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J.J. Abrams, the director of the new Star Trek series, has gone on record: Half-Life and Portal movies are in development. Reports can be found online confirming the claim.


Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were some of the most fun and well received first person shooter (FPS) games during the late 1990s and early 2000s, garnering a cult following. It was Valve’s debut into the world of science fiction FPS titles, which made it a landmark. The Portal franchise has amassed equal fame. It’s a first person game with puzzle elements, non-lethal enemy removal mechanics, and an interesting story. It hit the video game world by storm in 2008, and attained high review scores from sites such as Metacritic (Score of 90–Universal acclaim) and was showering praise.
Maybe it isn’t so surprising that such well-known titles would be considered for a movie debut.

The Proof

Abrams spoke to IGN saying, “We have a meeting coming up next week with Valve, we’re very active, I’m hoping that there will be a Portal announcement fairly soon.”

Of course with this announcement, there are concerns being that there are multiple video game movie adaptations that have been complete flops. Doom ranked at 21, Hitman came in 17th, Prince of Persia came in 3rd place, and Resident Evil… Well, Resident Evil you could argue had the most Hollywood success ranked at 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th, and 16th – that’s all of them, to date. The only movie that looked extremely successful was Warcraft but was only ranked 10th. Blizzard would not allow their bread and butter burn in a vat of crispy hell – at least not until Cataclysm gets done; Then, crisp away! Number one on the statistics says that Tomb Raider wins the war.

Abrams went on to say, “We are having some really interesting discussions with writers, many of whom…once you said you’re doing a movie or show about a specific thing that is a known quantity you start to find people who are rabid about these things.” Yes. People are rabid about their favorite and classic games going to a movie format, which has statistically done poorly for the games reputation despite Hollywoods’ efforts. Thus far, the industry is not doing gamers any favors by having directors who are unfamiliar with the content of the game franchises they are making movies of.

Half-Life features a protagonist that doesn’t speak, kills creatures, and solves puzzles. The game had scripted sequences and cut-scenes to tell the story because the gaming industry had just started using that as a narrative tool. The original objective of the game was to scare the audience like Doom did, another notable game of its time.

Portal is a first-person puzzle game that puts the player in a science facility to participate in ‘testing’. The objective is to get through the end of the level without dying, falling into environmental hazards, or getting stuck in a corner. The facility is mostly abandoned, with only the voice of GLaDos to keep you company. Part of the challenge of the game is to ‘think with portals’, often placing the protagonist, Chell, upside down or sideways.

It’ll be interesting to see how to movie projects develop, but the announcement has been hit with hesitation and doubt. Hardcore Star Trek fans aren’t all happy with Abram’s interpretation of the universe, and have cast doubt on future endeavors. There is good news: the writer for the film is very familiar with the universe of both franchises. Hopefully, this will translate well on screen, but until it then, the audience will have to wait – or perhaps hope for the best.


The idea that both these games are going to feature film is bothersome due to the historical track record. Having J.J. Abrams as the director certainly gives the audience pause because he has some large shoes to fill. It will be a challenging task.

He had one more thing to say to IGN, “As someone who loves playing Half Life and Portal, what’s the movie of this, it’s incredible when you talk to someone who just ‘gets’ it, it’s like, oh my god, it’s really the seed for this incredible tree you’re growing.” We shall determine that Mr. Adams…
Until next time.
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