There were some big events in 2013: the Snowden leaks, Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration, and Gabe Newell and J.J. Abrams revealing a collaboration to produce movies based on Portal and Half-Life. Eight years later and the director says the Portal adaptation is still being developed, but it seems a movie based on Gordon Freeman’s adventures is about as likely as a Half-Life 3 release.
At the 2013 DICE summit, Newell and Abrams revealed that their respective companies, Valve and Bad Robot, were looking to bring two of the gaming giant’s biggest properties to the big screen. In 2016 and 2017, both men confirmed that the projects were still in the works, but things have been pretty quiet since then.
Speaking to IGN during a press event for Super 8’s 4K Blu-ray home release, Abrams said: “We actually do have a script that’s being written for the Portal movie now at [Warner Bros.]. We’re really excited about the take and the pitch, so it feels like that thing’s finally on the rails.”
Abrams didn’t reveal much else about the Portal movie, apart from adding: “It’s got enormous potential for a lot of reasons, one of which is because of the limited narrative of the game, as ingeniously told as it is, the potential of it is so huge. It’s gonna be super fun.” He acknowledged that fans will doubtlessly be clamouring for J.K. Simmons to reprise his role as Aperture Science’s founder, Cave Johnson.
While this is good news for Portal fans, it seems Half-Life lovers will be waiting a lot longer for a movie version of the game. “The Half-Life thing, we’re not actively involved with at the moment,” said Abrams.
It’ll be interesting to see how the movie turns out. The vast majority of video game adaptations before 2013 were panned by critics, but several since then have earned praise. Let’s hope Portal turns out to be one of the genre’s better offerings.