It is not so crazy to think that Portal, Valve’s genius first person puzzler, could make an appearance on the Wii. We’re talking the game here people, not the snazzy graphics or souped up Source physics. Even though I still maintain that the Wii is capable of amazing graphics – Mario Galaxy – it couldn’t pull off a full Source title. There’s no reason the puzzle action of Portal wouldn’t translate, and do so very well. After all, the 360 version is phenomenal and that uses analog stick control. Imagine the finesse of Wii control without the hassle of a $2,000 gaming rig.
A Wii port of Portal wouldn’t even necessarily have to be in 3D, although working that out would improve my desire for the game. As a concept the game can work in a 2D space, after all you’re just throwing portals on walls. That can be done side scrolling style, and still maintain the intensity of the puzzles. Some things would have to be changed around, but I’d be willing to pay Valve for the extra work involved. In fact, there’s nothing all that new about Portal on the most basic of levels. It involves you warping from one location to another, a mechanic that’s been around since the 8-bit era. Valve, as is their modus operandi, have simply crafted a perfect utilization of gameplay and puzzle solving. If the team that made games like Half-Life 2 and Portal are unable to get this to work, then all hope is lost for mankind.
Over at the Steam site, Portal is listed as a value of $20. A reasonable sum for what a few people are claiming might be game of the year. If it were my task to make this happen, here’s how I would handle things. Rework the gameplay to operate smoothly with the Wii Remote, and use stylized – perhaps even TF2 in feel – graphics for a distinct aesthetic. Then I’d rework the puzzles to work in a 2D space, but give the levels depth as you saw in Viewtiful Joe, or more recently Little Big Planet. Now that you have the basics covered, it’s time to get Wii Portal to the masses.
How convenient that Wii Ware is making its way to our homes in 2008, because that is the perfect distribution platform for the game. It would help keep the price at $20, despite additional development costs. Not to mention it would sell huge numbers and give Wii Ware a true premiere title for Nintendo to show off next year. Even those of us who have become apathetic toward our Wii’s might perk up and take notice of Portal on Nintendo’s system that should.
It would be fair to note that CB Games has lambasted the Wii for flooding the market with so many ports, but keep in mind those are all horrible games. A team at Valve, or developer buddies, could put the care and love into Wii Portal that would be necessary. We all know that if this were to happen it would receive nothing less than the utmost care. For now it’s this gamer’s pipe dream that has a glimmer of hope.
You don’t necessarily have to wait until Valve makes a move though. There’s a 2D flash version of Portal that is quite fun, and clearly demonstrates the concept works. Until we have the official version, this will have to suffice.