Portal is something of an iconic series for Valve, the game development studio that notably created the popular Half-Life series. Unsurprisingly, in what seems to be Valve’s usual tradition, the Portal series all but ended with the release of Portal 2. However, a new video series titled Exposure from the crew at LunchHouse Software has provided a proper first look at a canceled Portal prequel called F-STOP, or more formally titled Aperture Camera.
The story here is an interesting one: F-STOP was designed to be a prequel to the original Portal game, but the project didn’t seem to hit the right marks and was eventually scrapped. Series fans first heard about this unreleased game as part of Geoff Keighley’s interactive book titled The Final Hours of Portal 2, which explored the game’s development at Valve studios. However, Keighley’s work didn’t actually provide any looks into F-STOP or Aperture Camera; it only provided details about its development as it pertained to Portal 2.
Fast-forwarding to now, the team at LunchHouse has launched a new video series called Exposure, and alongside permission to discuss F-STOP, the filmmakers have also been given full access to the game’s source code. Here are the details straight from the official Exposure website:
“Exposure is a documentary-type archeological journal of F-STOP from LunchHouse Software. The mechanics are not based on speculation or heresay. Instead, Exposure uses the original, official code from Valve’s own F-STOP, or as it was properly named, Aperture Camera. We look forward to sharing more in the near future.”
As can be seen in the Exposure video featured above, F-STOP or Aperture Camera sticks close to Portal‘s signature physics-based puzzle gameplay. Instead of a portal gun, however, players make use of a camera (hence the formal title) that can copy and manipulate the size of items found throughout environments. The video demonstrates how players can copy and resize boxes, presumably to to reach new areas, or copy a vent fan and place it on the floor to propel the protagonist to a high ledge.
There’s no formal release date for Exposure just yet, but LunchHouse says that the initial F-STOP video is “the first of many” to come. There’s no doubt that Valve and Portal fans will want to tune in for a closer look at the Portal prequel that never came to be. And who knows — perhaps interest in the series will inspire Valve or other developers to try out the F-STOP formula for themselves.