Portal 2 Wheatley recordings were "exhausting" says Merchant

Portal 2 - Wheatley

Co-creator of The Office, Stephen Merchant, has been talking to MTV about his role as Wheatley in Portal 2. Merchat said that the role was one of the most exhausting he's ever done, but would be interested in coming back for a sequel after seeing fans' reactions to the game.

Merchant described his surprise at fans reactions to his performance to MTV, saying "when I started to mention to people who know about such things, 'I'm doing this game, Portal 2,' they got very excited, suddenly. More excited than anything I've ever done before, weirdly.

"Gamers are incredibly enthusiastic about the stuff they love. Suddenly I realized, this is quite a big deal and what I thought was an easy gig, I suddenly felt this responsibility to try and do a good job."

Merchant says that the recording sessions for Portal 2 were more active than anything he' done previously. "I found the entire thing really exhausting. More than anything I've ever done before because I'm in this little recording booth, shouting down these imaginary corridors, imaginary gantries, pretending to fall off things and really trying to move around and live it as best I could.

"I know it sounds really pretentious, but really try to move around like this robot so my voice would feel like it was animated. I was really working hard to try and put myself in that environment, I guess, which is not something I normally do as a performer."

While the Office and Extras star has never played Portal, he says that Valve were able to quickly get him up to speed with a series of clips from the game. While the high energy nature of the recording sessions initially put him off ever doing a similar project again, he was turned around by fans' enthusiasm after the game's release.

"What I was really pleased by how people seemed to respond to it in the way they do with a movie they've enjoyed, or a TV show they've enjoyed. They seemed to respond to it as entertainment.

"It never occurred to me that people would respond to it in the way they do with other stuff I've done. I felt like, 'Oh, actually this is a really legitimate, creative art form now.'"

Finally, Merchant admits he knows nothing of any future plans for Wheatley or the Portal series, but would consider reprising his role.

"I'm a robot," he says, "I don't need to die. They could bring me back anyway if they wanted. Make it a prequel!"

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.