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The original Portal came out of nowhere to become a huge hit for Valve and the general gaming community and for considering the games origins as a small scale student project, it’s completely astounding that it had the success that it had. Portal 2 came out last month after over a year of fans anticipating their next taste of GlaDOS and her deadly neurotoxin and test chambers but the development of Portal 2 is a much bigger story than you would expect. Portal 2 - The Final Hours is an interactive eBook written by Gametrailers host Geoff Keighley as he follows the development of Portal 2 (Who interestingly did a similiar thing for the original Half Life) and reveals all sorts of interesting stories about how the sequel to one of Valves biggest successes came to be and the stories behind the people who made Portal 2 what it is.
If you've ever played through one of Valve's commentary modes in their games you'll find that Portal 2 - The Final Hours is quite different and has a very different feel to it but it's still a very good feel that tells that story of Portal 2's development in a very interesting, entertaining and informative way. Anyone interested in Game Design and Game Development will definitely find all sorts of interesting information on how the different elements that made up Portal 2 originated and reading about the stories of how people like Eric Wolfpaw joined Valve was a particular strongpoint of the eBook.
The actual eBook itself isn’t just text and it has been well formatted, looks very professional and the presentation is very polished. Portal 2 - The Final Hours features all sorts of cool multimedia elements like embedded videos, music and image galleries that definitely enchance your experience when reading it, and add much more value to the purchase. It consists of thirteen chapters that explore the people who made Portal and the incredible development journey of Portal 2.
The interactive elements can be a little hit and miss. Some like the “Portal Demonstator” and “Dismantle Aperture” (These aren’t official names,) are a little lame but the numerous panoramas that allow you to take a look inside the Valve offices are really cool. Another nifty interactive element that the eBook featured was the ability to hear the Portal 2 ending song in its various stages of development by Jonathan Coulton.
It’s well written and the whole eBook is about 15,000 words long. It took a few hours to read through, but when you throw in the multimedia elements it is well worth the two dollar price tag- assuming you have any interest in game development or Portal 2.
You can get your hands on Portal 2 - The Final Hours for PC via Steam and for iPad on the iTunes Store.