An Early Portal 2 Didn't Have Portals
Chalk this up as one design decision we're happy didn't happen: According to Portal scribe Erik Wolpaw, an early version of Portal 2 didn't actually have any portals.
Speaking with PC Gamer, Wolpaw revealed that the portal gun wasn't always a gameplay element in the sequel. "[For Portal 2]...We did go down a couple of paths with some mechanics...one of the ideas was: what if the Portal franchise is, instead of always being about Portals – which’d be tough because it’s called Portal – but what if it was always about introducing a new puzzle element that you’re going through? It’s about Aperture Science, and now you’re going through this new testing track with this new element."
Luckily, the idea didn't last long. "We pretty quickly found that, even though we had a couple of pretty interesting mechanics, that...every play tester we had would say, 'Yeah this is alright, but where’s my portal gun?'"
As for those other mechanics? Some of them are still in the game, such as the propulsion and repulsion gels gamers will be playing with, as well as a few mechanics that are still under wraps. "We’ll leave some surprises for down the road. Like everything, we test it all, we see what works and what doesn’t. We’re still in the process of poking a couple of things to see what we can do with paint, and some other stuff that people haven’t seen..."