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Valve’s canceled Portal prequel with unique gameplay revealed in documentary

Aperture Camera, Valve’s canceled prequel to the popular puzzler series Portal, will be featured in a documentary series by indie developer LunchHouse Software.

Valve, which moved away from prolific game development to focus on its digital storefront Steam, released the source code of Aperture Camera to LunchHouse Software. The developer is now working on Exposure, a multi-part video series that already released its first episode.

In Portal and Portal 2, players use the portal gun to solve puzzles by creating portals and passing through them. In Aperture Camera, things are a little bit different, as the portal gun is replaced by a camera.

Exposure by LunchHouse Software • Announcement • Episode 1

The first episode of Exposure reveals the unique gameplay of Aperture Camera. Players take pictures of objects using a camera, and they then transfer the object from the photograph back into the world at the size and position that they choose. For example, the episode demonstrated the player taking the picture of balloons, and then transferring the balloons from the photograph onto a box to make it float.

LunchHouse Software said in the first episode’s description that there remains a lot of depth to the unique game mechanic, which will be featured in succeeding episodes. It remains unclear how Aperture Camera fits as a prequel to the Portal series, why the game was canceled, and why Valve decided to send the source code to LunchHouse Software, but these questions may be answered as Exposure continues.

The Game Awards creator Geoff Keighley revealed years ago that Valve was working on a spinoff of the Portal series that did not include protagonist Chell and the evil supercomputer GLaDOS. LunchHouse Software’s Exposure, however, is the first real look at the game, which was previously codenamed F-STOP.

Valve, meanwhile, is returning to game development with Half-Life: Alyx, a virtual reality game that will highlight the capabilities of the Valve Index VR headset. The game takes place in between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, with players to take control of Alyx Vance.

Valve programmer David Speyrer revealed that if Half-Life: Alyx succeeds, it may lead to the development of more Half-Life games, which will hopefully include the long-awaited Half-Life 3.

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