named David. As in previous games, his goal will be to escape the research facility – only this time it’s in even more ruinous condition than Portal 2's. Valve has hinted at the possibility of a Portal 3 for years, but instead of waiting, the people at Dayin Creations have decided to envision their own third act for Aperture Science all on their own. Being tossed out into the garbage and seeing the grimier side of the facility in Portal 2 was one of the series’ most memorable moments, pulling the curtain back a little on the mystery surrounding its creation while opening up even more questions. That mood and aesthetic projected into the series’ future to encompass the entirety of Aperture, rather than just the old parts, seems like a natural trajectory for the unfinished series.
Destroyed Aperture seeks to explore the future ruins of the Portal series infamous research facility. Screenshot: Dayin Creations
In an email to Kotaku, Aerond, the project’s lead developer, said they think people will appreciate the level of detail around every corner of every level, including inside jokes and Easter eggs for longtime fans of the games. The goal isn’t to make something just Portal-inspired, they said, but a faithful addition to the series.
While Aerond was cagey about revealing any of the story beats, they did say that Test Chamber 17, one of Portal 2’s dilapidated Test Chambers utilising Hard Light Bridges, influenced a lot of Destroyed Aperture’s puzzles. Streams of light that double as hard surfaces are channelled throughout the level using companion cubes and portals, forcing the player to think about how to transport something other than a discrete object. Dayin Creations plans to add its own testing elements in addition to these like movable buttons linked to other mechanisms, as well as its own puzzle maker so other players can try their hand at using the tools to invent their own levels.
It’s unclear yet if Destroyed Aperture will go onto become as much a part of the series’ unofficial legacy as another fan mod, 2015’s Portal Stories: Mel, but at the very least it could help reinvigorate a mostly dormant Portal modding scene. And, who knows – maybe it could even help convince Valve it’s time for a new one.