LOS ANGELES-- Sony's press briefing at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo was full of dramatic moments, such as the surprise reveal of a new Twisted Metal. But the only truly shocking moment came as Sony Computer Entertainment America president Jack Tretton was appearing to introduce another game trailer…and the entire shrine auditorium went pitch black.
Then, on the on the huge presentation screens at the front of the Shrine Auditorium, a series of rotating concentric circles appeared--circles that were familiar to anyone who played the game Portal. Then, the computerized voice of GLADOs, the homicidal computer villain of the award-winning game, began to utter deranged mutterings about friendship over the speaker.
The lights came up and out walked a figure that elicited gasps from the audience: Gabe Newell. The founder of Valve Software has long been one of the PS3's most vociferous critics and had refused to work on the platform. Valve even offloaded the port of its hit compilation the Orange Box to its publisher, Electronic Arts, rather than deal with PS3 development kits.
Today, though, Newell revealed that Valve is jumping on the PS3 bandwagon with both feet. The veteran software developer revealed that Portal 2 is coming to the PS3 next year--and that it will, in Newell's terms, "be the best console version of the game." It is also in development for the PC, Valve's preferred platform, and the Xbox 360, which the company has long embraced.
Newell's reason for crowning the PS3 edition of Portal 2 was that it will be supported by Steamworks. Released in 2008, the free toolset allows developers to integrate support from its Steam content delivery service into their games. Steamworks will allow for Portal 2 auto-updates, downloadable content, and community support directly from Valve, a feature the 360 edition of the game will not have. How it will exactly work on the PlayStation Network is unclear.
Newell did not shrink from his past criticism of the PS3, joking that faux executive and TV ad character Kevin Butler (played by character actor Jerry Lambert) was introduced to him backstage as the "vice president of sharpening things." However, in a statement released after the event, Newell was effusive in his praise, saying, "Sony Computer Entertainment has proved that the PlayStation 3 is the most open platform of all the current generation consoles and has worked extremely hard to make the platform the most desirable for consumers and developers."