Half-Life Writer Explains Why Series Shares Same Universe With Portal

The writer behind the Half-Life series, Marc Laidlaw, has revealed some details about why the franchise crossed over with Portal.. Half-Life is one of the most beloved gaming franchises out there. It's known for some incredibly innovative and creative gameplay with a super original, mind-bending story that goes all across space and time. It's a fascinating series... and it has almost completely disappeared from the zeitgeist over the last decade or so. Strangely, a very similar thing happened to the Portal series which shares a universe with Half-Life. Fans expected the two to cross over more aggressively when the Borealis ship was discovered in Portal 2, but that was the last major thing anyone ever saw that linked the two franchises.

When speaking to RockPaperShotgun, Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw revealed that there was a canceled VR game that was known as Borealis (likely just a codename) and presumably, would've explored some of those connections. Laidlaw wasn't super thrilled with the idea of connecting Portal and Half-Life, noting that Portal needed art and Valve ended up drawing upon something that was "Combine-y". However, Laidlaw still did his best to try and create a story that would strengthen those ties.

"All we could do is then try to incorporate them somehow," said Laidlaw. "I felt like doing this made both universes smaller, but from a franchise branding perspective, that's a good thing. I eventually did come up with a scenario in which we could connect Aperture and Black Mesa, and we had Borealis lying around from the earliest days of Half-Life 2, so I thought maybe we'd end up with some cool lore and backstory in the long run."

Half-Life is a franchise that has all kinds of loose ends and Laidlaw famously "leaked" the story of Half-Life 3 many years ago after it became clear it would never see the light of day. He now regrets it, but others are glad to have a taste of what could've been. Whether Valve ever properly concludes any of these stories remains to be seen, but it's certainly not out of the question after Half-Life: Alyx.

What do you think of Half-Life's connections to Portal? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @Cade_Onder.