Portal 2 concept art shows extraordinary visions of Aperture Science

Portal 2 Chell concept art

Valve's ongoing potato sack ARG has turned up a treasure trove of Portal 2 concept art. As well as a number of alternative designs for Chell, there are also more than 20 designs for a Portal 2 front cover, varying from bizarre to inspired. Each artist brings their own vision of Aperture Science, leading to some weird and wonderful works of art. You'll find a few of our favourites below.

Here's a brilliant poster based on a short skit from Portal 1 in which Glados recommends the Aperture Science "bring your daughter to work day." The twist here is that your daughter is a robot with no feet trapped in a weird mirror, which is an indication of exactly why you don't bring your daughter to Aperture Science Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.

This is one of the few images on show that actually demonstrates what the portals in Portal 2 do, and does it in a clever and interesting way. The trouble is, if you don't know what Portal is, this one's likely to leave you in the dark. Where did the portals come from? Is it a robot drawing game? Why does the robot look so sad?

Again, coming to this one cold might leave you thinking that Portal 2's some sort of robo-romance game. The striking colours and stark design are sure to make it stand out on store shelves, but it does look a little bit like a bionic love triangle, with Glados looking on jealously as the co-op bots flaunt their togetherness. Glados probably has an Aperture Science crusher lurking just out of the image.

We have no idea what is going on here. There's a definite Truman Show vibe, with a bonus giant eye thrown in for good measure. Is it the eye of god? Gabe Newell? Chell? It's unclear. All we know is that someone's gone and shot this person in the eye with a portal gun, which is surely in contravention of Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device safety protocols.

This is the piece of concept art that most closely mirrors the final pack shot. It's got it all. Portals, Chell and the Aperture Science labs in the background. It's interesting to note that Valve have gone with the co-op robots in all of their trailers and posters for the game so far. The bumbling co-op bots have far more established character than your silent single player protagonist, and end up replacing her entirely in the final pack shot below.

Here's the image that will be on the front of the game when it hits store shelves next week. It's very similar to the prototype above, but Valve also replaced the boring staircase with one of the new glowing energy bridges, squeezing in another Portal 2 element into the image. It'd be difficult to get more of Portal 2 into this shot without Glados photobombing it, and perhaps a rain of propulsion gel, and perhaps a giant floating cake with "this is a lie" spelled in icing on its surface.

There are plenty more prototype pack shots over on Super Punch . There are some superb alternative designs for Chell on there, too. You'll find a few below.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.