Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Final Hours of Portal 2?
The Final Hours of Portal 2 is the story of the creation of the new
video game Portal 2 from Valve. This multimedia journey takes you
through over 3 years of development and shares new insights into the
creative process behind the game.
Q: I don’t understand, is this an article? A book?
core of this App is a 15,000 word story about the making of Portal
2. But the story is filled with dozens of photos, screenshots,
audio clips, videos from development, and some interactive experiences
Q: What was your vision for this App?
I wanted to write a Final Hours story for the iPad, but also take
advantage of the iPad to surround the story with interesting
interactive experiences. As a kid I remember playing with early
versions of Microsoft’s Encarta on CD-ROM and loving the interactive
diagrams. So I’ve included some fun interactive elements like
puppeting Wheatley and playing with Portals.
Q: How can I read The Final Hours of Portal 2?
Currently The Final Hours of Portal 2 is available from the iTunes App
Store for iPad devices. The cost of the story is $1.99.
Q: I don’t have an iPad. Will The Final Hours of Portal 2 ever be available to read on the web or other platforms?
While I don’t have any announcements to make at this time, I am
exploring ways to make the story available on more platforms in the
Q: Why would you make this for iPad? I don’t own an iPad but really want to read it. It’s not fair!
I know this will be a frequent question. I started with iPad because I
love the device; in many ways it helped inspire me to write this story.
It’s a good platform to publish log-form journalism with multimedia
elements. But I do realize that iPads are expensive to own and
many Valve fans may not have one. If the iPad version is somewhat
successful I am committed to getting this story onto other platforms. I
appreciate your patience.
Q: Why are you charging money for this story?
The $1.99 price is an experiment. For a while I toyed with making the
app a free download as a gift to the game community (and Valve), which
I may still do at some point. But ultimately I had to be realistic
about the costs of building this App, including the photography, design
and programming. I am very curious to see what kind of market exists
and if that market is large enough to recoup my production costs.
The $1.99 price was established because it is similar to the cost of a
weekly magazine. I think it’s a fair price for such a lengthy story
with so many multimedia features. Please let me know if you
Q: If I buy this app am I going to see lots of ads and sponsors throughout it?
A: No, there is zero advertising or sponsorship.
Q: How was Valve involved in the creation of this story?
Gabe and everyone at Valve generously gave me access to their offices,
and more importantly, their personal stories, photos, and time. They
let me observe them at their worst, sit in on private meetings, and
left me completely unsupervised most of the time. Heck, I even
had my own keycard to the office! More than anything else they trusted
me to tell their story, and I hope I’ve honored that trust.
story like a Final Hours is really only possible under these
conditions. You may wonder why you don’t see more journalism like
this about games, and a lot of it has to do with access. Far too
often today’s game studio visits are tightly scripted, with an
over-controlling publicist parading you around an office while an
advanced team scrubs every white board before you turn the
corner. I guess you have to be careful in a world where one Tweet
can spoil a top-secret project, but it doesn’t lead to very good
journalism. Valve is transparent about its creative process, and
that’s something I don’t find at many studios.
have to thank Gabe and Doug Lombardi, Valve’s VP of Marketing (and
overseer of all things PR-related) for letting me do what I needed to
do, and to Chet Faliszek, who was invaluable in helping coordinate
assets, interviews and scheduling. Chet’s the kind of guy who emails
you to say, ‘Are you sure there’s absolutely nothing else we can get
you?’ as you’re wrapping up a project. These guys were incredibly
busy these past few months but always made me feel like a priority.
to those cynics out there, I should note that Valve did not have any
approval over this story and did not pay me to write it.
Q: Have you played Portal 2?
Yes, I was lucky enough to play the final version of Portal 2 in
mid-February right after it was finished. I have completed the single
and co-op campaign.
Q: I have another question that isn’t answered here. What should I do?
A: Contact Geoff by filling out the contact form.